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Between Logos and Eros: New Orleans' Confrontation with Modernity

Description: This thesis examines the environmental and social consequences of maintaining the artificial divide between thinking and feeling, mind and matter, logos and eros. New Orleans, a city where the natural environment and human sensuality are both dominant forces, is used as a case study to explore the implications of our attempts to impose rational controls on nature - both physical and human nature. An analysis of New Orleans leading up to and immediately following Hurricane Katrina (2005) reveals that the root of the trouble in the city is not primarily environmental, technological, political, or sociological, but philosophical: there is something amiss in the relationship between human rationality and the corporeal world. I argue that policy decisions which do not include the contributions of experts from the humanities and qualitative social sciences - persons with expertise on human emotions, intentions, priorities and desires - will continue to be severely compromised.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Moore, Erin Christine
Partner: UNT Libraries

RevealingReveilingReveling

Description: This thesis explores the possibilities of communication in the context of a sound composition. In RevealingReveilingReveling, a series of questions concerning communication posed by John Cage, coupled with an extension of those questions posed by myself, are set to recorded sounds-in-the-world. The intention is to create a greater awareness of that which there is to listen in our world. The first part of this essay discusses influences of philosophical thought during the process of composing RevealingReveilingReveling. Two distinct twentieth-century thinkers that have impacted the creation of this piece and their areas of thought are Martin Heidegger: language and Being; and John Cage: sound, silence, and awareness. The second part of the essay is a structural analysis of the piece, discussing the recording of Cage's questions, sounds-in-the-world, sound-manipulation techniques and thought-processes, as well as periodic mention the aesthetic decisions made.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Colaruotolo, John
Partner: UNT Libraries

Tracing the Path of Sustainable Development through Major International Conferences: A Brief History and Overview of Sustainable Development 1964-2002

Description: Starting with the idea that unsustainable practices contribute to issues of social justice and poverty as much as to ecological issues. Chapter 1 traces the origins of the terms sustainable and development individually to see how it is that they came together. Chapter 2 traces the major international conferences and documents and their use of the terms sustainable development. Chapter 3 takes a phenomenology approach to get a bit deeper into sustainable development. I examine the most commonly cited definition of sustainable development as well as a broader definition of sustainable development as a process of change. Chapter 4 examines the field of environmental ethics and argues that constant debates over value distract policy makers from the central question of what morally motivates people to support environmental ethics views. Chapter 5 examines the institution and regime building process, and the conclusion offers three questions to measure our progress.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Dunn, Benjamin P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Water systems, water policy, and Karst terrain: An analysis of the complex relationships between geology, economy, public perceptions, and policy in southern Trelawny, Jamaica.

Description: Jamaica has an abundance of freshwater resources, however, a lack of infrastructure makes treated, piped water inaccessible in many areas. Through literature reviews and site visits, this thesis is an analysis of how the people and land, and money and policy, interact with one another in relation to Jamaica's freshwater resources and water infrastructure. Special attention is given to the island's type-example Cockpit karst geology; tourism, mining, and farming's relation to this karst; types of water delivery systems in rural southern Trelawny's Cockpit Country; southern Trelawny residents' perceptions of the water situation; and policy and development goals in the context of Jamaica and southern Trelawny. I hope to bring attention to the unique social, geologic, and developmental context of water in Jamaica, and more specifically to garner attention for major water infrastructure improvements in south Trelawny. A number of recommendations for improvements with policy and infrastructure are made.
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Date: December 2005
Creator: McCall, Sarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

Embedded Within Landscapes: Agrarian Philosophy and Sustainable Agriculture

Description: Small-scale, conservation-based agrarianism provides a model for sustainable human habitation within heterogeneous landscapes. Thoreau's Transcendentalism and the historical roots of American Agrarianism are explored as influences for wilderness preservation and the New Agrarian movement. Idealizing a distant wilderness too often means overlooking the ecological and socio-economic environment where people live. Middle landscapes between nature and culture, or between wilderness and cities, can either increase or reduce ecological and social functioning within the landscape matrix. Managing middle landscapes by agrarian principles helps move both nature and culture towards ecological, economic, and social sustainability. This thesis ends with a discussion of agrarian themes, such as supporting decentralized local economies and increasing community connectivity, applied in urban, rural, and wilderness landscapes.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Leonard, Evan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluating Tree Seedling Survival and Growth in a Bottomland Old-field Site: Implications for Ecological Restoration

Description: In order to assess the enhancement of seedling survival and growth during drought conditions, five-hundred bare-root seedlings each of Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii Buckl.) and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.) were planted each with four soil amendments at a Wildlife Management Area in Lewisville, Texas. The treatments were a mycorrhizal inoculant, mulch fabric, and two superabsorbent gels (TerraSorb® and DRiWATER®). Survival and growth measurements were assessed periodically for two years. Research was conducted on vegetation, soil, and site history for baseline data. Both superabsorbent gels gave significant results for Shumard oak survival, and one increased green ash diameter. For overall growth, significant results were found among DRiWATER®, mycorrhizae, and mulch treatments.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Boe, Brian Jeffrey
Partner: UNT Libraries

Urban Sustainability and the Extinction of Experience: Acknowledging Drivers of Biocultural Loss for Socio-ecological Well-being

Description: In this dissertation I address urban sustainability with a focus on loss of cultural heritage and ecological knowledge by expanding the concept “extinction of experience” (EoE). Conceptualized by conservationist Robert Michael Pyle, EoE is the loss of nature experiences leading to apathy towards biodiversity and degradation of the common habitat. I expand upon Pyle’s formulation of the concept by considering the EoE cycle as an indirect driver that amplifies biodiversity losses. Additionally, I introduce the analysis of interrelated losses of biological and cultural diversity in relation to EoE. With a biocultural approach I discuss that EoE is tied to the infrastructural inertia within the global urban economy. I propose that addressing the EoE cycle is critical in that as a complex and multi-faceted process, it cements threats to biological and cultural diversity as permanent fixtures within society by obscuring their significance in light of economic development. This cycle remains a hidden problematic in that it perpetuates the environmental crisis while making such losses invisible within day-to-day lifestyle habits, constructing an emerging urban culture within the global economy that is ignorant of ecological processes and sustainability requirements. I frame the implications of EoE with an analysis of the newly proposed revisions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals voted on in September 2015 to prioritize local ecological knowledge and biocultural heritage.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Poole, Alexandria K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Poststructuralist Critical Rhetorical Analysis as a Problem Analysis Tool: A Case Study of Information Impact in Denton’s Hydraulic Fracturing Debate

Description: Energy and the natural environment are central concerns among stakeholders across the globe. Decisions on this scale often require interaction among a myriad of institutions and individuals who navigate a complex variety of challenges. In Denton, Texas in 2014, voters were asked to make such a decision when tasked with a referendum to determine whether the city would continue to allow hydraulic fracturing activity within its borders. For social scientists, this situation requires further analysis in an effort to better understand how and why individuals make the decisions they do. One possible approach for exploring this process is a method of poststructuralist critical rhetorical analysis, which is concerned with how individuals’ identities change through interaction with institutions. This study reflects upon the texts themselves through a poststructuralist critical rhetorical analysis of images employed by those in favor of and those against Denton’s ban on hydraulic fracturing in an attempt to identify images that alter the grid of intelligibility for the audience. The paper includes deliberation about the relative merits, subsequent disadvantages, and possible questions for further study as they relate to the theoretical implications of critical rhetorical analysis as information science. Ultimately, the study identifies poststructuralist critical rhetorical analysis as a method for solving information science problems in a way that considers closely the way identity is shaped through engagement with institutions.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Sykes, Jason
Partner: UNT Libraries

Negotiated Living: An Ethno-Historical Perspective of Punta Allen

Description: Situated within the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Tulum and within the Sian Ka'an Biosphere gives the village of Punta Allen a distinctive agency in determining their role in the on-going development of tourism in the region that is not given to other communities in the state. This unique circumstance facilitates a dialogue between the reserve, the municipality, and the business cooperatives of Punta Allen that produce a negotiated living. Through the negotiations with the reserve and Tulum, the lobster fishing and tourism cooperatives are given the opportunity to have a relatively significant role in determining the future of Punta Allen in regards to tourism.
Date: December 2016
Creator: McRae, David Thomas
Partner: UNT Libraries

Trans-boundary river basins: a discourse on water scarcity, conflict, and water resource management.

Description: This thesis is an inquiry regarding the interconnections between water scarcity, geopolitics, resource management, and the strategies for developing effective ways to resolve conflict and encourage sustainable water resource use in developing countries. The ecological services of trans-boundary rivers are explored in conjunction with the potential impacts to freshwater availability due to economic modernization, water resource development, and decision making regimes that determine how water is allocated among competing users. Anthropogenic stressors that induce water scarcity and the geopolitical mechanisms of conflict are studied. A discourse on the creation and functional extent of global and localized water ethics is investigated, emphasizing the importance of perceptual dispositions of water users in understanding the value of trans-boundary river basins.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Riley, Timothy
Partner: UNT Libraries

Situating Cost-Benefit Analysis for Environmental Justice

Description: Cost-benefit analysis plays a significant role in the process of siting hazardous waste facilities throughout the United States. Controversy regarding definitively disparate, albeit unintentional, racist practices in reaching these siting decisions abounds, yet cost-benefit analysis stands incapable of commenting on normative topics. This thesis traces the developments of both cost-benefit analysis and its normative cousin utilitarianism by focusing on the impacts they have had on the contemporary environmental justice discourse and highlighting valid claims, misunderstandings, and sedimented ideas surrounding the popularity of cost-benefit analysis. This analysis ultimately leads to an alternative means of realizing environmental justice that both acknowledges the need for greater democratic interactions and attempts to work with, rather than against, the prevailing paradigm of reaching siting decisions.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Wohlmuth, Erik Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wilderness and Everyday Life.

Description: I challenge the dualistic view of wilderness that has influenced wilderness philosophy, politics and experience in recent years. In its place, I offer an alternative vision that recognizes wilderness areas and working landscapes as complementary elements of a larger, inhabited landscape characterized by a heterogeneous mixture of human-land relational patterns representing various points along an urban-wilderness continuum. In chapters 2 through 4, I explore the philosophical, political and experiential implications of this wilderness-in-context vision. Experienced and understood as part of the landscape we call home, wilderness may engender, renew, and sustain an engaged and integrated wilderness practice involving regular contact with wilderness places, committed activism on behalf of wild lands and their inhabitants, and grounded reflection on the meaning and value of wilderness in our everyday lives.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Friskics, Scott
Partner: UNT Libraries

Campania In-Felix (Unhappy Country)

Description: This documentary film explores the damages produced by the illegal dumping of toxic waste in the environment and the rise in health concerns specific to the Campania region in Southern Italy. The management of waste material in the region is in the hands of the Camorra - a mafia organization with vast economic and political power. Through the narration of personal stories, the documentary reveals the broken emotional and cultural balance between the people from the region and their land.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Corsale, Ivana
Partner: UNT Libraries

Toward a philosophy of water: Politics of the pollution and damming along the Ganges River.

Description: This thesis sets out to develop a beginning of a philosophy of water by considering philosophical implications of ecological crises currently happening along the waters of the Ganges River. In my first chapter, I give a historical account of a philosophy of water. In my second chapter, I describe various natural and cultural representations of the Ganges, accounting for physical features of the river, Hindu myths and rituals involving the river, and ecological crises characterized by the pollution and damming of the river. In my third and final chapter, I look into the philosophical implications of these crises in terms of the works of the contemporary philosopher Bruno Latour.
Date: May 2007
Creator: McAnally, Elizabeth Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Deliberative Democracy, Divided Societies, and the Case of Appalachia

Description: Theories of deliberative democracy, which emphasize open-mindedness and cooperative dialogue, confront serious challenges in deeply divided political populations constituted by polarized citizens unwilling to work together on issues they collectively face. The case of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia makes this clear. In my thesis, I argue that such empirical challenges are serious, yet do not compromise the normative desirability of deliberative democracy because communicative mechanisms can help transform adversarial perspectives into workable, deliberative ones. To realize this potential in divided societies, mechanisms must focus on healing and reconciliation, a point under-theorized by deliberativists who do not take seriously enough the feminist critique of public-private dualisms that illuminates political dimensions of such embodied processes. Ultimately, only a distinctly two-stage process of public deliberation in divided populations, beginning with mechanisms for healing and trust building, will give rise to the self-transformation necessary for second-stage deliberation aimed at collectively binding decisions.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Tidrick, Charlee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Burn and Sow: The Ethical Implications of Ecological Restoration

Description: Ecological restoration is quickly becoming a major approach to how humans interact with the natural world. Some view restoration as another land management technique on par with conservation and preservation. Others view it as a way to make reparations for our misdeeds and to reincorporate humans into the natural world. Ideas regarding restoration from key academics and restorationists are evaluated here. Their views have set the stage for the contemporary paradigm. Values that may be attributed to restoration and received from it are evaluated. I discuss my own reservations regarding potential problems with the product and practice of restoration. What is at stake regarding the involvement of people in restoration is examined, focusing on the different impacts volunteers and paid workers have on the value of the practice and outcome of the product.
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Date: August 2005
Creator: Mauritz, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Environmental is Political: Exploring the Geography of Environmental Justice

Description: The dissertation is a philosophical approach to politicizing place and space, or environments broadly construed, that is motivated by three questions. How can geography be employed to analyze the spatialities of environmental justice? How do spatial concepts inform understandings of environmentalism? And, how can geography help overcome social/political philosophy's redistribution-recognition debate in a way that accounts for the multiscalar dimensions of environmental justice? Accordingly, the dissertation's objective is threefold. First, I develop a critical geography framework that explores the spatialities of environmental injustices as they pertain to economic marginalization across spaces of inequitable distribution, cultural subordination in places of misrecognition, and political exclusion from public places of deliberation and policy. Place and space are relationally constituted by intricate networks of social relations, cultural practices, socioecological flows, and political-economic processes, and I contend that urban and natural environments are best represented as "places-in-space." Second, I argue that spatial frameworks and environmental discourses interlock because conceptualizations of place and space affect how environments are perceived, serve as framing devices to identify environmental issues, and entail different solutions to problems. In the midst of demonstrating how the racialization of place upholds inequitable distributions of pollution burdens, I introduce notions of "social location" and "white privilege" to account for the conflicting agendas of the mainstream environmental movement and the environmental justice movement, and consequent accusations of discriminatory environmentalism. Third, I outline a bivalent environmental justice theory that deals with the spatialities of environmental injustices. The theory synergizes distributive justice and the politics of social equality with recognition justice and the politics of identity and difference, therefore connecting cultural issues to a broader materialist analysis concerned with economic issues that extend across space. In doing so, I provide a justice framework that assesses critically the particularities of place and concurrently identifies commonalities to diverse social ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Mysak, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wilderness Women: Embodiment in Nature

Description: Virginia Woolf makes clear in her book A Room of One's Own that "[A] woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write…." This statement extends to all endeavors by women, including sport. The gap between men and women's sports is not bridged by monetary compensation. The domination of women exists in conceptual ideals and how those are expressed through our roles in this world. I use Val Plumwood's ecological feminist theory to expose the blatant masculinity imposed upon sport. I shall argue that sport is an arena of constant struggle over basic social conceptions of men and women. My endeavor is to implore traditionally masculine territory, and show sport as the domain of no single gender, but a field of simplicity and cooperation.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Cordell, Tami
Partner: UNT Libraries

Environmental Imagination: the Constitution and Projection of a Sustainable Ethos

Description: This dissertation provides a theoretical analysis and examination of the role of imagination in the formation of an environmental ethos. The majority of ethical theories in environmental thought largely neglect the role that imagination plays in both the relationships that humans form with their environment, and the subsequent role that imagination plays in constituting the way that those relationships are understood ethically. To explore the role of imagination in constituting and subsequently projecting such an ethical way of being, this dissertation selectively analyzes the history of imagination in philosophy, cognitive science, and environmental thought. In addition, this dissertation also explores the role that images play in forming collective responses to environmental disasters, and the further role that imagination plays in overcoming the moral motivation gap.
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Day, Philip Garrett
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Modeling the Role of Boundary Spanners-in-Practice in the Nondeterministic Model of Engineering Design Activity

Description: Boundary spanners-in-practice are individuals who inhabit more than one social world and bring overlapping place perspectives to bear on the function(s) performed within and across each world. Different from nominated boundary spanners, they are practitioners responsible for the 'translation' of each small world's perspectives thereby increasing collaboration effectiveness to permit the small worlds to work synergistically. The literature on Knowledge Management (KM) has emphasized the organizational importance of individuals performing boundary spanning roles by resolving cross-cultural and cross-organizational knowledge system conflicts helping teams pursue common goals through creation of "joint fields" - a third dimension that is co-jointly developed between the two fields or dimensions that the boundary spanner works to bridge. The Copeland and O'Connor Nondeterministic Model of Engineering Design Activity was utilized as the foundation to develop models of communication mechanics and dynamics when multiple simultaneous interactions of the single nondeterministic user model, the BSIP and two Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), engage during design activity in the Problem-Solving Space. The Problem-Solving Space defines the path through the volumes of plausible answers or 'solution spaces' that will satisfice the problem presented to the BSIP and SMEs. Further model refinement was performed to represent expertise seeking behaviors and the physical and mental models constructed by boundary spanners-in-practice during knowledge domain mapping. This was performed by mapping the three levels of communication complexity (transfer, translation and transformation) to each knowledge boundary (syntactic, semantic and pragmatic) that must be bridged during knowledge domain mapping.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Linkins, Kathy L
Partner: UNT Libraries

Strange Matter, Strange Objects: An Ontological Reorientation of the Philosophical Concept of Wonder

Description: Wonder has had a rich and diverse history in the western philosophical tradition. Both Plato and Aristotle claim that philosophy begins in wonder, while Descartes marks it as the first of the passions and Heidegger uses it as a signpost for a new trajectory of philosophy away from idealism and nihilism. Despite such a rich history, wonder is almost always thought to be exhausted by the acquisition of knowledge. That is, wonder is thought of almost exclusively in epistemological terms and is discarded as soon as knowledge has been achieved. In this dissertation, I argue for an ontological reorientation of wonder that values wonder beyond its epistemic uses. To do this, I read the phenomenological and ontological work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty through recent developments in object-oriented ontology and new materialism. Much of Merleau-Ponty's work is directed toward dissolving the distinction between subject and object. His insights regarding the mutual constitution of the world lead to the possibility of an operative wonder that occurs between subject and object. Both object-oriented ontology and new materialism radicalize these insights by articulating them in terms of a vibrant or quasi-agential material world. Objects and assemblages of objects are capable of performing the becoming of the world that includes human activity, but is not reduced to it. As such, the world is capable of both self-organization and practice. Ultimately I use the philosophy-physics of Karen Barad to argue that operative wonder acts like a kind of superposition of relations between objects, and thereby accounts for a concept of wonder that is both ontologically significant and acutely generative.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Onishi, Brian Hisao
Partner: UNT Libraries

Conversational Use of Photographic Images on Facebook: Modeling Visual Thinking on Social Media

Description: Modeling the "thick description" of photographs began at the intersection of personal and institutional descriptions. Comparing institutional descriptions of particular photos that were also used in personal online conversations was the initial phase. Analyzing conversations that started with a photographic image from the collection of the Library of Congress (LC) or the collection of the Manchester Historic Association (MHA) provided insights into how cultural heritage institutions could enrich the description of photographs by using informal descriptions such as those applied by Facebook users. Taking photos of family members, friends, places, and interesting objects is something people do often in their daily lives. Some photographic images are stored, and some are shared with others in gatherings, occasions, and holidays. Face-to-face conversations about remembering some of the details of photographs and the event they record are themselves rarely recorded. Digital cameras make it easy to share personal photos in Web conversations and to duplicate old photos and share them on the Internet. The World Wide Web even makes it simple to insert images from cultural heritage institutions in order to enhance conversations. Images have been used as tokens within conversations along with the sharing of information and background knowledge about them. The recorded knowledge from conversations using photographic images on Social Media (SM) has resulted in a repository of rich descriptions of photographs that often include information of a type that does not result from standard archival practices. Closed group conversations on Facebook among members of a community of interest/practice often involve the use of photographs to start conversations, convey details, and initiate story-telling about objets, events, and people. Modeling of the conversational use of photographic images on SM developed from the exploratory analyses of the historical photographic images of the Manchester, NH group on Facebook. The model was influenced by the ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Albannai, Talal N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ranges of consideration: crossing the fields of ecology, philosophy and science studies.

Description: Environmental issues are often complex with many different constituents operating according to a broad range of communication techniques. In order to foster negotiations, different perspectives need to be articulated in lucid ways sensitive to various viewpoints and circumstances. In my thesis I investigate how certain approaches to environmental discourse effect dialogue and negotiation. My first two chapters focus on environmental problems surrounding rangeland ecology along the U.S./Mexico border; whereas the last two chapters explore more theoretical conflicts concerning the philosophy of nature. Throughout the thesis I show the significance of nonhumans (prairie dogs, cattle, biological assessment sheets, environmental laws, etc.) in the human community. Only by considering the roles of nonhumans do we broaden and enrich the conversation between ourselves concerning environmental issues.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Dinneen, Nathan
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Corridors in Conservation and Philosophy

Description: My thesis focuses on philosophical themes implicit in corridor conservation, using the Big Thicket National Preserve as an example. The way in which corridors, boundaries and communities are ambiguous, as both limits and connections, is dealt with. Corridor-patch matrices assemble ecological and human groups into temporary communities, often with conflicting interests. Such constellations foreground how a foreigner's boundary crossing is a notion important to both conservation and a philosophical study of being, seen as being always in relation with otherness. In this context, the notion of foreignness and Jean-Luc Nancy's idea of being-with is explored. Understanding the complex network of relations in which an entity exists leads to an awareness of its ambiguous nature. To facilitate judgment with such ambiguity, one needs a contextual understanding of a situation.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Benton, Christine S.
Partner: UNT Libraries