Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Teaching style: an investigation of New York City public high school teacher dress practices

    Author:
    Anne Brownstein
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Urban Education
    Advisor:
    Nicholas Michelli
    Abstract:

    In recent decades there has been increasing interest in regulating teacher appearance in the schools. While there is a great deal of anecdotal data available about what dress standards for teachers should be, to the best of the researcher's knowledge no one has undertaken scholarly research to investigate teacher attitudes towards their constructions of self, self-as-teacher, and educational philosophies as expressed by dress practices. Predicated upon the theory that the study of self presentation provides a window through which we can gain insight into these constructions, this dissertation investigates how a sample of nine New York City public high school teachers use dress to define `personal self' and `self-as-teacher' identities as well as their educational beliefs. It is hoped that the findings of this research will contribute to better understanding of a topic that thus far has largely been neglected by educational scholars even while it has nationally attracted both interest and debate within and beyond the realm of public schools.

  • Politics as a Sphere of Wealth Accumulation: Cases of Gilded Age New York, 1855-1888

    Author:
    Jeffrey Broxmeyer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Frances Piven
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines political wealth accumulation in American political development. Scholars have long understood the political system selects for "progressive ambition" for higher office. My research shows that officeseekers have also engaged in "progressive greed" for greater wealth. I compare the career trajectories of four prominent New York political figures during the Gilded Age: William Tweed, Fernando Wood, Roscoe Conkling, and Chester Arthur. Using correspondence, census, tax and land records, government reports, investigations, and newspaper coverage, I explain why each political figure chose to either seize or pass up opportunities for political wealth accumulation. I also examine the principal sources of fortunes and the types of political practices that generated them. Profit-maximizing behavior during the late nineteenth century was central to the consolidation of politics as a vocation. Career-altering events such as an election loss, or alternatively, the opportunity to join a dominant party faction, often recalibrated a politician's strategic calculation in the tradeoff between power and wealth. Furthermore, the dominant view of self-aggrandizement is that public officials either steal or extract rents, for example, in the form of bribes or loans. However, none of the large fortunes examined among my cases were built through conventional rent seeking, and peculation was only a minor source of income. Instead, the great fortunes were built through marketing-making activities. Tweed, Wood, Conkling, and Arthur accumulated political wealth by securing dominant market positions, or by creating new markets altogether. These figures accumulated productive personal property, or political capital, through control over political institutions, most notably by speculating in real estate, railroads, and finance, and by the establishment of politically dependent businesses, such as banks, lotteries, newspapers, and law firms.

  • Children's Tolerance of Word-form Variation

    Author:
    Paul Bruening
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Patricia Brooks
    Abstract:

    This study compared children's (N=96, mean age 4;1, range 2;8-5;3) and adults' (N=96, mean age 21 years) tolerance of word-onset modifications (e.g., wabbit and warabbit) and pseudo affixes (e.g., kocat and catko) in a label extension task. Trials comprised an introductory phase where children saw a picture of an animal and were told its name, and a test phase where they were shown the same picture along with one of a different animal. For `similar-name' trials, participants heard a word-form modification of the previously introduced name (e.g., introduced to a dib, they were asked, `which animal is a wib?'). For `dissimilar-name' trials, participants heard an entirely new word (e.g., introduced to a dib, they were asked, `which animal is a wuz?'). Specific types of modifications were repeated within each experiment to establish productive inflectional patterns. Across all experiments, children and adults exhibited similar strategies: They were more tolerant of prefixes than onset-modifications involving substitutions of initial consonants, and they were more tolerant of suffixes than prefixes, which may reflect a statistical tendency for inflections to adhere to the ends of words. Additionally, participants parsed novel productive inflections from stems when choosing targets. These findings point to word learning strategies as being flexible and adaptive to morphological patterns in languages.

  • War Baby: Race, Nation, and Cultural Conceptions of Lesbian Motherhood

    Author:
    Lisa Brundage
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Jane Marcus
    Abstract:

    The Interwar period was a time of exaggerated social anxieties about gender, race, class, and sexuality. One of the primary vehicles for expressing this agitation was through a pronatalist cultural focus on maternity that posited women as gatekeepers of racial purity, traditional gender roles who perform a specifically patriotic duty--akin to men's military service--through reproduction. Concurrently, thanks to the ubiquity of Radclyffe Hall's image after the obscenity trial for The Well of Loneliness in 1928, the general public in England and the USA had a visual, collective idea of "the lesbian" for the first time. "The lesbian" was in many ways a foil for the idealized, domestic mother, and three novels from this period that are frequently considered classics of lesbian literature all place a heavy, yet currently under-explored, emphasis on the embattled relationship between lesbianism and maternity: Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness (1928), Sylvia Townsend Warner's Summer Will Show (1936), and Nella Larsen's Passing (1929). Despite her notoriety, Hall's novel places a deeply conservative value in women's reproductive capacity; a driving force in the plot is the female invert Stephen Gordon's need to compel her "normal" lover Mary Llewellyn to heterosexual reproduction--to prevent Mary from using lesbianism as contraception--over Mary's protestation. Warner's novel takes a more politically radical stance, tracing its protagonist Sophia Willoughby's disillusionment with white, aristocratic motherhood, ultimately having her reject not just marriage and maternity, but other forms of kinship in order to focus on her personal and solitary process of political radicalization. Larsen's novel focuses on the domestic and racial entrapment of bourgeois marriage and motherhood. Larsen conjoins the paranoia of racial and sexual passing through metaphors of pregnancy; Clare Kendry's paranoia about producing a black baby is recapitulated in Irene Redfield's anxiety about her attraction to Clare. These themes are reinvigorated and retold in contemporary narratives about lesbian mothers. The final chapter focuses on the lesbian television soap The L Word (2004-2009), which problematically posits the lesbian nuclear family as a locus of social protest and, along with gay military service, a primary conduit for fighting institutionalized homophobia.

  • The Seventh Regiment Armory Commission and Design: Elite Identity, Aesthetic Patronage and Professional Practice in Gilded Age New York

    Author:
    Chelsea Bruner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Kevin Murphy
    Abstract:

    This dissertation is an exploration and analysis of the Seventh Regiment Armory, a privately funded, purpose-built headquarters for the nineteenth century's most elite volunteer militia. This project demonstrates how the conception and funding of the building were a direct response to Gilded Age labor-capital conflict--a means by which even non-member elites could participate in the most contentious socio-political debates of the day. Simultaneously, the Armory's commission and design reflected a new level of professionalization in the design profession(s) and specialization in architectural typology, and I argue that transformations in politics and professional practice were not discrete phenomena, but were manifestations of elite class consolidation in the face of unprecedented social change. This study tracks the evolution of the Seventh, establishing a connection between military proficiency and elite identity as reflected in a series of facilities used over the years. I connect the Seventh's policing duties with other elite initiatives to compel fiscal and social "reform" while establishing Aestheticism as a visual and stylistic corollary to those endeavors. Implemented by the first generation of American design professionals--architects, engineers and even artists--the class-based component of professionalism was brought to the fore in the late 1870s by the nascent labor movement, and this project explores the heretofore unexamined role that striking workers played in further catalyzing class consolidation among elite patrons and their peers in the design professions. The Armory was an exemplar of these professional and stylistic transformations. This analysis illuminates the continuity between the Seventh's interiors and other contemporaneous projects that are united (to a remarkable degree) stylistically, but otherwise typologically and geographically varied, further linking Aestheticism to the broader project of class consolidation and identity formation. By the mid-1880s, the style had fallen out of favor, thus the Armory is significant as a rare, extant example. It was the precedent for a subsequent boom in armory construction and inspired a number of imitators locally and across the country, but its sumptuous interiors were never matched. The Armory is an important and heretofore unexplored monument to a moment of incredible transformation in the country and city's history.

  • The Effects of Social Influence, Power, and Tangible Rewards on Need-Fulfillment, Coworker Attraction and Helping Behaviors

    Author:
    Stefanie Bruno
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Dr. Kristin Sommer
    Abstract:

    Much of the research on influence in the workplace has focused on identifying strategies to obtain compliance from coworkers and the effectiveness of such strategies. Little is known about why people want to influence others. Recent theory and research suggest a link between influence and need-fulfillment, interpersonal attraction, and helping behavior. Three studies were designed to examine these links and to observe how common workplace elements, specifically power and rewards, impact the psychological and interpersonal benefits of successfully influencing coworkers. Studies 1 and 2 examined how the possession of power by either the source or target of influence moderates the outcomes of having influence. In Study 1, participants attempted to persuade a subordinate in a simulated fund-raising task using either harsh or soft forms of power. In Study 2, participants attempted to persuade either a leader or a peer to change his or her stance on mandatory comprehensive exams. In Study 3, participants either received a reward for attempting to influence a peer, regardless of the outcome (engagement-contingent), were rewarded only if they successfully influenced a peer (performance-contingent), or were asked to influence a peer without any expectation of rewards. Participants in all three studies were given false feedback indicating whether their influence attempts were successful. Following the manipulations, participants' need-fulfillment, liking for the target and willingness to help the coworker were assessed. Across studies, participants in the successful compared to unsuccessful influence conditions reported greater attraction to and willingness to help the target of influence and higher task satisfaction. Contrary to expectations, no reliable effects were found for need fulfillment. Perceptions of similarity and task satisfaction partially mediated the effects of influence on interpersonal attraction. Finally, the results indicated that influencing someone using soft power tactics (Study 1), or in conjunction with a performance-contingent reward (Study 3), was associated with the highest willingness to help. The helping effects were not mediated by similarity, reciprocity, need fulfillment or voluntariness. The theoretical and organizational implications of the findings and ideas for future research are discussed.

  • The Seventeenth-Century Singer's Body: An Instrument of Action

    Author:
    Brooke Bryant
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Barbara Hanning
    Abstract:

    In the seventeenth century, singers relied both on their voices and movements of their bodies for affective expression. This study investigates the close relationship between the body and voice in the seventeenth century from a variety of viewpoints, both theoretical and practical, offering an interdisciplinary approach to this connection. The work of natural philosophers such as Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Hooke, Huygens and Newton demonstrates sight's role as the fundamental sense through which the world was processed and understood during the seventeenth century. In this context, it is imperative to elevate the role of sight in sung performances to a position comparable to that of sound, an idea corroborated by contemporary descriptions of singing by Marino, Monteverdi and Tillet. I reexamine singing manuals and oratory, acting and iconography treatises published during this time--such as Mersenne's Harmonie Universelle, Butler's Principles of Musik in Singing and Setting, Tosi's Opinioni de' cantori antichi e moderni, Le Faucheur's Traitté de l'action de l'orateur, Hobbes's Briefe of the Art of Rhetoricke, Bulwer's Chirologia and Ripa's Iconologia--uncovering a wealth of information on how gestures of the face and hands and postures of the body may be used in song. Medical studies completed in the present and in the seventeenth century, such as Bartholin's Anatomy and Browne's Compleat Treatise of the Muscles, reveal that there are both physiological and psychological connections between the body and voice. The body plays an integral role in vocalization, which suggests that posture, movement and gesture may assist the singer in creating vocal sounds appropriate to the texts and music at hand. This research is applied to three pieces of music written for performance in different contexts: Strozzi's cantata Moralità amorosa (1654), the famous Act II recitative from Lully's Armide (1686) and "Morpheus, Thou Gentle God," a mad song by Daniel Purcell. (1699). A close reading of both music and text suggests that the composers wrote physical movement into these works, providing musical clues regarding the way that singers could manipulate their bodies in sung performances. These readings offer a new methodology for performers and historians seeking to investigate seventeenth-century performance circumstances.

  • Effects of speaking mode (clear, habitual, slow speech) on vowels and intelligibility of individuals with Parkinson's disease

    Author:
    Rebekah Buccheri
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Speech & Hearing Sciences
    Advisor:
    Douglas Whalen
    Abstract:

    The present study examined the effects of speaking mode (clear, habitual, slow speech) on speech production and speech perception of individuals with and without Parkinson's disease. In the speech production task there were 21 speakers who read the Farm passage in habitual,clear and slow speech modes. Acoustic analysis involving the assessment of the first and second formant frequencies was performed using vowel space areas, vowel dispersions, /i-a/ distances for both tense and lax vowels produced in each of the speaking conditions. Duration ratios of both the tense and lax vowels were also examined in each condition. Effects of the conditions on perception were investigated in two listening tasks. In the first task, 3 listeners heard a subset of speakers from the production portion. In a forced choice task the listeners then selected the vowel they preferred in a given speaking condition. In the second listening task, 10 listeners used a 7-point Likert rating scale to rate 4 sentences produced in each of the 3 conditions for the 21 speakers. Production results showed that vowel space areas were larger in the clear and slow conditions compared to habitual, with no statistically significant difference between clear and slow. Results from the first listening task showed a preference for vowels in clear speech mode, and the second showed that speakers were rated most intelligible in clear speech mode.

  • Are Sisters Doing It (All) For Themselves? Elderly Black Women And Healthcare Decision Making

    Author:
    Carlene Buchanan Turner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Juan Battle
    Abstract:

    ABSTRACT ARE SISTERS DOING IT (ALL) FOR THEMSELVES? ELDERLY BLACK WOMEN AND HEALTHCARE DECISION MAKING by Carlene Buchanan Turner This dissertation examines the effects of health values on the decisions made by elderly Black women to use self-care methods and homecare services. The research is grounded in the healthicization or wellness promotion paradigm, which prescribes behavioral or lifestyle changes for previously biomedically defined events. The dissertation consists of both quantitative and qualitative research. The quantitative component focuses on a sample of Black women over 70 years old (N= 642) from the 2000 NHI Second Longitudinal Study on Aging dataset. The qualitative component analyzes ten in-depth interviews with respondents from Southern Maryland used to supplement the quantitative findings. Although the quantitative and qualitative analyses resulted in complementary findings, there were some important differences. First, the results from the Multiple Regression demonstrate that, for elderly Black women, health values explained a fair amount of the variance in equipment self-care (R2 of .199); equipment self-care also contributes more to the independence of elderly Black women than behavioral and environmental self-care (which accounted for 8.4 and 1.0 percent of the variance respectively). Secondly, structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to establish causality among the three major constructs of the research in order to make inferences about the sample population. For example, the SEM findings revealed that elderly Black women with positive self-values are less likely to practice traditional self-care, while those who practiced self-care were more dependent on homecare services. Finally, the interviews helped to illustrate the findings from the quantitative analysis. Specifically, elderly Black women choose to practice self-care to maintain their independence, and believe they are personally responsible for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Two major policy implications were derived from this study. First, while the personal responsibility crusade in healthcare is important, clients from marginalized populations should not be deprived of public healthcare programs if they choose not to participate in this trend. Second, greater flexibility should be allowed the elderly client in deciding how to spend homecare subsidies from local Respite programs.

  • Qualitative and Quantitative X-Ray Diffraction Analysis for Forensic Examination of Duct Tapes

    Author:
    Rebecca Bucht
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kubic
    Abstract:

    Duct tapes are an increasingly important class of forensic evidence. This research has studied the value of using x-ray diffraction (XRD) to extend the ability of evidence examiners to gain additional information about a duct tape specimen. Duct tapes are composed of five different layers. Starting from the non-adhesive side, these layers are the release coating, backing, scrim, primer and adhesive. The release coating assists in reducing unwind tension and preventing the tape from sticking to itself when on a roll. The backing layer serves as a support for the adhesive, and is usually based on polyethylene. The scrim is a layer of fibers either embedded in the backing layer or between the backing and adhesive layers. Primers help attach the adhesive to the backing. Pressure sensitive adhesives are based on polymers such as natural or synthetic rubbers combined with tackifying resins and hydrogenated resins. Pigments and additives are added to the backing and adhesive layers in order to achieve the desired tape characteristics and appearance. A variety of instrumental methods are used to obtain information for discrimination of pressure sensitive tapes including duct tapes. Research has been reported on the evidential value of a range of physical investigations such as, physical and optical examination of thickness, weight/area, fluorescence, and birefringence, as well as instrumental chemical techniques including UV/VIS, FTIR, XRF, NAA, ICP MS, XRD, pyrolysis-GC/MS and isotope-ratio MS. XRD analyses have been used to identify minerals in duct tape but to date, only limited qualitative XRD information has been used and no systematic investigation of the further uses of XRD analysis and databases has been published. XRD analysis has the potential to offer a convenient, cost effective and non-destructive method for further characterization of the molecular or atomic make up of the tape layers. The diffractogram contains information about the qualitative and quantitative mineral composition and the crystallinity of mineral species and polymers present. This research has shown that the use of quantitative XRD analysis of duct tapes can differentiate between some duct tape samples from rolls that cannot be distinguished by current, routine analysis methods.