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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Narratives Of Queerness: Queer Worldmaking (In) The Classroom With Undergraduate Students, Rachel Briggs Oct 2019

Narratives Of Queerness: Queer Worldmaking (In) The Classroom With Undergraduate Students, Rachel Briggs

Doctoral Dissertations

This research brings together education research, queer theory, and performance theory to consider the worldmaking potential of the queer classroom. Using students’ stories about queerness in the classroom and my own stories about the classroom, I ask what we can learn from students’ voices about how queerness is/can be performed in the classroom and through relations. This study uses critical ethnography, personal narrative, and performative writing to examine the production of subject positions in the classroom, to connect this to a queer theoretical framework, and to explore the worldmaking potential of the classroom. I interviewed seven undergraduate students at ...


Reconsidering Diasporic Literature: "Homeland" And "Otherness" In The Lost Daughter Of Happiness, Qijun Zhou Oct 2019

Reconsidering Diasporic Literature: "Homeland" And "Otherness" In The Lost Daughter Of Happiness, Qijun Zhou

Masters Theses

This thesis examines the transformation of “homeland” and “otherness” as well as the relationship between each other in The Lost Daughter of Happiness (扶桑 Fusang). I begin by exploring how the migration of Chinese to the United States is depicted as an endless trajectory in the story through a historical engagement and a dialogue between two generations. From there, I plan to point out that the story complicates the meaning of diaspora as it can not only represent a spatial dislocation, but also a temporal dislocation. Thus, I argue that it destabilizes the conventional ideology which refers “homeland” to a ...


'Choose A Language Like A Wedding Ring': Polysystems, Norms And Pseudotranslation In Lea Goldberg’S Poetry & Prose, Benjamin Rangell Oct 2019

'Choose A Language Like A Wedding Ring': Polysystems, Norms And Pseudotranslation In Lea Goldberg’S Poetry & Prose, Benjamin Rangell

Masters Theses

Lea Goldberg [1911-1970] is one of modern Hebrew literature’s most significant poet/translators. This thesis approaches her early poetry and prose from the perspective of three theories of translation. ‘Polysystems’, ‘norms’, and ‘pseudotranslation’ grew from the scholarly and translation-lineage in Hebrew literary studies that Goldberg herself contributed to. Utilizing these three methods of reading, this thesis argues that translation’s thematization in Goldberg’s creative work is evidence for the poet’s ideal for a cosmopolitan, multilingual, national literature in the new Jewish State. This receptive stance to previous and concurrent literary traditions was met with much skepticism and ...


Translation Issues In Modern Chinese Literature: Viewpoint, Fate And Metaphor In Xia Shang's "The Finger-Guessing Game", Jonathan Heinrichs Oct 2019

Translation Issues In Modern Chinese Literature: Viewpoint, Fate And Metaphor In Xia Shang's "The Finger-Guessing Game", Jonathan Heinrichs

Masters Theses

The Finger-Guessing Game is a novel with many layers of themes, characterization, and metaphor, and conveying all of these varied aspects requires a detailed, careful approach to translation. With this thesis I aim to show that strictly adhering to a singular translation method, such as “word-for-word” or “sense-for-sense,” will produce unsatisfactory results at certain points within the novel. This is accomplished by an overview of several different unique aspects of the writing style of this novel, viewpoint, the theme of fate, and the use of idioms and metaphors. Following this will be an analysis of these aspects’ functions within the ...


Meatspace, Nicholas M. Criscuolo Oct 2019

Meatspace, Nicholas M. Criscuolo

Masters Theses

“MeatSpace” is a group of related bodies of work including podcasts, prints and videos produced by working with simulation technologies such as “weak A.I.”, virtual reality, and 3d scans. Collectively the works explore how people relate to these technologies and how they relate to us. They share thematic or process-oriented sensibilities involving a series of rule-based steps that alternate between the procedural and the intentional. “Uncanny” is defined as strangely familiar. Something which falls in the Uncanny Valley feels wrong, but the reasons may be difficult to articulate. “MeatSpace” is an ongoing experiment to see where our own digital ...


Existence Stories, Althea Keaton Aug 2019

Existence Stories, Althea Keaton

Masters Theses

Existence Stories is an interactive activist art project that gathers personal narratives from people about the ways in which their lives have been impacted by the current political climate in the United States, particularly surrounding the 2016 Presidential election and its aftermath. The project harnesses first-person narrative and audience participation as tools for humanizing the “Other” and building connections between people through the act of sharing stories. As the project has progressed over time, it has evolved in multiple directions and come to incorporate a variety of media, primarily comics, animation, printmaking, and zines. The roles that reproduction, distribution, and ...


I Speak As One In Doubt, Margaret Hazel Wilson Aug 2019

I Speak As One In Doubt, Margaret Hazel Wilson

Masters Theses

A written thesis to accompany the M.F.A. Exhibition I Speak as One in Doubt. Blending epistolary format and visionary narrative, the artist addresses her complex relationship to her Catholic upbringing.


Fielding, Emily Tareila Aug 2019

Fielding, Emily Tareila

Masters Theses

Fielding is an ongoing exploration of place-making, spaces of learning and relationship building in formal and informal learning environments. The project is comprised of a series of events and workshops that are embodied, multimodal, olfactory and engagement-focused and a mobile cart that helps to facilitate these happenings both in and out of the formal gallery space. I regard my art practice as pedagogical, a blurring of art and life into intentional ways of being in the world; an experience of sharing practices with others and a form of what is regarded in institutionalized art as social practice. I find art ...


Black Men Who Betray Their Race: 20th Century Literary Representations Of The Black Male Race Traitor, Gregory Coleman Jul 2019

Black Men Who Betray Their Race: 20th Century Literary Representations Of The Black Male Race Traitor, Gregory Coleman

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation, Black Men Who Betray Their Race, gathers a literary archive in order to identify and introduce the “race traitor” as a heretofore unrecognized yet important trope within 20th century African-American Literature. In addition to coping with the burden of racism, African Americans have had to put considerable energy toward negotiating the possibility of being perceived as race traitors by others within the African American community. This study tracks the possibilities and perils of black group identity in literary representations of black men, neither privileging opposition to the white world, nor celebrating black unity beyond it. Focusing on ...


The Political Work Of Memory In Collaborative Caribbean Archaeology, Elena Sesma Jul 2019

The Political Work Of Memory In Collaborative Caribbean Archaeology, Elena Sesma

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation is the product of a community-based research project that sought to understand how descendants of the 19th century Millars Plantation on the southern end of Eleuthera, Bahamas continue to use and reinterpret the landscape that they have called home for over a century and a half. In 1871, the last owner of the Millars Plantation left the estate in her will to the descendants of her former slaves and servants. That descendant community still upholds their right to this land today, although in recent years, a Bahamian developer has attempted to gain title to the acreage through the ...


Pakistani Pro-Democracy Movement: From The 1960s To The 2000s, Sofia Checa Jul 2019

Pakistani Pro-Democracy Movement: From The 1960s To The 2000s, Sofia Checa

Doctoral Dissertations

in Pakistan from the 1960s to the 2000s, with a focus on the latter. The dissertation is composed of three different papers. The first paper is an analysis of the changing civil society in Pakistan. I argue that in order to understand why the two movements were so different, we need to look at not just a snap shot of the civil society, but its evolution over the years. Rather than thinking of civil society as a static collection of different groups and organizations, this research analyzes it as a combination of groups (or structures) as well as processes that ...


Hashtag Holocaust: Negotiating Memory In The Age Of Social Media, Erica Fagen Jul 2019

Hashtag Holocaust: Negotiating Memory In The Age Of Social Media, Erica Fagen

Doctoral Dissertations

This study examines the representation of Holocaust memory through photographs on the social media platforms of Flickr and Instagram. It looks at how visitors – armed with digital cameras and smartphones – depicted their experiences at the former concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Neuengamme. The study’s arguments are twofold: firstly, social media posts about visits to former concentration camps are a form of Holocaust memory, and secondly, social media allows people from all backgrounds the opportunity to share their memories online. Holocaust memory on social media introduces a new, digital kind of memory called “filtered memory.”

This study demonstrates ...


“Greetings, I Am An Immortal God!”: Reading, Imagination, And Personal Divinity In Late Antiquity, 2nd – 5th Centuries Ce, Mark Roblee Jul 2019

“Greetings, I Am An Immortal God!”: Reading, Imagination, And Personal Divinity In Late Antiquity, 2nd – 5th Centuries Ce, Mark Roblee

Doctoral Dissertations

In City of God, Augustine entertains “personal divinity”—the idea that a person could become an immortal god. Recent scholarship has focused on the social function of such beliefs. The divine status of public figures such as emperors and martyrs has become a trope widely understood in its social and institutional dimensions. I add to this sociological understanding by inquiring into individual experience. How did a late antique person become divine? How did she understand divinity and the limits of the self? In City of God, Augustine assembles an archive that includes references to works by Platonists Apuleius, Plotinus, Porphyry ...


Self-Knowledge, Choice Blindness, And Confabulation, Hayley F. Webster Jul 2019

Self-Knowledge, Choice Blindness, And Confabulation, Hayley F. Webster

Doctoral Dissertations

There are two kinds of epistemic theories about self-knowledge: the traditional account, and the inferentialist account. According to the traditional view of self-knowledge, we have privileged access to our propositional attitudes. “Privileged access” means that one can gain knowledge of one’s own propositional attitudes directly via an exclusive, first-personal method called introspection. On the other hand, the inferentialist view of self-knowledge postulates that we don’t have privileged access to our propositional attitudes and must infer or self-attribute them instead. In this thesis I argue that the traditional view of self-knowledge, which postulates that we have privileged access to ...


Interpreting Access: A History Of Accessibility And Disability Representations In The National Park Service, Perri Meldon Jul 2019

Interpreting Access: A History Of Accessibility And Disability Representations In The National Park Service, Perri Meldon

Masters Theses

This thesis illustrates the accomplishments and challenges of enhancing accessibility across the national parks, at the same time that great need to diversify the parks and their interpretation of American disability history remains. Chapters describe the administrative history of the NPS Accessibility Program (1979-present), exploring the decisions from both within and outside the federal agency, to break physical and programmatic barriers to make parks more inclusive for people with sensory, physical, and cognitive disabilities; and provide a case study of the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site (HOFR) in New York. The case study describes the creation of ...


The Man Who Had It All But Her: The Construction And Destruction Of The Macho Image In Four Mexican Novels, Adriana Marmolejo Soto Jul 2019

The Man Who Had It All But Her: The Construction And Destruction Of The Macho Image In Four Mexican Novels, Adriana Marmolejo Soto

Masters Theses

The ideas of Mexican Machismo have been crystallized in the image of the Macho, a virile man who represents the ideals of masculinity in a determined time and space. This work aims to examine how four Mexican Novels (Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo, Elena Garro’s Los Recuerdos del Porvenir, Yuri Herrera’s Trabajos del Reino, and Fernanda Melchor’s Temporada de huracanes) present their unique macho ideals, and how the male characters fail to fulfill them. Through a textual examination of the four novels, this work asks: how is a macho image formed in each pair of novels? And ...


Everything Feels Like The Future But Us: The Posthuman Master-Slave Dynamic In Japanese Science Fiction Anime, Ryan Daly Jul 2019

Everything Feels Like The Future But Us: The Posthuman Master-Slave Dynamic In Japanese Science Fiction Anime, Ryan Daly

Masters Theses

This thesis is an exploration of the relationships between humans and mechanized beings in Japanese science fiction anime. In it I will be discussing the following texts: Ergo Proxy (2006), Chobits (2002), Gunslinger Girl (2003/2004), and Mahoromatic (2001/2002). I argue that these relationships in these anime series take the form of master/slave relationships, with the humans as the masters and the mechanized beings as the slaves. In virtually every case, the mechanized beings are young females and the masters are older human males. I will argue that this dynamic serves to reinforce traditional power structures and gender ...


Imagining A Home For Us: Representations Of Queer Families In Contemporary Japanese Literature, Patrick Carland Jul 2019

Imagining A Home For Us: Representations Of Queer Families In Contemporary Japanese Literature, Patrick Carland

Masters Theses

This thesis addresses popular works of fiction written or produced near or after 1989 in Japan and examines the roles that sexual orientation, gender and 20th century social and discursive history have had on the conceptualization of familial relations in postwar Japan. This thesis will analyze the means by which writers and artists during the 1980s and 1990s have engaged discourses of family in their works and will argue that these writers explicitly use queer (hereby defined as non-heterosexual and/or non-gender conforming) individuals and narratives to question, reshape and propose alternatives to culturally received images of heterosexual marriage ...


Heritage Sites, Leah Burke Jul 2019

Heritage Sites, Leah Burke

Masters Theses

A written thesis to accompany the M.F.A. Exhibition Heritage Sites, in which vignettes of the artist’s personal and familial narratives become a backdrop for examining themes such as global tourism, the notion of universal heritage, and questioning Puerto Rico as a postcolonial place. A two channel short video layers archival imagery with original material to examine the ways Puerto Rico has been represented and misrepresented personally and globally.


Globalizing Nature On The Shakespearean Stage, William Steffen Mar 2019

Globalizing Nature On The Shakespearean Stage, William Steffen

Doctoral Dissertations

As the far-reaching consequences of human-generated climate change continue to threaten the earth, an evaluation of the historical narrative of the Anthropocene has never been more important. Globalizing Nature revises the anthropocentric narrative of early globalization from the perspective of the non-human world on the early modern stage, which showcases Nature’s agency in determining ecological, economic, and colonial outcomes. Overturning the popular narrative that European technology and military might determined the outcome of settler colonialism in ancient Britain and colonial Virginia, John Fletcher’s Bonduca suggests that the floral and microbial grafts attending colonial exchange could make or break ...


Engaged, Multicultural Individualism In The Millennial Works Of Maryse Condé And Zadie Smith, Nicole Calandra Mar 2019

Engaged, Multicultural Individualism In The Millennial Works Of Maryse Condé And Zadie Smith, Nicole Calandra

Doctoral Dissertations

In “Engaged, Multicultural Individualism in the Millennial Works of Maryse Condé and Zadie Smith,” I explore the way these authors of the Caribbean diaspora represent the particular challenges characters face when they try to construct individual identities while also managing past traumas and future anxieties in multicultural contexts. I argue that the only path to success is through the development of a humor perspective similar to that of Condé’s and Smith’s third-person narrators, whose humorous, mocking tone, particularly at moments of crisis, creates the critical distance necessary for constructing an autonomous individual identity.

The first chapter argues that ...


Implicit Learning As A Means Of Tonal Jazz Pitch-Listening Skills Acquisition, David Mosher Mar 2019

Implicit Learning As A Means Of Tonal Jazz Pitch-Listening Skills Acquisition, David Mosher

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation, I present a method for developing tonal jazz pitch-listening skills (PLS) which is rooted in scientific experimental findings from the fields of music cognition and perception. Converging experimental evidence supports the notion that humans develop listening skills through implicit learning via immersive, statistically rich exposure to real music from a particular musical idiom, such as tonal jazz. Therefore, I recommend that to acquire tonal jazz pitch-listening skills, learners should (1) immerse themselves in the real music of that idiom, (2) remediate their listening skills, where necessary, by listening to slowed-down versions with exaggerated features, and (3) organize ...


The Politics Of Feeling And The Work Of Belonging In Us Immigrant Fiction 1990 - 2015, Lauren Silber Nov 2018

The Politics Of Feeling And The Work Of Belonging In Us Immigrant Fiction 1990 - 2015, Lauren Silber

Doctoral Dissertations

“The Politics of Feeling and the Work of Belonging in US Immigrant Fiction 1990 – 2015” presents readers with a distinct optic: if we are to fully grasp contemporary US racial politics, we must recognize the narrative work emotion performs in popular US diasporic fiction. Comparing the work of authors who have become mainstays in the multi-ethnic US literary canon such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, Lan Cao, Achy Obejas, Cristina Garcia, Kiran Desai, and Nora Okja Keller, I explicate how these popular authors exhume the complex entanglements of racialization, US empire, and global capitalism by narrating the everyday ...


Charting The Terrain Of Latina/O/X Theater In Chicago, Priscilla M. Page Nov 2018

Charting The Terrain Of Latina/O/X Theater In Chicago, Priscilla M. Page

Doctoral Dissertations

There is a rich tapestry of Latina/o/x theater in Chicago. Through in-depth interviews, I use first-voice narratives to construct four decades of Latina/o/x theater history with the artists who were founding directors and/or members of these companies: Latino Chicago, Latino Experimental Theater Company, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, and Urban Theater Company. My aim with this project is to listen carefully to Latina/o/x artists in Chicago so that I can play a role in amplifying their voices as they articulate their experiences in this Midwestern city they call home. I organized my findings into ...


"The Whole Nation Will Move": Grassroots Organizing In Harlem And The Advent Of The Long, Hot Summers, Peter Blackmer Nov 2018

"The Whole Nation Will Move": Grassroots Organizing In Harlem And The Advent Of The Long, Hot Summers, Peter Blackmer

Doctoral Dissertations

“The Whole Nation Will Move” provides a narrative history of grassroots struggles for African American equality and empowerment in Harlem in the decade immediately preceding the era of widespread urban rebellions in the United States. Through a street-level examination of the political education and activism of grassroots organizers, the dissertation analyzes how local people developed a collective radical consciousness and organized to confront and dismantle institutional racism in New York City from 1954-1964. This work also explores how the interests and activities of poor and working-class Black and Puerto Rican residents of Harlem fueled the escalation of protest activity and ...


The Privilege Of Blackness: Black Empowerment And The Fight For Liberation In Attala County, Mississippi 1865-1915, Evan Ashford Nov 2018

The Privilege Of Blackness: Black Empowerment And The Fight For Liberation In Attala County, Mississippi 1865-1915, Evan Ashford

Doctoral Dissertations

Post-Civil War historiography paid minimal attention to the rural Afro-American impact on Southern social, economic, and political institutions prior to the 20th century. This dissertation addresses this deficit. The Privilege of Blackness: Black Empowerment and the Fight for Liberation examines how Afro-Americans in rural Mississippi empowered themselves via their mentality, interracial interactions, landownership, labor diversification, education and suffrage as a means to fight for individual and racial liberation.

The Privilege of Blackness: Black Empowerment and the Fight for Liberation in Attala County, Mississippi 1865-1915 makes the claim that freedom grounded Afro-American peoples claim to their inalienable rights guaranteed by ...


Rhotic Variation In The Spanish Spoken By Puerto Ricans In Puerto Rico And Western Massachusetts, Alba Arias Alvarez Nov 2018

Rhotic Variation In The Spanish Spoken By Puerto Ricans In Puerto Rico And Western Massachusetts, Alba Arias Alvarez

Doctoral Dissertations

The Spanish trill is known to present a wide range of phonetic variation in Puerto Rican Spanish (PRS), attested not only on the island but in the diaspora. Combining auditory and acoustic analysis, this research project studies acoustic data on onset /r/ in Holyoke, MA, the city with the largest per capita population of Puerto Ricans living outside the island. The aim of this dissertation is to analyze whether there is trill variation in the PR community in Holyoke, and, whether it mirrors the variation found in Puerto Rico. Special attention is paid to glottal, velar, or uvular /r/ realizations ...


Epic And Identity: Exploring Genre And Understanding The Self In The Middle High German 'Spielmannsepen', Rachael A. Salyer Oct 2018

Epic And Identity: Exploring Genre And Understanding The Self In The Middle High German 'Spielmannsepen', Rachael A. Salyer

Doctoral Dissertations

The cluster of anonymous Middle High German epics known as the Spielmannsepen presents an interesting challenge to notions of genre and identity in the Middle Ages. This project explores some of the issues surrounding those notions in three particular texts, including König Rother, Orendel, and St. Oswald. Discussions of genre and identity complement one another in this work because each functions as a means of categorization. Questions surrounding the poems’ manuscript traditions and presumed composition dates are analyzed, and aspects of the eponymous heroes’ identities are also examined.


Creating A Symbol Of Science: The Development Of A Standard Periodic Table Of The Elements, Ann Robinson Oct 2018

Creating A Symbol Of Science: The Development Of A Standard Periodic Table Of The Elements, Ann Robinson

Doctoral Dissertations

It is probably a surprise to most people that the periodic table they remember from high school chemistry is not the only periodic table – and never has been. Currently there are probably over a thousand different forms. The table in your chemistry textbook or on the wall chart in your chemistry classroom is not the periodic table. It is simply the most commonly used form. In fact, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the international standards-making body for chemistry, has stated that although they encourage the use of this form, they will not endorse any one form ...


Bridging Contradictions: Socialist Actresses And Star Culture In East Germany, Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, Victoria Isabelle Rizo Lenshyn Oct 2018

Bridging Contradictions: Socialist Actresses And Star Culture In East Germany, Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, Victoria Isabelle Rizo Lenshyn

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation, I argue that multiple stakeholders in East Germany (GDR)—the fans, artists, and state— adapted the star phenomenon to help validate GDR socialist culture at home and abroad, and to bridge seemingly contradictory elements within the dualistic context of the global Cold War: the individual and collective, the ordinary and extraordinary, idealism and reality, the past and present, tradition and progress, East and West. As public figures, GDR stars offered audiences multiple points of identification and helped the enlarged working class navigate its new dominant social position in GDR social life. Officially, stars offered an engaging performance ...