• National Narratives and Global Politics: Immigrant and Second-Generation Iranians in the United States and Germany

      Byng, Michelle; Grasmuck, Sherri; Espinal, Rosario (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      This dissertation project examines the lived experiences of immigrant and second- generation Iranian immigrants to uncover the factors that shape their perceptions of belonging in two differ western nations. It is a qualitative methods study that utilized in-depth interviews. I address the limitations of past research by highlighting that Iranians' experiences of belonging and membership in western nations are greatly influenced by the national narratives of their host societies and the global politics surrounding Iran. My central research questions are: How do America's and Germany's national narratives of immigration influence Iranians' sense of belonging? and How do Iranians perceive the global politics surrounding Iran as impacting their lives in the West? Research on Iranians in the United States and Europe underscores Iranians' proclivity to become entrepreneurs in their new nation, the lack of solidarity and community among Iranians, and the discrimination that they experience due to their ethnic and religious identities. However, we lack comparative scholarship that examines Iranian immigrants' experiences in two nations where the national narratives are different. Moreover, there is an absence of research that addresses whether, and how, global politics influence perceptions of belonging. The three empirical chapters examine the data from sixty-four in-depth interviews with immigrant and second-generation Iranians living in northern and southern California, and Hamburg, Germany. In the first interview data chapter, I examine the motivations of Iranians' migration to the US and Germany, their settlement experiences, and their expectations of their lives in their new nation. Specifically in this chapter, I reveal that the lack of foreign policy considerations for post-Revolution Iranian exiles in the US and the institutionalized nature of refugee policy, and lack of it, in each nation helps explain the varying settlement experiences of immigrant-generation Iranians in the US and Germany. It is noteworthy that these experiences also helped shape Iranians' understanding of each nation's main values and characteristics. In the second empirical chapter, I show that national narratives of immigration are important in shaping Iranian immigrants' understandings, expectations, and experiences of belonging and membership in the US and Germany. These narratives inform their interpretations of not just the prospects of belonging, but the indications of whether they have accomplished it. In the last data chapter, I explore how Iran's global political standing influences the lives of Iranian immigrants living in the US and Germany. In both the US and Germany, the dominant negative discourse surrounding a highly politicized homeland stigmatizes Iranians' identities, and makes them more subject to experiences of marginality and discrimination. Specifically, in the US, global politics puts a cap on Iranians' quality of middle class experiences, and facilitates the construction of social marginality and discrimination against them. In Germany, it helps solidify a boundary that is already there. Ultimately, this dissertation research uncovers three important aspects in regards to perceptions of belonging among Iranians in the US and Germany: First, a comparison of Iranian immigrant experiences in two western nations where the narratives of belonging are considerably different demonstrated that the national narratives of an immigrants' host society greatly shape and mediate perceptions and experiences of belonging and membership. Specifically in the US, Iranians perceive belonging when they can obtain opportunities for social mobility, when their ancestry is not marked or stigmatized, and when they can place themselves in the `nation of immigrants' narrative. In Germany, Iranians perceive that they can come close to belonging once they are perceived as having culturally accommodated to German society, can access greater opportunity structures, and are perceived and accepted as `good foreigners and immigrants'. Second, an examination of how global politics surrounding Iran impact Iranians' lives in western nations revealed that their identities are stigmatized; they encounter marginality and exclusion, and ultimately feel that they do not belong or have full membership in the US and Germany. Interestingly, Iranians in both nations hypothesized that an improved Iranian standing would help facilitate belonging and membership. What is more, their perceptions of how their lives would change, and how belonging would take shape, if they did not live with the stigmas created by Iran's global politics, were inextricably linked to the national narratives of their host societies. Third, there were significant generational differences in how the second-generation in each nation assessed belonging. In the US, the second-generations' ability to access the educational resources needed for professional careers, despite their perceptions of the existence of anti-Iranian prejudice, legitimized both the US national narrative and proved to them that they can secure a good quality of life and be a part of US society. In Germany, the second generation experienced generational lag with regard to belonging. Their ability to belong is not resolved by length of residence, German citizenship, German educational attainments, or their adherence German cultural norms and practices. Rather, second generation believed that being marked as foreigners was perpetual, and not an identity that one loses after a few generations. Ultimately, among the US second-generation US sample there were more significant/powerful declarations of the ability to acquire social mobility and belonging, while those in Germany experienced a more generalized feeling of not belonging. This research contributes to ongoing conversations regarding immigrant belonging and membership. It adds the comparative dimension of belonging and membership by examining evaluations of belonging in two western nations where the national narratives are different. Furthermore, it takes into account how the contentious and antagonistic political relationship between Iran and western nations has impacted Iranians' lived experiences, and ability to belong, in the US and Germany. Ultimately, the inclusion of national narratives and global politics contributes to our understanding of the sociological processes that facilitate, and disrupt, experiences of immigrant belonging and membership in their host society, and provides us with a deeper understanding of the layered and complex dynamics that shape immigrant experiences.

      Kaplan, Avi; Schifter, Catherine; Hattikudur, Shanta; Smith, Michael W. (Michael William), 1954-; Goldblatt, Eli (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      By many accounts, developmental writing courses in community colleges are failing to teach students the requisite skills needed to be successful in college-level coursework. In the current dissertation, I have adopted an identity-based approach to examining and intervening in students’ experiences and engagement in the developmental writing course. The PRESS model of promoting identity exploration assigns educators the role of “identity agents” who design activities that encourage students to reflect on the academic content and make connections between the academic content and the self, question identity aspects, and explore alternative identity commitments. I modified activities in my developmental writing course based on the PRESS model and investigated the identity exploration, motivation, engagement, and learning of students in the course, which I studied with the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity (DSMRI). The study took place in a mid-sized community college in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. There were 15 racially mixed participating students. Design of the course activities aimed to promote the students’ identity exploration (IdEx activities) through facilitating reflection, questioning, information gathering and processing, understanding, and development of their identities as writers, and as college students. Cross-case comparisons of six narratives of participating students selected to reflect diversity of students’ characteristics and experiences highlighted the unique role identities, identity exploration, and motivation for each student, as well as their varied dynamics depending on class activities and time period within the semester. The findings also suggested that students’ role identities could be characterized along a dimension of “sophistication”—richer content with higher alignment vs. thinner content with more fragmentation. In addition, the findings indicated that despite variability, students’ engagement with the activities involved identity exploration and development in many cases. This finding illustrates the potential of identity-based pedagogy to promote desirable identity change, motivation, and learning in community college courses, and specifically in developmental writing courses. The study has implications for theory, research, practice, and professional development in community college developmental writing courses.

      Asante, Molefi Kete, 1942-; Talton, Benjamin (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      'Post-colonial Dislocation and Amnesia: A Cure from Molefi Kete Asante's An Afrocentric Manifesto' aims at investigating the epistemological problems and theoretical inconsistencies in contemporary post-colonial studies. Capitalizing Molefi Kete Asante's theorizations on agency, location, identity, and history this project applies an Afrocentric approach in its reading of the post-colonial authors and theorists. While current postcolonial theory seems to be at stake with operationalizing many of its terms and concepts, the application of Afrocentric methods can help answering severe allegations raised by a number of critics against this discourse. Issues concerning spatial and temporal location of the term post-colonial, commodity status of post-colonialism, and crises in the post-colonial pedagogy can be addressed from an Afrocentric perspective based on a new historiography. To support the proposed arguments, the paper provides an extensive reading of two post-colonial writers from the Caribbean, and shows how they manipulate their apparent power in perpetuating the misrepresentations of the colonized people initiated by the colonial discourses. With a detailed discussion of the principles of Afrocentricity based on Asante's ground-breaking book An Afrocentric Manifesto, the paper proposes possible ways in which Afrocentric theory could be applied in addressing such misrepresentations and developing a true sense of identity for the oppressed people.
    • Promoting Preservice Teachers' Mathematics Identity Exploration

      Newton, Kristie Jones, 1973-; Kaplan, Avi; Ding, Meixia; Lombardi, Doug, 1965- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Despite the effort of teacher education programs, early childhood, and elementary preservice teachers often fear mathematics, have high mathematics anxiety, hold negative self-perceptions in relation to mathematics, find mathematics irrelevant, and have low mathematics achievement. The aim of this study was to implement and investigate the influence of an identity exploration intervention on preservice teachers’ identities in mathematics during a required mathematics content course of a teacher education program to provide insight into the patterns of change in identity and motivation towards mathematics. Twenty-four preservice teachers focusing on either early childhood education or non-mathematics secondary education were included in this study from a college algebra course specifically designed for education majors. Data collection included surveys, identity-related worksheets, identity exploration tasks, reflective writing assignments, interviews, and observations. Data was analyzed using the Dynamics Systems Model of Role-Identity and the principles for promoting identity exploration (Kaplan, 2014). This model highlights the interaction between self-perceptions, beliefs, purposes and goals, and actions. Analysis led to identification of patterns of change in student role identities and themes across cases that highlight the differences in change between the early childhood participants and secondary education participants, the influence of initial identity, and the impact of perceived relevance on identity exploration. This study contributes to the understanding of identity exploration in a mathematical setting and discusses future directions of research in promotion of identity exploration in preservice teachers.
    • Radiohead and Identity: A Moon Shaped Pool and the Process of Identity Construction

      Klein, Michael Leslie; Manabe, Noriko, 1960-; Latham, Edward David; Vila, Pablo, 1952- (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      This dissertation synthesizes critical theories of identity with music theoretical analysis to explore how listeners use popular music as a means of identity construction. Focusing on Radiohead’s 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool, the dissertation investigates the various sociological and musical frameworks that illuminate how the songs interact with listener expectations in the process of interpretation. Work on popular music and personal expression is already present in sociology, anthropology, musicology, and other disciplines, though that work rarely engages the close readings of musical processes that I employ in the dissertation. Richard Middleton (Studying Popular Music) and Tia DeNora (Music in Everyday Life), for example, apply a wide variety of methodologies toward identifying the complexities of identity and popular music. For the dissertation, though, I focus primarily on how Judith Butler’s conception of interpellation in Giving an Account of Oneself can be used as a model for how musical conventions and listener expectations impact the types of identity positions available to listeners. For Butler, interpellation refers to how frameworks of social norms force subjects to adhere to specific identity positions. This dissertation will explore both the social and musical conventions that allow for nuanced and critical interpretations of popular songs. Although many theorists have probed Radiohead’s music, this dissertation synthesizes robust analytical approaches with hermeneutics in order to explore how Radiohead’s music signifies, both in the context of their acoustic components and with regard to how this music impacts the construction of listener identities. Radiohead’s music is apt for these analyses because it often straddles the line between convention and surprise, opening several avenues for critical and musical scrutiny. I also argue that listeners interact with this music as if the songs are agents themselves––they have powerful emotional and physical effects on us.

      Childs, Marshall; Schaefer, Kenneth G.; Beglar, David J.; Zimmerman, Suzi; Bostwick, Michael (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      Eight families with Japanese mothers and English-speaking fathers were followed from the 1990s to 2007 as they strove to raise their children as bilinguals. The issues that were investigated were: (1) the language environments afforded; (2) factors influencing family decisions in creating those language environments; and, (3) conclusions about the efficacy of different language environments for raising bilingual children. Parental sacrifice was evident. Some mothers suppressed their native Japanese language and culture as they tried to afford their children solid backgrounds in what they considered a high-prestige language (English), while some fathers changed jobs in order to spend more time at home. Some families also moved in order to be near desirable schools. An optimal English environment at home was the key to success. Fathers spent quality time with their children every day, reading English books, doing homework together, talking about school activities, and reading bedtime stories. Families provided children with many English videos, DVDs, and other audiovisual sources. Summer travel to the father's country for summer camps and other enjoyable activities, especially spending time with English-speaking cousins, promoted positive images of English language and culture. Mothers faced issues of identity, power relations, and gender roles. The mothers' own experiences of learning English played a crucial role in the choices they made in raising their children as bilinguals. Typically, power relations between husbands and wives were determined by the wives' self-perception of being subordinate to their husbands. The results indicated that different theories of bilingual child-raising, no matter how stringently followed, did not seem to matter; what mattered was balancing the time the child spent with each parent. Usually before parents expected it, the child's own identity asserted itself in the pursuit of particular language environments, and progress toward fluency was sometimes erratic, as in the case of one boy whose development in both languages appeared to be delayed but who later was viewed as having native-speaker proficiency in both languages. Overall, more important than any particular method or theory, sustained sincere efforts and flexibility can produce bilingual children.

      Simon, Bryant; Berman, Lila Corwin, 1976- (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      This paper explores the development of authentic place through the story of Philadelphia's South Ninth Street Market butchers, and how they consciously highlighted their Italian immigrant heritage to respond to the changing postwar environment. Excellent sociological and historical studies of authenticity as a marketing tool have been written in the past decade, but have primarily focused on city development, corporate business models, and the consumer's search for authenticity. In this thesis, the main players are small businessmen - local butcher shop owners - and we look at their use of the history and heritage of their shops and neighborhood to strengthen their businesses and preserve their curb market. Between 1945 and 1975 these men transformed their businesses from routine neighborhood butcher shops into embodiments of a culinary community heritage. Focusing on these butcher shops illuminates the role that taste and food - and in this case, particularly meat - plays in linking the present with the past. Looking at newspaper articles featuring detailed descriptions and interviews of the mid-century market, and from the physical presence of the shops, this paper asks, what has changed? How did the market go from a grimy, everyday curb market to a tourist destination in just a few decades? And how have the butchers turn themselves into the historic heart of South Philadelphia? By answering these questions, we will be able to understand how the market's butchers championed their own authenticity and in doing so, remade the identity of the market.
    • Relevance in the Science Classroom: A Multidimensional Analysis

      Kaplan, Avi; Byrnes, James P.; Schifter, Catherine; Newton, Kristie Jones, 1973-; Lombardi, Doug, 1965- (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      While perceived relevance is considered a fundamental component of adaptive learning, the experience of relevance and its conceptual definition have not been well described. The mixed-methods research presented in this dissertation aimed to clarify the conceptual meaning of relevance by focusing on its phenomenological experience from the students' perspective. Following a critical literature review, I propose an identity-based model of perceived relevance that includes three components: a contextual target, an identity target, and a connection type, or lens. An empirical investigation of this model that consisted of two general phases was implemented in four 9th grade-biology classrooms. Participants in Phase 1 (N = 118) completed a series of four open-ended writing activities focused on eliciting perceived personal connections to academic content. Exploratory qualitative content analysis of a 25% random sample of the student responses was used to identify the main meaning-units of the proposed model as well as different dimensions of student relevance perceptions. These meaning-units and dimensions provided the basis for the construction of a conceptual mapping sentence capturing students' perceived relevance, which was then applied in a confirmatory analysis to all other student responses. Participants in Phase 2 (N = 139) completed a closed survey designed based on the mapping sentence to assess their perceived relevance of a biology unit. The survey also included scales assessing other domain-level motivational processes. Exploratory factor analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling indicated a coherent conceptual structure, which included a primary interpretive relevance dimension. Comparison of the conceptual structure across various groups (randomly-split sample, gender, academic level, domain-general motivational profiles) provided support for its ubiquity and insight into variation in the experience of perceived relevance among students of different groups. The findings combine to support a multidimensional perspective of relevance in the 9th grade biology classroom; offering researchers a useful model for future investigation and educators with insights into the students' classroom experience.

      Pollack, Mark A., 1966-; Fioretos, Karl Orfeo, 1966-; Guisinger, Alexandra; Búzás, Zoltán I. (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      This project examines the relationship between the international system and the lived experience of peoples. This dissertation is aimed at understanding the ways in which recognition at the international level can shape not only the way people choose to behave, but also the way they conceive of their own identities. It introduces theorizing on the concepts of identity, habitus, and hysteresis to the field of international relations (IR) in an attempt to better understand often overlooked conflicts created by the international state system. In doing so, it includes an exploration of the role that recognition plays in creating idealized identities for everyone in the state system and the resulting conflicts that arise when individuals possess group identities that do not align with the state-based identities that the international system and its structures are premised upon. Through a return to studying the first image in the IR literature I explore the ways in which varying forms of recognition in international institutions (states, collections of law, and IO positions, agreements, and membership rules) impact the way different groups of people view themselves within the larger global order, and how that in turn alters the way they behave politically over time. I argue that misrecognition of the identities of individuals and collectives of individuals by international institutions and actors threatens their habitus, potentially resulting in shifts in their political behavior dependent upon the cohesion of the collective’s sense of self and the support they have from other members of the international community.

      Kaplan, Avi; Farley, Frank; Fiorello, Catherine A. (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      Recent research supports the benefit of students’ construction of relevance through writing about the connection of content to their life. However, most such research defines relevance narrowly as utility value – perceived instrumentality of the content to the student’s career goals. Furthermore, the scope of phenomenological and conceptual dimensions that characterizes students’ perceptions of relevance remains largely unexplored in the literature. Rather, scholars have equated relevance with specific constructs such as utility, value or interest, which in turn has yielded a narrow conceptualization of relevance, usually constrained to a single construct, most commonly, utility. Whereas prior research certainly provides important insights into some of the features of relevance, it falls short of portraying the full scope of meanings that perceived relevance might take. To address this gap in the literature, this mixed-methods dissertation study explored the conceptual and phenomenological landscape of perceived relevance by employing a broad multidimensional conception of relevance to examine (a) the dimensional variability of students’ relevance constructions; and (b) the individual characteristics and the motivational and identity processes underlying differences in their constructions of relevance. The context of this study was an Institute of Educational Science (IES)-funded semester-long multi-modal intervention project that aimed to promote learning, motivation and achievement in an undergraduate introductory biology course. One module within the intervention involved students’ engagement in four relevance writing assignments, each focusing on a central biology concept in the course. The following dissertation employed data collected as part of this intervention project. This study involved coding and analyzing students’ relevance writing about two biology concepts—evolution (n = 50) and organismic diversity (n = 38)—with the purpose of characterizing dimensions underlying undergraduate students’ relevance constructions of central biology concepts and comparing these constructions across the two different biology concepts. Exploratory qualitative analysis procedures were used in the first phase of this investigation to develop an initial coding framework via intensive content analyses of students’ relevance writing products on evolution. A second phase of qualitative content analyses of students’ relevance writing about organismic diversity led to further development of the coding framework and comparative analyses of written products across the two concepts. Findings supported the dimensional variability of relevance constructions including the self-aspect connected to the content, the kind of connection made, and the type of perceived value, with some notable differences between the two biology concepts. Finally, the findings suggested that the meaningful connection engendered by the relevance construction experience originates primarily in the experience of understanding one’s self within the relation—understanding the self in relation to the relevant content; and that understanding some content in relation to a component of one’s identity may be secondary to the disclosure of the self. This dissertation explored the ways in which the relevance construction experience is a vital, dynamic process of identity formation. It is the findings from these intensive analyses that are reported in detail in this dissertation along with an in-depth discussion of the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of this content-specific, multidimensional, identity-based conception of relevance.
    • Somewhere "In Between": Languages and Identities of Three Japanese International School Students

      Atkinson, Dwight; Casanave, Christine Pearson, 1944-; Bostwick, Michael; Schaefer, Kenneth G.; Beglar, David J. (Temple University. Libraries, 2009)
      This study is a situated qualitative investigation of the multiple languages and identities of three Japanese international school students in Japan. These students had no foreign heritage or experience living outside Japan, but had been educated completely in English-medium international schools since kindergarten. In effect, they had been socialized into another culture and language without leaving Japan--a relatively monolingual and monocultural country. The participants' complex linguistic situations and identities were investigated using narrative inquiry over a period of 19 months. Their narratives, gathered primarily by interviews, were supplemented by observations, interviews of those close to them, and other data sources. Using postmodernist-influenced concepts as analytical lenses, I was able to bring to light the students' complex views on language and identity emerging from their unique linguistic and cultural experiences. The students in this study revealed that one does not necessarily belong to a single dominant culture or have a single "first language." These students felt most comfortable with their multiple cultures and languages in a 'third space' (Bhabha, 1994), and they actively took part in creating their own hybrid cultures, languages, and identities. The students' hybrid languages and identities were nurtured and secure within the international school community. However, once outside this community, the students realized the complexities within themselves, requiring that they learn to negotiate their identities, as identity crucially involves location and relationships with others. When they were able to visualize their futures as bilingual/bicultural individuals, their identities became somewhat clearer and less contested. At that point, they felt that their linguistic and cultural hybridity was not entirely an obstacle, but something that they could also use to their advantage. It was when they had to make either-or choices between cultures, languages, and identities that they felt troubled or deficient. Through their narratives, the participants revealed the extent to which static categories and monolithic notions of language and culture were imposed upon them, and how these affected their understanding and perceptions of themselves. In conclusion, I interrogate such static views and urge researchers, educators, and bilingual/bicultural individuals to view languages and identities in more complex ways.
    • Teachers' Work in Trying Times: Policy, Practice, and Professional Identity

      Cucchiara, Maia Bloomfield; Horvat, Erin McNamara, 1964-; Brooks, Wanda M., 1969-; Brandt, Carol B.; Jordan, Will J. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This study examined organizational routines and teachers' experiences in two urban public elementary schools. The study advances the scholarship on teachers' work through a nuanced examination of instructional routines in order to illuminate teachers' experiences with accountability based-reforms. Using neoinstitutional theory, this study employed ethnographic methods to examine instructional routines in two schools of varying AYP-status: one high-performing school and one low-performing school. Observations and interviews were conducted with a total of 17 teachers over the course of two school years. Findings indicated that routines were a recoupling mechanism, used to more closely align teachers' tasks with the goals of accountability policy. The implementation and performance of routines was both similar and distinct between the two schools. There were distinct differences in the intensity and the pervasiveness of mandated instructional routines between schools. However, regardless of AYP-status, routines served to rationalize teachers' instructional tasks by reducing variation in the form and content of classroom instruction. Accordingly, the process of recoupling and the resulting rationalization of teachers' tasks resulted in teachers experiencing reduced professional discretion, depleted intrinsic rewards, and compromised relationships with students and with each other. Under these circumstances, accountability policy moved teaching away from professionalization and undermined efforts to sustain teachers over time.

      Kaplan, Avi; Byrnes, James P.; Hindman, Annemarie H.; Patterson, Timothy (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      What does it mean to be “smart?” Being identified as intelligent, gifted, or high achieving affords students stimulating experiences, motivating social environments, and advanced educational and career opportunities. However, research has also identified potential negative psychological and social costs to being labeled smart. These are particularly apparent during transitions. Many “smart” students begin college while expecting to continue to achieve highly. But, the first-year of college is a time of intense change, with new peers, different requirements, and unfamiliar standards for success that can raise questions about how smart one really is. Students respond differently to such challenging experiences and questions; some are intimidated, some prevail, others even thrive. Why? The current study investigated the meaning of being labeled smart as part of the identity and experiences of honors students in the first year of college. Twenty-four first year Honors students at a large, urban university were interviewed about the meaning of being smart and their experiences in the first year in college. Data analysis was framed deductively by an emerging identity model—the Dynamic Systems Method of Role Identity (DSMRI)—and inductively by an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The dissertation presents six cases that were purposively selected to display variability in students’ meaning-making about being smart, identity, and experiences. The results demonstrate how each student’s meaning of smartness has been incorporated into her or his identity system within the particular educational context, and how it framed their experiences, decisions, and coping with challenging situations. The findings further demonstrate the differences in the ways individual students made meaning of the smart label, the multiple values of being smart particularly in regards to peer relations, complex negative psychosocial implications, and the important role of educational contexts in these meaning-making and identity formation processes. The findings can inform educators and researchers who aim to investigate and address students’ maladaptive beliefs and behaviors and to support their healthy identity development.
    • The Multicultural Megalopolis: African-American Subjectivity and Identity in Contemporary Harlem Fiction

      Joyce, Joyce Ann, 1949-; Brivic, Sheldon, 1943-; Williams, Roland Leander; Honey, Maureen, 1945- (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      The central aim of this study is to explore what I term urban ethnic subjectivity, that is, the subjectivity of ethnic urbanites. Of all the ethnic groups in the United States, the majority of African Americans had their origins in the rural countryside, but they later migrated to cities. Although urban living had its advantages, it was soon realized that it did not resolve the matters of institutional racism, discrimination and poverty. As a result, the subjectivity of urban African Americans is uniquely influenced by their cosmopolitan identities. New York City's ethnic community of Harlem continues to function as the geographic center of African-American urban culture. This study examines how six post-World War II novels --Sapphire's PUSH, Julian Mayfield's The Hit, Brian Keith Jackson's The Queen of Harlem, Charles Wright's The Wig, Toni Morrison's Jazz and Louise Meriwether's Daddy Was a Number Runner-- address the issues of race, identity, individuality and community within Harlem and the megalopolis of New York City. Further, this study investigates concepts of urbanism, blackness, ethnicity and subjectivity as they relate to the characters' identities and self-perceptions. This study is original in its attempt to ascertain the connections between megalopolitan urbanism, ethnicity, subjectivity and African-American fiction.
    • The puzzling nature of material objects: A study of co-location

      Vision, Gerald; Wolfsdorf, David, 1969-; Chamberlain, Colin; Moyer, Mark (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      My goal in this dissertation is to analyze the question, why is co-location a problem for the metaphysics of material objects? I believe that the existing literature on the topic identifies three possible answers to this question: Either, (i) co-location is a problem because it violates the no-coincidence principle, or because (ii) co-location violates the claim that the best available explanation for the relationship between objects that share the same empirically discriminable properties is the relationship of numerical identity, or finally because (iii) co-location violates the thesis of microphysical determination. I argue that (i), (ii), and (iii) are not sufficient reasons to think that co-location is metaphysically problematic, and that a denial of these assumptions does not warrant a rejection of co-location. I maintain that, instead, if co-location is a problem, it is so in virtue of violating a more basic assumption. Co-location is a problem for the view that the individuation and persistence conditions of any given material object is completely and solely determined by the physical or material properties of such an object. I advance reasons to believe that the latter view is fundamental in the sense that (i), (ii), and (iii), are consequences of it, and that co-location is in conflict with (i), (ii) and (iii), because it questions the basic physicalist view that provides the conditions for (i), (ii), and (iii). The fact that (i), (ii) and (iii) depend on the belief that physical properties exhaust the individuation and persistence of material objects, explains why they are not good reasons against co-location: They cannot establish that co-location is a problem for an account of material objects because they depend on the belief that co-location denies. Therefore, (i), (ii), and (iii) provide no more than three different ways of begging the question against co-location. I argue that, in order to show that co-location is a problem, we must show that physicalism with respect to material objects is the correct, or at least the most plausible, metaphysics of material objects, and this is something that neither (i), (ii), or (iii) can show. This statement of the relationship between co-location and anti-colocation reasons is also a contribution to the discussion of co-location.
    • The Structured Self: Authenticity, Agency, and Anonymity in Social Networking Sites

      Duffy, Brooke Erin; Lombard, Matthew; Postigo, Hector; Vila, Pablo, 1952-; Rushkoff, Douglas (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      The purpose of this dissertation is to explore social networking sites' structural affordances and their implications for identity creation, maintenance, performance, broadcast, and comprehension. Facebook is employed as a case study. By applying affordance theory, I argue that scholars should recognize Facebook as an ethic, or as a mediator, that employs moral choices when filtering input that is then displayed and aggregated through the site. By framing identity as narrative, I show that identities are on-going and are not only created via social expectations, but also work as reflexive tools used to write the self into being. Specifically, due to the large scope of this project, I explore the ways in which the structure and cultivated cultures of the site influence notions of, and expectations for, authenticity, agency, and anonymity. Breaking down Facebook into its constituent parts, I first completed a structural discourse analysis of the Sign Up Page, the About Page, Likes, Friends, Photographs, the Timeline, and Cookies. Next, I conducted focus group and one-on-one interviews with 45 emerging adults to learn how they recognize and work within Facebook's structure. Themes emerged that speak to the "cultures" that Facebook privileges and reifies through their granted affordances: Digitally Structured Culture, Visual Culture, Celebrity Culture, and Socially Divided Culture. I found that users generally adhere to Facebook's problematic conceptions of identification on the site, particularly through the ways in which they describe and perform authenticity, agency, and anonymity. Users have come to view the site as the official social space and thus feel pressured to perform a unitary, "accurate," and superficial self. The inherent trust placed in Facebook has led users to rely on the site's decisions regarding structural affordances and to not question the identity guidelines provided. This dissertation concludes with a call for a more rigorous understanding of social networking affordances and a wide-spread application of methods that recognize social media as non-neutral filters. I argue that the limited choices presented by Facebook compel users to build conceptions of identity that adhere to the cultural expectations privileged by the site. Although it is clear that my methods can be applied more generally to other social media and digital spaces, I also argue that Facebook is unique in that it is a "tentpole" of both interfaces and user content--the site offers a variety of identity performance tools and acts as the main place that users visit to "conduct research" on others.

      Goode, Judith, 1939-; Shankman, Paul; White, Sydney Davant; Brandt, Carol B. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This dissertation examines the production of knowledge around global climate change and the character of environmental literacy among youth in Tafuna, on Tutuila, American Samoa. I analyze this production of environmental knowledge across multiple social fields (i.e. status hierarchies, governance structures, etc.) and subjectivities (school-specific, village-based, and Samoan cultural identities) during a period of social, political, economic, and environmental transformation. I interrogate the emerging forms of control that have come to structure the formal educational system in American Samoa, such as standardized or "containerized" curriculum, assessment and accountability measures, and the assignation of risk/creation of dependency on funding, deployed by American governmental agencies such as the Department of Education, and utilized by state actors such as the American Samoa Department of Education. Of particular concern is the how these structures create contradictions that affect the possibilities of teaching, learning, and the integration of youth into meaningful social roles. Informal learning about the environment includes village-based forms of service, church initiatives concerning the environment, governmental agency programming, such as that provided by the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, and youth-serving non-profit programs concerned with engaging youth as leaders. In both these formal and informal contexts for environmental education, American Samoan youth dynamically co-create knowledge within and outside the parameters of the socialization processes in which they are embedded. This research encompassed four trips to American Samoa over the course of three years, and utilized ethnographic fieldwork, including participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, archival research, and demographic data analysis, as the primary forms of data gathering. What this data reveals is the disengagement American Samoan youth feel for school-based environmental education because their science classes, as structured, do not integrate the co-relatedness of the social, the political, and the environmental fields that youth encounter. I discovered that youth are largely ambivalent about their future aspirations because they lack some of the cultural, linguistic, and educational tools necessary for local participation as well as for opportunities to study and work on Hawaii or the mainland United States. Lastly, I found that American educational ideals continue to be contradictory in the American Samoan context; whereas schools value and promote individually-oriented goals and responsibility, youth are also embedded in the values of communal identification and practice known as fa'a Samoa. I conclude that young people lack social integration and plan for a future away from American Samoa.
    • United States (US) Adult Teachers' and Learners' Perspectives on Representations in Video Games Used in the Classroom

      Fernback, Jan, 1964-; Shaw, Adrienne, 1983-; Osman, Wazhmah, 1974-; Phelps, Carmen L. (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Researchers have explored representations in traditional video games, yet have not significantly investigated the representations in video games used in classroom contexts. Moreover, socially marginalized group members’ perspectives are rarely centered in academic research. This dissertation examined representations of people, ideas, and stories in video games for classroom use, focusing on how 16 self-identified US Black women who were teachers, learners, or both have perceived and encountered them. Furthermore, it drew from cultural studies traditions, which encompass theories that provide the language and space for seeing the world as diverse and nuanced, such as social constructionism, intersectionality, and experience. Data were gathered through using three qualitative methods: content analysis, three individual interviews per participant, and a questionnaire. A theme was recognized when four or more participants referenced a mutual idea. The results of the first research question on in-game representations of race, social class, and gender showed that these constructs were represented through human characters, anthropomorphic characters, or avatar creation options for users. Each game’s overarching structure influenced how it approached representation, with longer games and those designed to be played multiple times having more frequent opportunities to demonstrate character building and convey complex representations. Many games also centered the socially privileged via their representations of people, avatar options, ideas, and stories. Social class was often represented through in-game purchases, possessions, hobbies, and settings. Users often needed to actively create or implement diverse representations in classrooms. The second research question, which addressed participants’ conceptualizations of ideal representations in games for classroom use, showed that overall, participants wanted to see games featuring character, narrative, and ideological diversity across many socially constructed categories, including race, gender, social class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, and age, although they did not all agree on how to approach such representations. They wanted games to be relatable to all audiences while also being sensitive to those who were affected by not being represented. Content-wise, they wanted to see representations that engaged multiple senses and included fantasy elements and opportunities for users to express their creativity. Most participants reported that they would not want games to represent violence, and several participants did not want them to include stereotypes, social -isms, or racial jokes. The third research question’s results showed that the relationship between participants’ perspectives on ideal representations, their experiences, and their individual-centered characteristics—which comprised role descriptors, social constructs, and personality traits—was highly contextual. Participants who self-identified using the same terms, or underwent similar experiences, did not consequently share the same views. Rather, participants’ thoughts on representation were specific to the intersections of their individual-centered characteristics and experiences. In conclusion, this study underscores that it is important to privilege complexity and diversity when examining texts and audiences. It demonstrates how academic research can center members of socially and culturally marginalized groups while preventing myths of group sameness from obscuring individuals’ perspectives. Representations in games for classroom use would benefit from teachers, media practitioners, and researchers acknowledging the diversity of classroom audiences while addressing traditional learning objectives.
    • Valuing STEM majors: The Role of Occupational-Academic Ego-Identity Status and Task Values in STEM Persistence

      Cromley, Jennifer; Kaplan, Avi; Byrnes, James P.; DuCette, Joseph P.; Horvat, Erin McNamara, 1964- (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      Students who initially choose STEM majors frequently switch to non-STEM majors. Additionally, there are national concerns over the paucity of homegrown scientists, and college is a potentially critical period when many potential scientists are lost. The aim of this study was to examine, over the course of a semester, the role of identity formation and motivation in students' intent to leave a STEM major. Participants included 363 diverse undergraduate science students enrolled in chemistry II. Measures of achieved ego-identity status, competency beliefs, task values, perceived costs, interest, self-efficacy, chemistry II grades, and intent to leave a STEM major were given over four waves of data collection. Regression analysis and cross-lagged path analysis were the primary analytical methods. Results revealed that achieved ego-identity status significantly predicted competency beliefs, values/interest, and effort costs; however, achieved ego-identity status was not related to opportunity or psychological costs. Competency beliefs of the major was a significant predictor of chemistry II grades, and values and effort cost were significant predictors of intent to leave STEM. Opportunity cost was only significantly related to intent to leave STEM at the end of the semester and psychological cost was not significantly related to students' intent to leave STEM. These results provide evidence for theorized relationships between identity formation, competency beliefs, task values, and perceived costs. Furthermore, perceived cost was demonstrated to be a multi-dimensional construct with important implications for students' intent to leave STEM.