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Alumni Dissertations

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  • Designing Social Production Models to Support Producer-Consumer Collaboration and Innovation in Digital Social Spaces

    Author:
    Reina Arakji
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Business
    Advisor:
    Karl Lang
    Abstract:

    The first decade of the twenty-first century has seen dramatic advances in Internet technologies. Digital social spaces have emerged as popular Internet applications that are radically changing how firms and consumers of digital content interact. In the first chapter "Research Agenda" I introduce my research and the context within which it is developed. In the second chapter "Digital Consumer Networks and Producer-Consumer Collaboration: Innovation and Product Development in the Video Game Industry", I show how producers may partially open proprietary content to consumers to allow them to co-create derivative products. By re-appropriating these derivatives, the firms are successfully outsourcing parts of their design and development process to consumer networks. Applying economic analysis, I explore the potential benefits and risks of co-creation and derive the optimal combination of copyright enforcement and consumer compensation levels. In the third chapter "Firms and Innovative Digital Consumer Networks: An Analysis of Social Network Structure and Innovation Selection Mechanism", I explore how word of mouth effects are an important indicator of the popularity and economic potential of newly available digital goods. I present three selection mechanisms that firms can employ in order to identify user-generated product innovations that are fit for re-appropriation. The first is based on direct peer-review, the second uses a simple evolutionary game theoretic model, and the third proposes a stochastic epidemiological innovation diffusion model. In the fourth chapter "The Evolution of Innovation in Digital Social Spaces through Mutation, Natural Selection and Reuse of Novel Synthetic Routines", I examine the particular question of how innovations diffuse across digital social space designs and affect change on the industry level. I apply evolutionary theory as a theoretical lens and develop a stochastic process model that allows studying the factors that determine which innovations survive in the market and which do not. Analytical analysis of the proposed process model enables the examination of how organizational strategies affect industry trends and the determination of the conditions under which standardization in the industry is achieved. In the fifth chapter "Strategic Implications" I discuss the risks faced by firms in the digital social space industry that are adopting co-creation approaches. My research suggests that effective management of the collaboration between producers and consumers is key for sustainable co-creation business models. I conclude with the sixth chapter and present directions for future research.

  • Reframing the Narrative of Dada in New York, 1910-1926

    Author:
    Sarah Archino
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Rose-Carol Long
    Abstract:

    New York Dada has historically been positioned as incompatible or antithetical to American modernism. This dissertation argues that the Dada spirit in New York not only rejected European conventions of high art, but did so with the nationalistic desire to develop a modern and independent American idiom through the influence of anarchism and vernacular culture. This study traces the influence of anarchism in New York on Alfred Stieglitz, his influential gallery, "291," and his publication, Camera Work, as well as larger anarchistic networks during the early 1910s. In this atmosphere of iconoclastic experimentation, vernacular culture emerged as an alternative strategy to critique the definitions and institutions of fine art. Whereas most studies of New York Dada focus on the work of Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, and Man Ray, this study reconstructs the cultural conditions in which they worked. The year 1915 becomes a watershed moment, not simply for the arrival of Duchamp and Picabia, but for the publication of Van Wyck Brooks's cultural critique, America's Coming-of-Age. This text blamed the dichotomy between the highbrow and lowbrow for the lack of a truly American cultural idiom. I argue that the main character of New York Dada - its enthusiastic adoption of the subjects, styles, and strategies of vernacular culture - attempts to bridge that divide. The vernacular came to represent a new standard of American identity, a flexible definition that could allow an amateurish aesthetic to coexist with industrial imagery. This study broadens the scope of New York Dada production to include the work of artists and critics who collaborated in this Dada spirit, but have historically been separated from the Dada movement. In this larger context, canonical works of Dada, especially periodicals such as The Ridgefield Gazook (1915), The Blind Man (1917), and New York Dada (1921) will be reconsidered.

  • The Transnational Body in American Literature, 1798-1846

    Author:
    Talia Argondezzi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    David Reynolds
    Abstract:

    Post-revolutionary American authors, living under a relatively stable government and economy, turned their attention simultaneously inward and outward: inward to understand the strange workings of the human body, and outward to comprehend and control new territory. Focusing on the period between the Quasi-War with France and the U.S. War with Mexico, conflicts in which the United States asserted its international power, I identify several novels that dramatize the outward gaze toward new territory through an inward gaze toward the body. The Transnational Body puts embodiment into conversation with early American politics, not only because the body is a conventional symbol for the political sphere, but also because early U.S. policies, both domestic and international, were predicated on notions of race and sex, distinctions thought to be identifiable on the body. Flouting the expectation that embodiment is largely a personal, highly localized matter, this dissertation seeks a new route through early American literature by interrogating what extraordinary fictional bodies express about early U.S. politics, particularly the politics of expansion and borders. In each novel I examine, the author makes a spectacle of embodiment by representing unusual bodily events, such as dismemberment, cannibalism, metempsychosis, and mesmerism, that serve as indices of the young United States' uncertainty about its position in the world. By attending to the embodied domestic and international politics within each novel, I conclude first that anxieties about democracy, race, national stability, and expansion pervade early U.S. literature. Moreover, I argue that these novels help us trace a trajectory through the first half of the nineteenth century. I discern a shift from anxiety about the leveling effects of democracy in the late eighteenth century, through tentative experimentation with expansionism in the early nineteenth century, to anxieties about secession and faction that undergirded the rising nationalistic sentiments of the 1820s, ultimately to uncertainty about the imperialistic results of that nationalism. Throughout this trajectory, a constant remains: early U.S. thinking about politics, and especially about the relationship between domestic and international spheres, is intertwined with the body. The Transnational Body examines these imbrications between politics and the body.

  • Increasing the Variability of Verbal Responding in Children and Adolescents with Autism Using a Conjunctive-Differential Reinforcement Schedule

    Author:
    Paul Argott
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Nancy Hemmes
    Abstract:

    A procedure intended to teach variation in appropriate verbal responding to an antecedent stimulus was systematically manipulated for 5 individuals with autism. Four antecedent stimuli that include the clause, "else do you like to do" were presented in a varying order. Five responses that were appropriate to any of the antecedent stimuli were taught using a script-fading procedure. Percentage of varied verbal responses was studied under a conjunctive-differential reinforcement procedure using a multiple-baseline-across-subjects experimental design. Under a modified percentile requirement of the conjunctive schedule, responses were ranked according to their frequency of emission after every session and reinforcement was omitted for the 2 most frequent responses on the subsequent session. Under a lag-1 schedule requirement, reinforcement was omitted for consecutive occurrences of a given response within a given session. Data showed that the percentage of responses meeting the conjunctive schedule requirement increased with the systematic implementation of the schedule. A variability measure showed that responses were more stereotyped during baseline sessions in comparison to treatment sessions. Comparisons between the numbers of different statements emitted by individuals with autism versus those of their typically developing peers suggest that further research is necessary to increase responding to a typical level. Nevertheless, responses by teachers and parents to a social validity questionnaire suggest that the procedure could be applied in clinical and home settings and used to increase varied verbal responding.

  • Left Behind: Children of Dominican Deportees in a Bulimic Society

    Author:
    Fenix Arias
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Urban Education
    Advisor:
    Nicholas Michelli
    Abstract:

    The United States has always taken great pride in its children's protection programs that have served as an example to developing countries. As a beacon of opportunity to poor and underdeveloped countries, the country is also known amongst third world nations, as the only hope to achieve social mobility because of its educational and labor market opportunities. Recently, in an apparent contradiction to its protection programs, social, and economic opportunities, the nation has instituted laws that undermine the welfare of children of immigrants and immigrant children by deporting people, regardless of their immigration status. Qualitative data were utilized to examine the impact of deportation on Dominican children and families left behind in the United States. The study's aim was to articulate the impact of parent's regurgitation/ejection on children's education, social integration, economic, and health and mental health status. The theories of social bulimic-exclusion and inclusion-, human waste, and toxic environment served as a framework for understanding how the society has become bulimic by both massively importing and deporting human capital. Social exclusion forces low-income and marginalized children to multi-levels of stigmatization by reinforcing the poverty cycle. Fragmented assimilation, a form of social inclusion, further compounds the exclusion of minority and immigrants because it does not fully integrate individuals into the fabric of society. The study found that U.S. born children left behind in a single parent household, ultimately face multi-levels of social exclusion. Hence, mandatory deportation negatively impacts children of deportees' social integration to mainstream society. Findings revealed that children of deportees experience tremendous sense of abandonment, insecurity, and isolation, which affect their educational attainment, socioeconomic status, social capital, and health mental status. In conclusion, social bulimic cannot co-exist with democracy because everyone is not fully included into mainstream society. What exists therefore, is an oligopoly democratic system that influences an oligarchy society in which a group of people--usually those in power--have control over the policy-making process and implementation with no accountability or assessment on collateral damages or the further social bulimization of children of deportees left behind in the United States.

  • Construction of a Forced-Choice Task for the Assessment of Factual Understanding and Feigning in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations

    Author:
    Elizabeth Arias
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Michele Galietta
    Abstract:

    Psychologists are commonly called upon to conduct evaluations of a defendant's competency to stand trial. Under Dusky v. United States (1960) the legal criteria for competency to stand trial were enumerated and since then, a number of standardized assessment instruments that aim to assess those criteria have been developed, each with its own noted strengths and weaknesses. Although there are several instruments available to aid clinicians in these types of evaluations, only three include screens for feigning, and only one assesses for feigned cognitive impairment. In the current research an instrument was constructed to assess for competence related knowledge, while also incorporating several logical and statistical methods to assess for a feigned lack of knowledge of the legal system, including forced-choice testing, floor effect strategies, and completion time methodologies. The Factual Understanding Instrument (FUI) was constructed over five studies. Studies 1-3 involved instrument construction and included a review of the literature, a critical incidents phase with experts in the field, and item construction. Studies 4-5 focused on item evaluation and included an expert review of the constructed items and the pilot testing of the FUI in a simulation study with unimpaired college students. In study 5, multiple statistical analyses were conducted to evaluate the FUI items and the various feigning detection strategies. In this sample reliability of the FUI was high. Items were relatively easy for honest responding participants, with many scoring near perfect. Feigning participants did not score as low as would be predicted by symptom validity testing, as responses varied from less than 50% correct to values seen in honest responders. Intelligence level, item difficulty, and response condition were found to be significant predictors in responses to FUI items. Completion time was not supported as a feigning detection method as hypothesized, however, alternative interpretations of the theory are offered. Further research on the FUI with a known-groups sample in forensic settings is needed to establish a floor value, to further evaluate item performance, and to improve the external validity of the current research. Research methodologies and future directions are offered.

  • Enconchados: Political, Cultural, and Social Implications of a New Art in Seventeenth-Century New Spain

    Author:
    Miguel Arisa
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Eloise Quiñones-Keber
    Abstract:

    Seventeenth-century New Spain (Mexico) saw the rise of an art form that melded traditions from pre-Hispanic, Asian, and European styles. Enconchado paintings, so called because mother-of-pearl is inlaid mostly on canvas stretched on a panel, were produced in workshops in Mexico City and sent to the metropolis as gifts to the monarch or to noblemen. Around 300 of these unique works exist in museums in Europe and in the Americas today. Not surprisingly, the most common subject matter is religious; however, about one hundred of them depict the historical events that lead to the conquest of Mexico by Hernando Cortés. Most scholarship has centered on the Asian and European influences on these works. This project investigates the three-pronged influences in a more egalitarian way, positing as much weight on the indigenous aspects as on the others. Furthermore, it contextualizes the production of these ideological works with the literature, histories, treatises, and other works of art produced in the viceroyalty of New Spain during this century when the rise of the Creole class (people born in Mexico of Spanish-born parents) was beginning to make its imprint in the economic, social, and cultural spheres. By tracing the different threads that make up these works, their ideological impact, as well as their 300-year old histories, this dissertation aims for a better understanding of these works and the forces that made their production possible.

  • Eliot's Spinoza: Realism, Affect, and Ethics

    Author:
    James Arnett
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Peter Hitchcock
    Abstract:

    In this dissertation, the intersection of the affective-ethical philosophy of Spinoza and the realism of the nineteenth-century British novelist George Eliot are mapped. Eliot was the first translator of Spinoza--though her translations were never published--and few scholars have worked out the ways in which her novels are steeped in his philosophy. This dissertation seeks to make an intervention first in the fields of Victorian literature and realism, but also in the developing field of affect studies, and contributes to interdisciplinary conversations about the confluence of literature and philosophy. The expansive introduction of the dissertation looks closely at the philosophical translations that occupied Eliot in the earliest stages of her career--Strauss, Feuerbach, and Spinoza--and the ways in which these foundational texts congeal into a discourse of philosophical materialism that informed her commitments to literary realism. Chapter 1 analyzes the ways in which Eliot deploys large-scale organic and scientific metaphors in Middlemarch in order to metaphorize Spinoza's concept of immanence, which she deploys in order to emphasize human impingement. Chapter 2 moves to consider Middlemarch's ethos of sympathy as an application of Spinoza's affective ethics. Chapters 3 and 4 proceed to interrogate the role that knowledge and education play in the shaping of an ethical praxis in Daniel Deronda and Felix Holt, the Radical; in the former, knowledge and education is represented in such a way as the means to a Spinozist version of individual freedom, and in the latter, education is seen as the lever by which an interpersonal ethics is transformed into a collective politics. The final two chapters explore the imbrication of kinship, nationalism, and politics in The Spanish Gypsy, Daniel Deronda, and The Impressions of Theophrastus Such, and argue that these three texts represent Eliot's substantial critique of the ethical utility of collective politics as developed by Spinoza in his Political Treatise.

  • The Dialectical Self: Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, and the Birth of Radical Freedom

    Author:
    Jamie Aroosi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Marshall Berman
    Abstract:

    This work advances two primary claims. First, it demonstrates that Karl Marx and Søren Kierkegaard can and should be read together, as they jointly constitute a similar development in 19th century thought. Notably, borrowing a model of dialectical subjectivity from their shared predecessor, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, while simultaneously rebelling against the primacy he gives to reason, both attempt to liberate this "dialectical self" so that it can embrace the radical understanding of freedom it embodies. Therefore, this work argues that a similar conception of the self, and the freedom it entails, unites the work of Marx and Kierkegaard, while also serving as a primary normative value orienting their work. However, for Marx, the social mechanics behind inequality serves as the major impediment to emancipation, whereas, for Kierkegaard, our internalization of social norms serves this role. Given that their intellectual projects were based in the praxis of emancipation, this difference explains why their work came to appear so different, as they each sought to articulate and overcome a different set of problems. Unfortunately, this also had the effect of obscuring their underlying, and profound, similarity. However, this work argues that these differences are in fact two sides of the same coin, and that Marx and Kierkegaard reciprocally, or dialectically, illuminate one another, as each teases out nuances and complexities in the other. Secondly, I advance a normative claim: Marx needs Kierkegaard, just as Kierkegaard needs Marx. That is, Kierkegaard's concern with subjective emancipation without Marx's interest in sociopolitical emancipation remains an unfinished project, whereas Marx's sociopolitical critique without Kierkegaard's subjective emancipation remains an empty one. In other words, freedom pertains both to subjectivity and to the objective world, and unless we remain attentive to both, we risk reinforcing oppression just as we think we are overcoming it. And while Marx is attentive to subjectivity and Kierkegaard to objectivity, each does so insufficiently. Yet, reading them together offers a comprehensive picture of the dialectical self that unites them, while also allowing us to be attentive to the spiritual and ethical dynamics of subjective emancipation as well as the sociopolitical dynamics of objective emancipation. Not only can we read Marx and Kierkegaard together, a full understanding of our "dialectical selves" and the freedom they entail, requires it.

  • SUPRASPINAL AND SPINAL MECHANISMS OF MORPHINE-INDUCED HYPERALGESIA

    Author:
    Caroline Arout
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Benjamin Kest
    Abstract:

    Morphine is the most prominent pharmacological treatment for moderate to severe pain in both acute and chronic paradigms. However, morphine notoriously elicits a paradoxical state of increased pain sensitivity known as hyperalgesia that complicates its use in clinical application. Research over the past three decades has reported that morphine-induced hyperalgesia is dose- and sex-dependent, and likely involves the synchronous activity of several neural networks beyond the opioid system. Whereas systemic, supraspinal, and spinal administration of morphine all cause hyperalgesia that is differentially reversible by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists or melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) antagonists, it is unknown as to whether or not these non-opioid systems that contribute to this state are located supraspinally or spinally. The current studies were performed with the goal of elucidating the precise location of regulatory action of this sex- and dose- dependent state of morphine hyperalgesia. In all studies, outbred CD-1 male and female mice were pretreated with the general opioid receptor antagonist, naltrexone (NTX) 24 hours prior to morphine treatment. All mice were subsequently implanted with osmotic pumps, continuously dispensing a low (1.6mg/kg/24h) or high dose of morphine (40mg/kg/24h). As noted previously, mice of both sexes were hyperalgesic by Day 4 of continuous infusion of either morphine dose, a state that persisted through Day 6 of infusion. The first series demonstrated that NMDAR and MC1R systems that mediate this morphine-induced hyperalgesic state are located supraspinally, as intracerebroventricular injections of MK-801 and MSG606, respectively successfully reversed hyperalgesia during a one-hour testing period. A second series of studies investigated possible involvement of spinal systems. Whereas intrathecal MK-801 significantly reversed hyperalgesia in males at both doses, and females at the low morphine infusion dose, spinal administration of MSG606 significantly reduced hyperalgesia in females following continuous high dose morphine infusion. This indicates that the sex-dependent mechanism involved in morphine-induced hyperalgesia is located supraspinally and spinally, and either locus can independently modulate female-typical hyperalgesia. A third series of studies investigated hormonally-regulated mechanisms involved in morphine-induced hyperalgesia. Ovariectomized females displayed male-typical patterns of hyperalgesia after i.c.v. and i.t. antagonist injection paradigms following continuous infusion of either dose of morphine on Day 4. On Day 6, NMDAR and MC1R antagonist injections were preceded by an acute systemic progesterone injection in ovariectomized female mice, and intact male mice. Following continuous morphine infusion, ovariectomized females displayed male-typical patterns of hyperalgesic reversal. However, following progesterone administration, hyperalgesia elicited by high doses of morphine was reversed by i.c.v. injection of MK-801 and MSG606 in both males and ovariectomized females. Conversely, following i.t. injections the data show that ovariectomized females are able to recruit the NMDAR or MC1R system, while males exclusively used the NMDAR system to mediate hyperalgesia. The current studies indicate that in terms of modulating morphine-induced hyperalgesia, there are both supraspinally- and spinally-regulated sex-dependent effects that mediate morphine-induced hyperalgesia.