Afficio Undergraduate Journal - Social Sciences

Scarring the Landscape: The 1827 Halifax Smallpox Epidemic
Logan Robertson (2018)
Until the World Health Organization’s declaration of smallpox eradication in 1980 (Fenner et al. 1988, vii), the disease was of constant concern. Spreading globally, it destroyed families indiscriminately, leaving a wake of death and decay felt long after its departure. Its presence left scars on those who survived the encounter, and powerful images of those survivors persist today. Halifax was no exception to disease. Smallpox outbreaks dated from the founding of the city, due to crowding of residents that persisted over time. Figure 1 displays the congestion of the port town in 1853 and offers a glimpse into the density of the settlement. The close proximity fostered by an urban environment, coupled with poor sanitation practices and minimal healthcare, supported the proliferation of a variety of diseases. The smallpox epidemic of 1827 was not only one of the more virulent epidemics, but had notable influence on future decisions in determining the medical welfare of the city.

Source Expertise as a Factor of Social Influence
Alexandra van der Valk (2017)
The growth of social media and screen-to-screen interaction has prompted investigation into how social influence can persuade decision-makers without face-to-face interaction. Our research explores whether the reputation (Expert, Novice, or Neutral) of a fake, anonymous peer can change an individual’s (1) judgment conformity, (2) decision confidence, or (3) trust in that peer. Eighty-eight university students answered 10 trivia questions, giving numerical estimations before and after viewing a fake peer’s response. Participants rated their confidence in each estimate, and rated their trust towards the source after each question. Results found that (1) participants exposed to an Expert’s opinion improve judgment accuracy through assimilation, but those influenced by a Novice worsen accuracy through reactance; (2) decision confidence ratings increase in all groups; (3) trust towards the Expert is significantly higher than towards both the Novice and Neutral peers. Associations are also explored between these three outcomes and the participants’ personality traits and cultural orientations.

World of Ash: Employing Materiality in The Road
Travis Crowell (2014)
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) relates a bleak post-apocalyptic vision that elicits a profound sense of loss and oblivion. It isolates its protagonists, a father and son, against a backdrop of ash and grey in a landscape that is blasted and desolate. Humanity’s few survivors wander ruined cityscapes and empty country, a world of orphans after the silencing of culture. In 2009, director John Hillcoat and screen-writer Joe Penhall adapted the novel to film, bringing McCarthy’s nightmare to a more visual medium. Both versions employ material culture, the physical representation of culture, in the construction of a horrific landscape.

What We Choose To Remember: The Human Costs of the Vietnam War
Travis Crowell (2014)
In the Vietnam War, the United States, a mechanized industrial superpower, brought its full arsenal to bear against the combined guerilla forces (National Liberation Front) and standing army of North Vietnam (NVA). Two decades of escalating warfare resulted in the defeat of the U.S. war machine on foreign soil, a souring of public opinion at home, and the dramatic evacuation of American troops and personnel in spring 1975, preceding the fall of Saigon. The defeat of the modern world’s most powerful empire by a small, former French colony has enthralled historians and military strategists alike (e.g. Summers 1982; Nagl 2002). Missing from many of these analyses, however, is the human cost of the war in Vietnam.

Women in Crisis: The Colonial Roots of Epidemic Violence and Oppression
Matthew Clerk (2015)
The issue of women’s rights and equality is a particularly contemporary phenomenon, having its roots in the first wave of feminism, which started in the mid-19th century and early 20th century in Western Europe and North America. Feminism was a response to the prevailing patriarchal structure of western society, where the public spheres of power and politics were controlled by men, and a woman’s role was restricted to the private sphere of home and family. The second wave of feminism, which also occurred in Western Europe and North America, began in the late 1960s and began to politicize feminism by inserting feminist thinking into the personal and public spheres.

Weapon Focus Effect: A Literature Review
Tyler Hatfield (2015)
The weapon focus effect is described in the literature as the narrowing of a witnesses’ attention to the weapon being held by the perpetrator of a crime, to the detriment of peripheral details such as the perpetrator’s appearance. Research into this phenomenon intensified during the resurgence of interest in psychology and law in the 1960s, when the abilities and limitations of eyewitness testimony became a major focus of forensic psychologists.

Beyond Primary Victims: Child Victims of Terrorism, and the Role of Terrorism Media
Alicia LaPierre (2016)
Terrorism is defined as a use of force by individuals or groups, which is directed towards innocent civilians and, using tactics which instill fear and terror, is intended to influence or force changes in political or social decisions and policies. The individual characteristics of the victims who are on site during the terrorist attack are not as important as the scale of possible calamity. The goal of a terrorist attack is not to target a specific group of people, but to advance a politically-driven message. This is why, most often, highly populated areas such as clubs or busses are the targets of terrorist acts, and these are areas most often frequented by students, women, and passersby, who make up the most common demographic categories of victims.

University as Narrative Therapy: The Reconstruction of Dominant Self-Narrative through Post-Secondary Education
Liza Brechbill (2013)
This research investigates the ability of post-secondary education to play a role in the reconstruction of personal identity. Drawing on White and Epston's work in narrative therapy (1990), this reconstruction is understood by placing it within a narrative framework and is therefore seen as a process of re-authoring.

The Success of International Human Rights Norms in Liberal Democracies as a Source of Political Pacification and Ignorance
Katie Grant (2012)
In February 2012, students in Political Sciences 2305.0 (International Relations) took part in a simulation. During the exercise, participants acted as government delegates for their assigned countries to negotiate an international human rights convention and treaty compliance mechanism. This paper represents one participant's conclusions.

The Detrimental Impact of Globalization on Female Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
David McDonald (2012)
While it has been argued by World Bank development thinkers that the globalization process will lead to poverty alleviation and economic growth, the successes of globalization have been unequal both among and within countries.

The Ruins at New Ross: The Genesis (and Resolution) of an Archaeological Mystery
Vanessa Smith (2011 Fall)
New Ross would seem an unlikely location for a castle. Or a Viking settlement. Or a royal Stuart refuge. Or Templar knights. And yet, a series of remarkable claims have been made about a particular village property and the features and artifacts uncovered there, all said to prove previously undiscovered periods of occupation.

Canada In Kandahar
Michael Murphy (2011 Winter)
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were the catalyst for a long series of events that would change the lives of people worldwide for years to follow. Canada now finds itself mired in one of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan, desperately trying to complete its biggest military operation since the Korean War.

Symbolism, Complexity and Intentional Burial Among the Neanderthals
Jonathan Cranton Phillips (2011 Winter)
Of particular interest is the question of whether or not Neanderthals were capable of complex and symbolic behaviour, and if so, were they capable of intentional burial of their dead?

Improving the Community for Mentally Ill Individuals
Kate MacDonald (2010 Fall)
Psychological sense of community is one of the most commonly investigated constructs in community psychology, and it can be considered a defining feature of community life (Townley & Kloos, 2010).