Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

Filter Dissertations By:

 
 
  • A Chant of Dilation: Walt Whitman, Phrenology, and the Language of the Mind

    Author:
    Anton Borst
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Joan Richardson
    Abstract:

    A Chant of Dilation analyzes Walt Whitman's poetic engagement with two very modern ideas: the materiality of the mind and the discursive nature of science. During the antebellum period these ideas found expression in the popular science of phrenology, the theory that the mind was divided into various faculties physically located in different parts of the brain. This theory would find a ready audience in Whitman, a poet preoccupied with the body, the soul, and their connection. The writings and publications of premier American phrenologists Orson and Lorenzo Fowler, surveyed in this project, rhetorically mediated emerging conceptions of the brain-embodied self by exploring the relationship between religion and materialism. Phrenology also provided Whitman and its many followers with an empowering sense of self-knowledge based on its rich vocabulary of dozens of mental faculties. At the same time, by equating mind and brain and claiming the existence of innate, inheritable faculties, phrenology raised the possibility of biological determinism, unsettling seemingly essential beliefs in the soul, agency, and moral responsibility. In Whitman's correspondingly complex deployments of phrenological terms and themes, the poet embraces, confronts, and answers the implications of a material mind through the means most readily available to him as a poet: metaphor, ambiguity, and the performative use of language. By situating Whitman's response to phrenology alongside a number of Romantic and post-Romantic intellectuals similarly occupied by its language, including Georg Friedrich Hegel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and William James, I demonstrate its hitherto overlooked cultural significance as a discourse that prompted philosophical concerns about the relationship between science, language, and the mind.

  • The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Savings and Investment

    Author:
    Andrew Bossie
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Economics
    Advisor:
    Michael Edelstein
    Abstract:

    This dissertation contains three essays exploring the effect of fiscal policy shocks on savings and lending behavior of the private economy. Two essays focus on World War II and one essay focuses on the entire postwar period. Essay I looks at the response of monetary policy to fiscal policy shocks and the effect of fiscal policy on the private sector's balance sheet over a period that covers 1954 and 2007. I find a minimal response of the Federal Reserve to fiscal policy shocks. I also find the the main response of the private sector to fiscal policy shocks manifests itself in household assets. Long term assets in particular react very strongly. Essay II establishes the important role of savings during and immediately after World War II. I show that the unexpectedly high savings rates that persisted after the war ended was driven by the fact that housing purchases are counted as a kind of savings. Treating housing as a durable consumption good produces the negative savings expected. Essay III looks at the behavior of commercial banks in the period 1940 to 1955. I find that there is a--both economic and statistically--significant negative effect of war spending on total assets, mortgage lending, and commercial, industrial and agricultural loans made by commercial banks throughout the war and until 1949. The response of bank assets during the immediate postwar period is indicative of the unusual pattern of output and the money supply between 1946 and 1950. All this is taken as evidence that reconversion was not as smooth and robust as commonly argued.

  • Entrapment and Enchantment: Nympholepsy and the Cult of the Girl Child

    Author:
    Jenny Boully
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Wayne Koestenbaum
    Abstract:

    Focusing on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955), Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1886), J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy (1911), Henry Darger's The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, and John Ashbery's Girls on the Run (1999), this dissertation investigates how the Victorian cult of the girl child may have its roots in another Victorian interest, ancient Greek culture. While this dissertation adds to the scholarship on literary pedophilia, it makes a distinction between the pedophile and the nympholept. Whereas the pedophile wishes to sexually possess children, the nympholept does not necessarily wish to sexually possess his nymph; rather, the nympholept is moved to create art inspired by his nymph, or girl child. This dissertation introduces the idea of sublimation into art to the discourse of girl children. Just as classical nymphs had to sublimate themselves into landscapes in order to escape their male pursuers, we see how the girl children in this study are sublimated into literary or visual art in order metaphorically to preserve themselves. While forging a connection between the cult of the girl child to nympholepsy, this study also connects nympholepsy to what Bruno Bettelheim in The Uses of Enchantment (1976) calls "enchantment," that is, using fantastical stories in order to navigate certain unknowns, mainly adulthood and death. This dissertation takes this a step further and asserts that nympholepts used enchantment as a means to entrap nymphs. While bringing up the inevitable charge of pedophilia, this project is not interested in the pedophile but in the nympholept and the means through which he sublimates a girl child into visual or literary art. The opening chapter examines Lolita alongside the taxonomy for classical Greek nymphs and explores both the minutia and larger themes in Lolita that relate to this classification. Chapter two examines Carroll's relationship to Alice Liddell in light of nympholepsy and the triangulation of pleasure between Carroll, Alice, and Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which the chapter recognizes as a highly eroticized fetish object. Chapter three studies the subversive sexuality and desires of Wendy Darling while arguing that Peter Pan, instead of being a little boy who refuses to grow up, is a Pan figure. The final chapter discusses how nympholepsy plays out in the art and writings of Darger and Ashbery's nympholepsy. The dissertation concludes with a creative epilogue that explores the theme of "reenchantment" that I discuss in chapter four.

  • The Relationship of Nursing Career Perception Congruence and Perceived Social Support on Hispanic Middle School Female Nursing Career Choice

    Author:
    Karen Bourgeois
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Nursing Studies
    Advisor:
    Keville Frederickson
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of nursing career perception congruence and perceived social support on Hispanic middle school females' nursing career choice. A non-experimental descriptive, cross sectional design examined the relationship in a convenience sample of 200 Hispanic middle school females from the New York tri-state area. Instruments used to measure nursing career choice, nursing career perception congruence, and perceived social support, were: (1) the Nursing Career Choice Questionnaire (NCC); (2) Attitudes, Values, and Beliefs Scale (AVBS); and (3) the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS) .Multinomial logistic regression analyses indicated support for the relationship between all variables. There was a positive significant relationship between nursing career choice and nursing career perception congruence and a positive significant relationship between perceived social support and nursing career choice. The conceptual framework of Lent, Brown and Hackett's Social Cognitive Career Theory revealed that nursing career perception congruence and social support is needed to promote nursing career choice. Nursing career choice, nursing career perception congruence and perceived social support are environmental factors that influence the nursing career choice of Hispanic middle school females.

  • Mobile Phones, Group Improvisation, and Music: Trends in Digital Socialized Music-Making

    Author:
    Nathan Bowen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Douglas Geers
    Abstract:

    With the advent of the smartphone, the mobile phone has recently emerged as a popular choice for instrument designers. Mobile phones are computationally powerful, feature a rich suite of onboard sensors, have ever-increasing networking capabilities, are becoming easier to program, and are above all ubiquitous. Because of these factors and a solid marketplace for dissemination, designers have authored hundreds of musical instrument apps, steadily reaching public consciousness. As ubiquitous, handheld, networked instruments, mobile phones have properties that distinguish themselves from other digital musical instruments, and are uniquely positioned to have widespread cultural impact on how people make and share music. Still, the flexibility of configuration and lack of standardization makes it difficult to define what it means to `play' a mobile phone. In the first three chapters I attempt to locate mobile phone music in the broader historical context of electronic music, networked music, and the considerations of digital musical instrument design. Though the nascent field of mobile music-making is still emerging, the rapid evolution of devices, software, instrumental and cultural practices associated with this trend are in need of visibility and documentation. As such, I will trace the history of mobile phone music as it has evolved from a ringtone-based art form to the smartphone era. My goal is to highlight various creative uses of mobile phones in musical contexts, including audience participation, locative art, mobile phone ensembles, and efforts to help everyday people feel empowered to express themselves through musical creation. I will also explore whether this ideal of democratizing musicianship has downsides, and how it impacts authorship and virtuosity. The last two chapters cover my own contribution to mobile music, including the presentation of 4Quarters, a software-plus-controller musical instrument for mobile phones and computer. As it is designed to be fundamentally collaborative and encourage improvisation, I will document its reception by test users and participants. 4Quarters is available as supplemental material to this written dissertation.

  • Shifts in clinical attention and focus: Exploring the boundaries of reverie in the therapeutic process

    Author:
    Monique Bowen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Paul Wachtel
    Abstract:

    Therapists have times of greater attention and of less, and each therapist may have the experience of noticing that her attention has shifted from what the patient is saying toward those thoughts that have been stirred. This qualitative study examined psychotherapists' perspectives on shifts in clinical attention and focus in their treatment of their patients, and the ways in which their particular approach to psychotherapeutic work influence how therapists understand and negotiate these potentially complex clinical moments. The study (a) captures how senior psychotherapists view such experiences, (b) surveys the conditions under which clinicians share their responses, thoughts and processes with patients, and (c) examines how therapists negotiate what may be conflicting considerations or principles in arriving at how they handle the experience. Participants were recruited via several training institutes and professional psychological associations, and participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview that both documented and illuminated how senior therapists across theoretical orientations understand and explore shifts in clinical focus toward their own daydreams, fantasy, and interior monologues. This qualitative research study sought to provide an evidence and reference base for research scholars and for diverse groups of psychotherapy students, training therapists, and other practicing clinicians from one corner of psychotherapeutic practice to another. Categories that emerged from the data were then grouped into four domains: 1) Therapists' descriptions of unbidden experiences. 2) How therapists understand these phenomenological shifts in theory and in practice. 3) Therapeutic uses of this particular clinical data. 4) The felt sense that helps therapists identify shifts in attention and clinical focus. Trends in participants' responses to interview questions were identified with particular attention to departures from the clinicians' own standard technical practice or that of their theoretical orientation. The use of the verbatim quotations has enriched this narrative-constructivist approach, as the clinicians' own descriptions of their own unbidden experiences has provided uncommon access to the experiences of participants in this study.

  • Worthy of the Light: Feminine Heroism in Die Zauberflöte

    Author:
    Patrice Boyd
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Barbara Russano Hanning
    Abstract:

    "Worthy of the Light: Feminine Heroism in Die Zauberflöte" posits that the opera represents the apotheosis of a heroism depicted by Mozart in the female protagonists of his mature works (Konstanze and Blondchen in Die Entführung, the Countess and Susanna in Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni), with the possible exception of Così fan tutte (and arguably, in Fiordiligi, even there). This heroism encompasses moral and physical courage within the context of Christian theology, Masonic ideals, and Enlightenment philosophy (exemplified by the English philosophers and the American Revolution, rather than the French enlightenment of Voltaire and Rousseau). My premise challenges the prevailing view that Zauberflöte is misogynistic in its depiction of women. Mozart sought in Die Zauberflöte to portray a proactive, feminine heroism comprising emotional intuition, intelligence, integrity, and physical pluck. The heroine Pamina braves death, yet triumphs in life rather than in martyrdom. In her, Mozart depicts a woman who rescues herself and the man she loves while remaining honest and true to her principles (unlike some of his previous female characters, who employ deception to achieve noble ends). Konstanze is Pamina's closest operatic predecessor and a proxy for Mozart's bride Constanze Weber, whom he married following Entführung's premiere in 1782. Constanze served as his business manager in his final years, making heroic efforts to `rescue' him from financial difficulties (efforts judged by numerous critics to have been on the right track, had they not been cut short by Mozart's untimely death). The deepening of the Mozarts' love in the decade between Entführung and Zauberflöte is manifest in Pamina, whose music resembles Konstanze's and could have been sung by the real Constanze. The Queen of the Night, Pamina's mother, has been perceived as a witch for two centuries, but evidence suggests that Mozart and his librettist, Schikaneder, intended to portray her quite favorably and changed their approach for political reasons - creating a jarring shift between Acts I and II. Yet Mozart, through vocal writing for the Queen that is also strikingly similar to Konstanze's, uses musical `code' to portray her as worthy of our sympathy - and perhaps even a feminine hero.

  • Ecology of Terrorism: Cross-National Comparison of Terrorist Attacks

    Author:
    Katharine Boyd
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Amy Adamczyk
    Abstract:

    The term terrorism is used to describe a large range of behaviors conducted by a wide variety of groups. Terrorist groups differ in ideology, size, financial support, group longevity, and the number of alliances with other terrorist groups. Relatedly, terrorist groups conduct different number of attacks with varying intents to cause fatalities using diverse forms of violence. This study uses ecological theory to contextualize terrorist violence as a product of terrorist group traits in relation to the environmental context. It is hypothesized that terrorist violence is associated with group traits in relation to the varying political, social, and religious contexts of the countries in which groups operate. Using longitudinal multilevel modeling this study analyzes how terrorist group traits, country characteristics, and exposure to counterterrorism tactics, influence terrorist violence (e.g. number of attacks, fatalities, targets, mode of attack, location of attack) over time. This study uses counterterrorism and group-level data from the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD1, 2) datasets, attack data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), country data from multiple public datasets, and counterterrorism and terrorist group data originally collected from open-sources. The results show that each form of violence has a unique set of predictor variables and the results of moderation hypotheses show that group ideologies are associated with different trajectories over time, that group traits condition the effect of counterterrorism, and country characteristics moderation how different terrorist groups conduct violence. This work is among the first to evaluate moderation hypotheses and is one of few studies on terrorism to use advanced statistical methods to evaluate these relationship over time and cross-nationally. The study contributes to the literature on terrorism with relevant policy implications, and contributing to the development of ecological theory and its application to political and religiously motivated violence.

  • Phonemic Awareness Instruction: Effects of Letter Manipulation and Articulation Training on Learning to Read and Spell

    Author:
    Nancy Boyer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    This study investigated the effect of two types of phonemic awareness instruction on learning to read and spell words. English speaking preschoolers were taught to segment words into phonemes using either letters or letters combined with articulation pictures. Participants possessed letter name knowledge but were nonreaders prior to training. Triplets were formed based on similar scores on the segmentation, word reading and vocabulary pretests and members were randomly assigned to three conditions: letter manipulation only (LO), letter manipulation plus articulation (LPA), and no treatment control conditions. LO children were taught letter-sound correspondences and use of letters to spell phonemes in words. LPA children received LO training and in addition the use of articulatory pictures to spell phonemes. Control children remained in their classrooms. Posttests were administered one and seven days after training ended. The three groups were compared in their ability to segment words into phonemes, to learn to read a set of words over trials, to decode nonwords, to invent word spellings and to repeat nonwords. Binomial logistic regressions and ANCOVAs were computed to assess the effects of training. Results demonstrated that trained children outperformed controls in phoneme segmentation, spelling, word learning, nonword decoding and nonword repetition. LPA children outperformed LO children in spelling on the one-day posttest but not on the seven-day posttest. LPA children outperformed LO children in phoneme segmentation and word learning at both tests points and in nonword decoding on the one-day posttest. Trained children demonstrated equivalent performance on the one-day nonword repetition posttest The results help to clarify the phonemic processes that underlie and support reading words from memory, as portrayed in Ehri's (1995) theory of sight word learning. The favored explanation for the effect of articulatory training on word learning is that it enhanced the identities of phonemes within phonological representations and this allowed phonemes to become more securely attached to letters as connections were formed during word learning. Superior performance of treatment groups over controls in repeating nonwords suggests that learning to represent phonemes with letters improves phonological short-term memory.

  • The Influence of Pseudo-relatives on Attachment Preferences in Spanish

    Author:
    David Branco-Moreno
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Linguistics
    Advisor:
    Marcel den Dikken
    Abstract:

    This paper presents the results from an off-line experiment on the extent to which the availability of pseudo-relatives modulates attachment preferences in Spanish. Participants were presented with sentences in which different syntactic and semantic factors had been manipulated to allow for either both a pseudo-relative (PR) and a relative-clause (RC) reading or a RC reading only. All the experimental items included two potential antecedents with which the constituents of interest could be associated. The experimental items can be divided into four groups: group 1 consists of stimuli allowing for a double reading in direct object position, and groups 2, 3 and 4 consist of stimuli containing RCs in prepositional complement position, preverbal subject position, and postverbal subject position, respectively. A stronger preference for the "higher" antecedent was expected in the first group of experimental items. The results indicate that the availability of pseudo-relatives seems to influence attachment preferences; however, the results ensuing from the statistical comparison of groups 3 and 4 need further investigation.