Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Graduate Student Supervision
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.
This thesis examines how contemporary literature in Canada is imagining cross-cultural, decolonial, and abolitionist futures beyond the multicultural horizons of the settler state. It focuses on three contemporary literary texts published in Canada—Marie Clements’ Burning Vision; Sonnet L’Abbé’s Sonnet’s Shakespeare; and Catherine Hernandez’s Scarborough—to disrupt the grammars and logics that structure the national narratives, histories, and ideologies that cast Canada as an inclusive nation no longer tied to the violences and exclusions integral to its foundation. By drawing on the work of postcolonial and critical race studies scholars Jodi Byrd and Lisa Lowe, who read horizontally across archives, peoples, places, and temporalities to map the uneven and cacophonous effects of empire, this thesis argues that Burning Vision, Sonnet’s Shakespeare, and Scarborough not only contest national histories but also trace how differently racialized and marginalized peoples have become entangled in each others’ lives. While the introduction provides a brief overview of the contradictions that underpin the multicultural settler state and outlines how reading or thinking horizontally accounts for the varied ways in which empire has entangled people together across space and time, the body chapters examine how each literary text stages those entanglements in ways that give rise to alternative forms of cross-cultural relationality, kinship, and care. Chapter 2 examines how Marie Clements’ Burning Vision explores the hemispheric implications of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan and imaginatively stories the victims of the bombs together across the past, present, and future. Chapter 3 analyzes how Sonnet L’Abbé’s Sonnet’s Shakespeare disrupts Canada’s national narratives and reworks Shakespeare’s poems to construct a cacophonous textual terrain that interrogates questions related to history, complicity, responsibility, and care. Finally, chapter 4 considers how Catherine Hernandez’s Scarborough intervenes in common portrayals of the titular inner-city suburb and explores the space of the post/colonial city both as a site inextricably tied to the legacies of empire and as an affective space capable of generating a sense of cross-cultural care and communality. Taken together, these texts produce openings into elsewheres beyond the multicultural logics of the nation-state and beyond the cacophonous intimacies of the here-and-now.
This thesis examines nonprofit documentary films produced within the African continent featuring African populations. Contemporary humanitarian documentary productions by Western constituents frequently commit acts of ideological violence against the African communities they purport to assist through neocolonial tropes and extractive visual aesthetics. Decolonial storytelling strategies are imperative for ethical and holistic narratives to begin revitalizing Western epistemologies about the African context. Drawing on critical humanitarian studies – which critiques the imbrication of humanitarian work with Western national political agendas – I argue that the contemporary nonprofit narrative model draws inspiration from a neocolonial humanitarian history built on inequitable power imbalances between Western imperial powers and their former colonies. African scholars Achille Mbembe and Ngūgī Wa Thiong’o provide theoretical and pragmatic strategies for repositioning African voices in positions of agency, and these strategies will provide an avenue through which nonprofit films can be assessed. Then, by looking to nonprofit films produced by both Western filmmakers and African filmmakers, this research evaluates the requirements necessary to move the nonprofit documentary sector from a neocolonial present into a decolonial future. Considering elements such as language and authorship, I conclude my analysis by discussing how encouraging locally-led cultural production will not only work to actively decolonize the current Western impression of African nations, but also to curb any future utilization of the same tired neocolonial tropes by rising global powers.