Theses for the College of Liberal Arts

Recent Submissions

  • Communication in the face of diversity: towards a training model for U.S. Army cadets

    Lasiter, Nolan O.; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; DeCaro, Peter (2011-12)
    The purpose of this study was to explore the need for a communication and cultural diversity training program in a Northwestern university Reserve officer Training Corps (ROTC) department. A needs assessment was conducted identifying the need for a training program in both culture and communication. Research questions explored the need for a training program in communication and cultural diversity. Quantitative methods assessed the overall outcomes from the communication and cultural diversity workshops. Hypotheses predicted that Cadet's scores would increase from pretest to posttest as a result of the communication and cultural diversity workshop. Senior level cadets at a Northwestern university ROTC program volunteered to participate in the study. A pilot training program was administered in the spring semester in order generate feedback and improve the design. The final training design was implemented in the fall and assessed using the communication competency measurement and cultural competency instrument. Results showed that there was an overall significant increase of scores from pretest to posttest, suggesting that the workshops improved cadets abilities in communication and cultural diversity.
  • Visualizing the present: current issues within contemporary visual Sami art - an analysis of Sami artists and their art in Oslo, Norway

    Horn-Hanssen, Birte Marie (2011-12)
    Until recently, contemporary visual Sami art has been little studied. However there is continuous activity within the Sami art world that is evident from the large amount of contemporary visual Sami art exhibits in northern Scandinavia. This paper provides an exploratory analysis of the current issues and artistic language contemporary visual Sami artists who live in Oslo, Norway are concerned with. Through contextualizing the artworks within a post-colonial framework highlighting the dominant Sami historical, political and societal narratives from the 1970s until now, and contrasting them with the official Norwegian image of Norway as a unified "oil and gas nation," a "human rights nation" or a "fishing nation" the artworks question dominant historical perspectives and become visual inquiries of the Sami's political and societal situation currently or in recent history in Norway. This study demonstrates that the current issues visualized among contemporary Sami artists in Oslo are humans' relationship to the natural environment; collective and personal identity; and political and cultural rights. The study shows that the artists use their Sami background as a specific context to visualize these generic issues. Finally, the analysis emphasizes that contemporary visual Sami artists have transcultural backgrounds and use transnational artistic language, themes, and expressions and therefore visualizes new and emerging fluid transnational Sami identities.
  • Letters as literature: semantic and discursive features of irony in "Letters to Howard"

    Cook, Corinna Jo; Schneider, William; Koester, David; Ruppert, James (2011-12)
    This thesis examines the literary features of the Letters to Howard, a series of letters to the editor of the Alaskan newspaper, the Tundra Times. Published over the course of several months in 1973, the letters were signed by two semi-fictional characters: an old Eskimo man, Naugga Ciunerput, and a lost VISTA volunteer, Wally Morton, the two lone inhabitants of the imagined Land's End Village, Alaska. Naugga and Wally had a pointed agenda: they were addressing editor Howard Rock and his readership with their concerns regarding the newly-passed Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA. In truth, Naugga and Wally's letters were written by two graduate students, Fred Bigjim (an Inupiaq from Nome studying education) and James Ito-Adler (a law student who had switched to anthropology). The use of irony in these letters is the subject of my analysis here; I focus first on the semantic layers of irony and second on its discursive dimensions. This thesis' ultimate goal is to illuminate the ways in which these letters contest history, frame the nature and distribution of power, and examine the myriad tensions at play between Native peoples' historic, cultural, and political ties to the land.
  • Archaeology at Teklanika West (HEA-001): an upland archaeological site, central Alaska

    Coffman, Samuel C. (2011-12)
    This thesis research involved a reinvestigation of the Teklanika West (HEA-001) archaeological site, central Alaska. It focused on understanding and expanding upon the site formation processes, dating, and characterizing cultural components at the site. Analyses were designed to address the preceding research purposes, while inter-relating research objectives. Twelve and a quarter square meters were excavated within five blocks located across the site. These excavation blocks yielded dateable materials in clear association with chipped-stone technology. Both environmental and cultural data obtained at the site have produced a more complex understanding of the site and surrounding landscape. Multiple components ranging in age from the late Pleistocene through late Holocene are represented at the site. Lithic analyses indicate a wide variety of lithic reduction occurring within components; ranging from biface production to late-stage weapons maintenance. Faunal remains from the oldest components consisted of bison, while the mid-late Holocene components consisted of caribou and sheep, respectively. All these data indicate that the upper Teklanika River valley was deglaciated by the late Pleistocene, allowing humans access to animals, new travel routes, and raw material resources.
  • Animal companionship and identity construction in the middle English "Ywain and Gawain"

    Byers, Robert E. (2011-12)
    As a relatively recent field within literary cultural studies, "animal studies" has the potential to ask sophisticated new questions about the central and privileged place of the humanist "cogito." Through an examination of the human-animal companionship found in the Middle English romance "Ywain and Gawain", this thesis aims to contribute to the project of animal studies by tracing how questions about humanity and animality both construct and deconstruct a subject's identity. In the poem, Ywain, a knight in Arthur's court, is exiled from society and befriends a lion, who travels and fights alongside him. The dynamics of their bond highlight a posthumanist identity which begins to articulate itself within Ywain. The fluid nature of the category "man" is further examined throughan analysis of Ywain's sojourn in the woods as a wild man, and the "what is a man" encounter which occurs at the beginning of the poem. Though normative society is reinstated at the end of the text, the study concludes that the added presence of the lion in court undermines humanism's inherently speciesist imagination and serves as a microcosm of one possible vision of a posthumanist society.
  • You say I can, I think I can: peripheral route persuasion as a contributor to employability self-efficacy for undergraduate students

    Uzzell, Brandon W.; Sager, Kevin; Arundale, Robert; Richey, Jean (2011-05)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the persuasive communication phenomenon between university students and professors concerning students' post-degree employability. Communicative interactions were examined as originating with the Elaboration likelihood model's peripheral route cues (persuasive messages) and the outcomes of these interactions as student's employability self-efficacy (beliefs about employability). Hypotheses predicted that a positive correlation exists between perceived peripheral route cues and employability self-efficacy of students. Senior level undergraduate students at a Northwestern university voluntarily completed an electronic survey containing need for cognition, peripheral route cues, and employability self-efficacy measures. Analysis indicated that employability self-efficacy could be successfully predicted by peripheral route cues. Results showed an overall significant positive correlation between the predictor and outcome variable. Implications of these results, limitations of the study, and future research directions are discussed.
  • "My language, your language": Thai mothers' expectations for their children's heritage language usage

    Piyamahapong, Janejira (2011-05)
    Immigrant parents who share the same ethnic background usually have high expectations and positive attitudes toward their children's heritage language usage. They are willing to put their time, money, and other effort in order to pass their heritage language on to their second-generation children. This research looked at some of the cross-cultural marriage couples--Thai mother and American father, who together have U.S. born children, and the mothers' expectations for their children's heritage language usage. Specifically, it examined these mothers' lived experience through conversational interviewing. Thematic analysis was utilized as data analysis. Four major themes emerged during the analysis of data: (a) It's my child's future, I want the best for them, (b) I was struggling when I first moved here, (c) This is OUR language, and (d) Embarrassment and resistance. These themes allowed and structured the results of this study. Directions for future research include a study incorporating American fathers and mother's education.
  • Sense versus sentiment: emergent persuasive strategies of non-profit organizations in dichotomous economic climates

    Miller, Alexis S. (2011-05)
    This study seeks to explore the rhetoric employed by the United Way in contrasting economic contexts. With a theoretical framework of Aristotle's Theory of Rhetoric, this study employs rhetorical criticism. Interpretation of results suggests that pathos is most prevalent in crisis conditions, such as a recession, whereas logos is most prevalent under stable economic circumstances. Initial conclusions drawn from the study highlight the importance of community supportiveness appeals in crisis conditions.
  • And other myths

    Kim, Edward (2011-05)
    I do not consider it my job to create meaning; that responsibility lies with the reader. I seek to point in a general direction and allow the reader to bring his/her own experiences to the poem and complete the dialogue between writer and reader. I employ this idea in And Other Myths by use of juxtaposition, by using leaps within a poem to create seams in which a reader may impart or implicate a sense of him/herself. A poem may appear simple but open itself up to complexity with further readings, this is what the poems in And Other Myths strive to do. The poems use myth and subtext/ambiguity to go outside the self and home as a way of looking back and exploring the experience of American culture, of identity. This experience is frequently explored through the scope of my family and Korean heritage, also by creating a myth of the mundane. The mythic form helps to impart a strong sense of legacy and ancestry, but through the lens of a Korean/American upbringing. The sense of the "other" in relation to identity strongly influences my work, not just in a cultural sense, but also in a human sense.
  • Teaching adolescents conflict management skills

    DeLong, Debra M. (2011-05)
    In response to a parents request a workshop to teach a conflict management workshop to high school students was created. A pre-post test design to assess the effectiveness of the workshop was used, with the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument as the measurement. Responses were available for 76 students who were evenly divided between females and males. Overall preferences for using conflict styles did not show a statistically significant change; however, preferences for individual styles did change, with competition showing a statistically significant difference.
  • The low back vowel in mid-coast Maine

    Davidson, Gail (2011-05)
    In mid-coast Maine, the words cod and caught sound like they contain the same vowel phoneme, employing the sound [a], a low back vowel. The word father contains a separate contrasting phoneme, spoken as [a], a low central vowel. This paper attempts to show that this perceived similarity in [a] and difference from [a] is in fact real. Unlike in the area of the Northern Cities Chain Shift, where the sound of the vowels in cod, caught and father all approach [a], the vowel in cod and caught in mid coast Maine remains low and back, occasionally rounded, more often not, while that in father is low and central. Twenty-six current speakers of varying ages, most residents since early childhood, were interviewed to compare these sounds. Each speaker was recorded reading a prepared story and a set of words included in a frame sentence. Formant frequencies for this recorded data were then analyzed. Statistical tests, including t-tests and ANOVAs, were run to compare the vowels and to test the validity of the hypothesis. Normalizing the data for one single vowel sound proved to be unworkable, so men and women were treated separately, as were Narrative and Frame data. The low back vowel was found to be stable in mid-coast Maine, including the same sound in cod and caught, and it was found to contrast with the low central vowel in father. Available historical evidence points to these vowels having been stable in this region for over a hundred years. This contrasts with changes in the vowel sound in the same words in the rest of the United States.
  • A vast tapestry of madness

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    "A Vast Tapestry of Madness" is a collection of fictional works exploring the unique conditions of life in Pacific Northwestern America of the early twenty-first century. In three stories and two novellas, it explores the consequences of economic and political upheavals, the cultural complexities of sexuality, and the filters which the media impose on thought and perception, through characters obsessed with the masks they present to the world, yet never quite able to maintain those fronts against the reader or themselves.
  • Counterhistory in the literature of Juárez

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    Counterhistory in the Literature of Juárez deals with three novels portraying a series of unsolved murders in the city of Juárez, Mexico, including Stella Pope Duarte's If I Die in Juárez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders, and Roberto Bolano's 2666. The author argues that each novel creates an alternate historical record of the murders, as well as conditions in the city at large, which counters the understanding of the crimes which has been imposed by hegemonic forces in the Mexican and American governments. Because of their oppositional tactics, the author terms all three novels counterhistories, a word with complex and sometimes contradictory meanings in both literary criticism and metahistorical thought. The author explores various ideas of counterhistory and documents the ways each novel fulfills a counterhistorical purpose, as well as the ways in which the unique qualities of the novelistic form empower the creation of oppositional and polemical meanings.
  • A lexical transducer for North Slope Iñupiaq

    Bills, Aric R.; Tuttle, Siri; Levin, Lori; Berge, Anna; Kaplan, Lawrence (2011-05)
    This thesis describes the creation and evaluation of software designed to analyze and generate North Slope Iñupiaq words. Given a complete lñupiaq word as input, it attempts to identify the word's stem and suffixes, including the grammatical category and any inflectional information contained in the word. Given a stem and list of suffixes as input, it attempts to produce the corresponding Iñupiaq word, applying phonological processes as necessary. Innovations in the implementation of this software include Iñupiaq-specific formats for specifying lexical data, including a table-based format for specifying inflectional suffixes in paradigms; a treatment of phonologically-conditioned irregular allomorphy which leverages the pattern-recognition capabilities of the xfst programming language; and an idiom for composing morphographemic rules together in xfst which captures the state of the software each time a new rule is added, maximizing feedback during software compilation and facilitating troubleshooting. In testing, the software recognized 81.2% of all word tokens (78.3% of unique word types) and guessed at the morphology of an additional 16.8% of tokens (19.4% of types). Analyses of recognized words were largely accurate; a heuristic for identifying accurate parses is proposed. Most guesses were at least partly inaccurate. Improvements and applications are proposed.
  • Well-being: the looking glass in 4-D

    Bays, Joey M.; Richey, Jean; Arundale, Robert; Anahita, Sine (2011-05)
    Well-being affects all of us. It is intricately interwoven with our identity and interactions. This study explores the relational contexts in which well-being is created, maintained, and diminished. In order to accomplish this goal, three main themes were addressed: (a) the co-researcher's understanding of what well-being is, (b) the co-researcher's understanding of how community affects a person's well-being, and (c) a description of the co-researcher's best of times and worst of times. These phenomenological themes guide the context and process of this research. This study is grounded in the theoretical stance of interpretivism with a constructionism epistemology; the methodology employed is phenomenological research utilizing conversational interviewing methods. I thematically analyzed the emergent capta from the interviews into the following themes: (a) What is Well-Being?: a definition of well-being and (b) The Struggle in the Search: co-researchers lived experiences of wellness. These themes offer an in-depth exploration of understanding the meaning of well-being the lived experiences informing those understandings.
  • In memory of days and nights

    Barney, Patrick (2011-04)
    In Memory of Days and Nights is a collection of meditative and lyric essays that are interconnected by their attention to relationships of dominance and subordination mediated by economic systems and language, personal complicity in such relationships, possible forms of revolt, and attempts to make meaning within these systems. The essays in this collection deal with these issues in several forms. The shorter form essays, utilizing a lyric voice concerned with imagery and rhythm as opposed to narrative, range from half a page to five pages long. These either examine personal experience in an effort to reflect upon death and meaninglessness or depict myth and historical occurrence to meditate upon the human desire for order. The longer essays in this collection range from traditional narrative-driven pieces, to collage and mosaic pieces--unfolding in the accumulated depictions of instances of time--to universal meditations burgeoning from individual experience. These navigate the intersections between the microcosm of the author's life and the macrocosm of human life, often by applying the thought-systems of various philosophers and writers to personal experience.
  • A comparative analysis of fish and wildlife enforcement in Alaska from the passage of the 1902 Alaska game law to 2011

    Woldstad, Kenneth J.; McBeath, Gerald; Cole, Terrence; Klein, David R. (2011-08)
    This study examines the institutional evolution of wildlife enforcement in the context of Alaskan history and politics from 1902 to the present. Balancing competing demands for expertise in fish and wildlife matters on one hand, with a technical knowledge of law enforcement on the other, has long been the central institutional challenge facing those protecting Alaska's living resources. Following enactment of the first Alaska Game Law in 1902, responsibility for enforcement was initially left to already over-burdened law enforcement officials, with ultimate authority remaining under the U.S. Agriculture Department. Passage of the 1925 "Alaska Game Law" and establishment of the Alaska Game Commission saw the creation of professional wardens. Following statehood the Department of Fish and Game assumed the enforcement responsibility from 1960 to 1972, until Governor William Egan shifted the protection personnel to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), thereby transforming them into state troopers, although in a separate division. As a result of the transfer to DPS, conservation of fish and wildlife was in the hands of professional law enforcement. Many resource users opposed the transfer, certain that the emphasis on general law enforcement came at the expense of wildlife expertise, a tension that continues to persist today.
  • One large steppe for Russian authorship: Gogol's troika of settings

    Fleharty, Ryan; Carr, Richard; Burleson, Derick; Mamoon, Trina (2011-08)
    This exploration of Gogol's works focuses on the three major setting-related phases of his writing career: the Ukrainian beginnings, his Petersburg tales, and the provincial Russian towns that populated his final works. His choice and execution of settings is correlated to the development of a sophisticated Russian readership clamoring for a national literature, and in attempting to generate one through his works, Gogol joins the other canonical Russian authors by tackling the central problem of 19th century Russian literature: the identity and future of the Russian nation.
  • To the root: adopted memoirs of a Samoan princess in exile

    Hassel, Jody Marie (2012-12)
    "To the Root: Adopted Memoirs of Samoan Princess in Exile" traces the author's eventful search for and reunion with members of biological family in a memoir of personal essays. The author's search for her birthfather explores thematic elements of loss, abandonment, cultural identity, racial identity, and reconciliation. The memoir explores and challenges boundaries of creative nonfiction through a mosaic of extended narrative scenes and lyric personal reflection. Autobiographical scenes convey the author's family life and upbringing in Interior Alaska tracing her journey through to adulthood, when she travels to Samoa to receive a traditional rite-of-passage tattoo and familial royal title. Resisting an entirely linear retelling of accounts, impressionist reflections on yoga and Polynesian dance are connected to the author's experience of adoption. To the Root reaches a deeper understanding of self as adoptee, as daughter, as agent of lineage.
  • Playacting happiness: tragicomedy in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford

    Udden, Meryem A.; Carr, Rich; Heyne, Eric; Reilly, Terence (2020-05)
    This thesis examines tragicomedy in two 19th Century British novels, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. Both narratives have perceived happy endings; however, tragedy lies underneath the surface. With Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream as a starting point, playacting becomes the vehicle through which tragedy can be discovered by the reader. Throughout, I find examples in which playacting begins as a comedic act, but acquires tragic potential when parents enter the scene. Here, I define tragedy not as a dramatic experience, but rather seemingly small injustices that, over time, cause more harm than good. In Mansfield Park, the tragedy is parental neglect and control. In Cranford, the tragedy is parental abuse. For both narratives, characters are unable to experience life fully, and past parental injuries cannot be redeemed. While all the children in the narratives experience some form of parental neglect, the marginalized children are harmed more than the others. In addition, I find that lifelong loneliness is a common theme in both narratives, showing that tragedy can lead to grief experienced in isolation.

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