Scott Allen Anderson

Associate Professor

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Pornography, spectatorship, and sex education in the VCR era (2018)

Contemporary pornography studies focus largely on issues pertaining to the accessible, ubiquitous reality of portable, digital, Internet technology. What is lacking in examinations of the relationship between pornography and the industry’s uptake of media technologies is the significance of the technological advance of the videocassette recorder / player (VCR). In this dissertation I claim that video technology, particularly its ability to control the viewing of moving-image pornography, and the opportunity for private viewing, fundamentally changed the spectator’s engagement with pornography. Furthermore, the spectator’s engagement with and consideration of pornography via video technology can be understood as a kind of adult sex education. The movement of pornography spectatorship from the public adult theatre (Delany, 1999) to private home entertainment was revolutionary. Video technology provided the pornography viewer with the first opportunity to pause, watch in slow-motion, rewind, and re-watch, numerous times, sexual scenes of particular interest (Melendez, 2004). This level of control over spectatorship exceeds live theatre, cinema, or television. Moreover, the spectator’s control permits a personalized study of explicit sexual practices.As foundational pornography theorist Linda Williams (2014) observes, there is little research on pornography’s viewers. The epicentre of this dissertation is a reading of the cumulative fan mail archive of legendary pornography star Nina Hartley. Hartley’s first video was released in 1984, concurrent with the rapid expansion of video pornography production and distribution (Greenberg, 2008; O’Toole, 1998; Williams, 1989). The Hartley fan archive contains over 15 years of fan mail, artwork, and ephemera. Hartley established the Nina Hartley Fan Club in 1985 and, despite advances in digital technologies, she received postal mail into the 21st-century. Personal letters can provide a window to the author’s curiosities, desires, fantasies, knowledge, practices, and questions regarding sexuality (Almond and Baggott, 2006; Garlinger, 2005). Selections from Hartley’s fan archive articulate what adult sex education the viewer garnered from pornography regarding explicit representations of sexual practices, gender, and bodies. Pornography can be interpreted as the speaking of sex. This dissertation suggests that, while pornography can be understood as making sex speak, the letters of the Hartley archive represent the speaking of sex.

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Virtue and situation: Effects of situational factors on attention and emotion (2013)

Many psychological studies have results that are difficult to explain in terms of the neo-Aristotelian model of virtue, vice and moral education. This thesis asks whether neo-Aristotelian moral psychology can account for empirical data on the effects that situational factors have on behaviour, specifically studies where situations affect attention and emotion.Some neo-Aristotelians argue that studies of behaviour are irrelevant to virtue theory; I disagree. John Doris’ situationist critique of virtue ethics has significant flaws, but its central point stands: neo-Aristotelian states of character as usually conceived imply predictions about behaviour that are empirically unreliable, leading to the conclusion that neo-Aristotelian moral psychology is problematic as a model of what human beings are really like. Talk of virtues and vices does not explain or predict the disproportionate effects seen in these studies. Doris argues that only local traits such as “office-party-sociability” are reliable predictors of behaviour. I respond to the situationist critique by looking for ways of supplementing neo-Aristotelian moral psychology to account for the effects of situational factors on behaviour.The main contribution of my dissertation is to show that there are interpersonal differences in behaviour which are best explained in terms of dispositions that modulate the degree to which situational factors affect attention and emotion. Contrary to situationism, the influence of these dispositions is not restricted to specific situations like office parties. These dispositions behave like neo-Aristotelian states of character. They are teachable, and they are responsive to reason. I argue that these dispositions are constituents of virtue; each virtue consists of a set of dispositions, and each virtue’s set consists in part of dispositions to pay attention in an appropriately selective manner. Dispositions to pay appropriately selective attention can account for many of the effects of situations on behaviour in a way that most neo-Aristotelians would find unobjectionable.However, I have one conclusion which may disturb some neo-Aristotelians: it may be impossible for one person to become virtuous in every respect. I suggest that virtue might require not personal perfection but appropriate interpersonal trust.

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Social Identity, Agency and the Politics of Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV/ AIDS Care (2012)

Within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community, gendered disparities exist with respect to uptake and continuity of antiretroviral therapy; limited access and adherence to therapy is commonly reported in the medical literature concerning women in the community. These findings are particularly hard to reconcile, as HIV treatment exists amidst a range of neighbourhood health and social support services that are ostensibly accessible to all through a universal health care system. In this dissertation, I examine conventional approaches to facilitating treatment uptake and adherence along with dominant narratives employed to explain treatment challenges faced by women in Downtown Eastside Vancouver. Bringing together discourse analysis, qualitative interviewing, and participant observation with HIV-positive women and their health care providers I propose an alternate lens with which to examine gender disparities in HIV care. I argue that discourses of adherence to antiretroviral therapy are suffused with cultural imagery and tropes associated with women at high risk of HIV infection: images of sex work, drug use, homelessness, and mental illness. Additionally, an individualist, rationalist bias exists within much of the North American literature regarding women’s access and adherence to care; the literature finds points of convergence with larger normative frameworks of liberalism within medical practices. Contrary to a conventional emphasis on psychosocial “barriers” to care, I focus on social interests, institutional authorities, relations of power, and strategies of social control. These are exerted on, resisted, and internalized by women attempting to negotiate care. I also suggest how a normative liberal framework underpinning HIV research and care may have the inadvertent consequence of further entrenching images of HIV positive women as deviant, dangerous, and/or irrational. My reframing issues of access and adherence as matters of negotiation and negative agency leads me to discuss the ways in which liberal conceptions of autonomous agency are employed within discourses of HIV/AIDS care, structuring health care decision making and possible courses of action. The arguments I offer endorse a constitutively relational account of the self and autonomy. A relational account can, I argue, provide insight and guidance concerning adherence to antiretroviral therapy.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Autonomy and the infertility patient : exploring the limits of the criteria that identify autonomous decision making with regards to the female infertility patient (2010)

No abstract available.


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