17,353 research outputs found

    Consent and the Construction of the Volunteer: Institutional Settings of Experimental Research on Human Beings in Britain during the Cold War

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    This study challenges the primacy of consent in the history of human experimentation and argues that privileging the cultural frameworks adds nuance to our understanding of the construction of the volunteer in the period 1945 to 1970. Historians and bio-ethicists have argued that medical ethics codes have marked out the parameters of using people as subjects in medical scientific research and that the consent of the subjects was fundamental to their status as volunteers. However, the temporality of the creation of medical ethics codes means that they need to be understood within their historical context. That medical ethics codes arose from a specific historical context rather than a concerted and conscious determination to safeguard the well-being of subjects needs to be acknowledged. The British context of human experimentation is under-researched and there has been even less focus on the cultural frameworks within which experiments took place. This study demonstrates, through a close analysis of the Medical Research Council's Common Cold Research Unit (CCRU) and the government's military research facility, the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment, Porton Down (Porton), that the `volunteer' in human experiments was a subjective entity whose identity was specific to the institution which recruited and made use of the subject. By examining representations of volunteers in the British press, the rhetoric of the government's collectivist agenda becomes evident and this fed into the institutional construction of the volunteer at the CCRU. In contrast, discussions between Porton scientists, staff members, and government officials demonstrate that the use of military personnel in secret chemical warfare experiments was far more complex. Conflicting interests of the military, the government and the scientific imperative affected how the military volunteer was perceived

    The place where curses are manufactured : four poets of the Vietnam War

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    The Vietnam War was unique among American wars. To pinpoint its uniqueness, it was necessary to look for a non-American voice that would enable me to articulate its distinctiveness and explore the American character as observed by an Asian. Takeshi Kaiko proved to be most helpful. From his novel, Into a Black Sun, I was able to establish a working pair of 'bookends' from which to approach the poetry of Walter McDonald, Bruce Weigl, Basil T. Paquet and Steve Mason. Chapter One is devoted to those seemingly mismatched 'bookends,' Walt Whitman and General William C. Westmoreland, and their respective anthropocentric and technocentric visions of progress and the peculiarly American concept of the "open road" as they manifest themselves in Vietnam. In Chapter, Two, I analyze the war poems of Walter McDonald. As a pilot, writing primarily about flying, his poetry manifests General Westmoreland's technocentric vision of the 'road' as determined by and manifest through technology. Chapter Three focuses on the poems of Bruce Weigl. The poems analyzed portray the literal and metaphorical descent from the technocentric, 'numbed' distance of aerial warfare to the world of ground warfare, and the initiation of a 'fucking new guy,' who discovers the contours of the self's interior through a set of experiences that lead from from aerial insertion into the jungle to the degradation of burning human feces. Chapter Four, devoted to the thirteen poems of Basil T. Paquet, focuses on the continuation of the descent begun in Chapter Two. In his capacity as a medic, Paquet's entire body of poems details his quotidian tasks which entail tending the maimed, the mortally wounded and the dead. The final chapter deals with Steve Mason's JohnnY's Song, and his depiction of the plight of Vietnam veterans back in "The World" who are still trapped inside the interior landscape of their individual "ghettoes" of the soul created by their war-time experiences

    Data-to-text generation with neural planning

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    In this thesis, we consider the task of data-to-text generation, which takes non-linguistic structures as input and produces textual output. The inputs can take the form of database tables, spreadsheets, charts, and so on. The main application of data-to-text generation is to present information in a textual format which makes it accessible to a layperson who may otherwise find it problematic to understand numerical figures. The task can also automate routine document generation jobs, thus improving human efficiency. We focus on generating long-form text, i.e., documents with multiple paragraphs. Recent approaches to data-to-text generation have adopted the very successful encoder-decoder architecture or its variants. These models generate fluent (but often imprecise) text and perform quite poorly at selecting appropriate content and ordering it coherently. This thesis focuses on overcoming these issues by integrating content planning with neural models. We hypothesize data-to-text generation will benefit from explicit planning, which manifests itself in (a) micro planning, (b) latent entity planning, and (c) macro planning. Throughout this thesis, we assume the input to our generator are tables (with records) in the sports domain. And the output are summaries describing what happened in the game (e.g., who won/lost, ..., scored, etc.). We first describe our work on integrating fine-grained or micro plans with data-to-text generation. As part of this, we generate a micro plan highlighting which records should be mentioned and in which order, and then generate the document while taking the micro plan into account. We then show how data-to-text generation can benefit from higher level latent entity planning. Here, we make use of entity-specific representations which are dynam ically updated. The text is generated conditioned on entity representations and the records corresponding to the entities by using hierarchical attention at each time step. We then combine planning with the high level organization of entities, events, and their interactions. Such coarse-grained macro plans are learnt from data and given as input to the generator. Finally, we present work on making macro plans latent while incrementally generating a document paragraph by paragraph. We infer latent plans sequentially with a structured variational model while interleaving the steps of planning and generation. Text is generated by conditioning on previous variational decisions and previously generated text. Overall our results show that planning makes data-to-text generation more interpretable, improves the factuality and coherence of the generated documents and re duces redundancy in the output document

    ‘Mental fight’ and ‘seeing & writing’ in Virginia Woolf and William Blake

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    This thesis is the first full-length study to assess the writer and publisher Virginia Woolf’s (1882-1941) responses to the radical Romantic poet-painter, and engraver, William Blake (1757-1827). I trace Woolf’s public and private, overt and subtle references to Blake in fiction, essays, notebooks, diaries, letters and drawings. I have examined volumes in Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s library that are pertinent, directly and indirectly, to Woolf’s understanding of Blake. I focus on Woolf’s key phrases about Blake: ‘Mental fight’, and ‘seeing & writing.’ I consider the other phrases Woolf uses to think about Blake in the context of these two categories. Woolf and Blake are both interested in combining visual and verbal aesthetics (‘seeing & writing’). They are both critical of their respective cultures (‘Mental fight’). Woolf mentions ‘seeing & writing’ in connection to Blake in a 1940 notebook. She engages with Blake’s ‘Mental fight’ in ‘Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid’ (1940). I map late nineteenth and early twentieth-century opinion on Blake and explore Woolf’s engagement with Blake in these wider contexts. I make use of the circumstantial detail of Woolf’s friendship with the great Blake collector and scholar, Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982), brother of Bloomsbury economist John Maynard Keynes. Woolf was party to the Blake centenary celebrations courtesy of Geoffrey Keynes’s organisation of the centenary exhibition in London in 1927. Chapter One introduces Woolf’s explicit references to Blake and examines the record of Woolf scholarship that unites Woolf and Blake. To see how her predecessors had responded, Chapter Two examines the nineteenth-century interest in Blake and Woolf’s engagement with key nineteenth-century Blakeans. Chapter Three looks at the modernist, early twentieth-century engagement with Blake, to contextualise Woolf’s position on Blake. Chapter Four assesses how Woolf and Blake use ‘Mental fight’ to oppose warmongering and fascist politics. Chapter Five is about what Woolf and Blake write and think about the country and the city. Chapter Six discusses Woolf’s reading of John Milton (1608-1674) in relation to her interest in Blake, drawing on the evidence of Blake’s intense reading of Milton. Chapter Seven examines further miscellaneous continuities between Woolf and Blake. Chapter Eight proposes, in conclusion, that we can only form an impression of Woolf’s Blake. The thesis also has three appendices. First, a chronology of key publications which chart Blake’s reputation as well as Woolf’s allusions to Blake. Second a list all of Blake’s poetry represented in Woolf’s library including contents page. The third lists all the other volumes in Woolf’s library that proved relevant. Although Woolf’s writing is the subject of this thesis, my project necessitates an attempt to recover how Blake was understood and misunderstood by numerous writers in the early twentieth century. The thesis argues Blake is a model radical Romantic who combines the visual and the verbal and that Woolf sees him as a kindred artist

    The crisis of cultural authority in museums : contesting human remains in the collections of Britain

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    Museums in Britain have displayed and researched human remains since the eighteenth century. However, in the last two decades human remains in collections have become subject to claims and controversies. Firstly, human remains associated with acquisition during the colonial period have become increasingly difficult to retain and have been transfered to culturally affiliated overseas indigenous groups. Secondly, a group of British Pagans have formed to make claims on ancient human remains in collections. Thirdly, human remains that are not requested by any community group, and of all ages, have become the focus of concerns expressed about their treatment by members of the profession. A discourse arguing for 'respect' has emerged, which argues that all human remains should be treated with new care. The claims made on human remains have been vigourously but differentially contested by members of the sector, who consider the human remains to be unique research objects. This thesis charts the influences at play on the contestation over human remains and examines its construction. The academic literature tends to understand changes to museums as a result of external factors. This thesis argues that this problem is influenced by a crisis of legitimacy and establishes that there are strong internal influences. Through a weak social constructionist approach I demonstrate that the issue has been promoted by influential members of the sector as part of a broader attempt to distance themselves from their foundational role, as a consequence of a crisis of cultural authority stimulated by external and internal factors. The symbolic character of human remains in locating this problem is informed by the unique properties of dead bodies and is influenced by the significance of the body as a scientific object; its association with identity work and as a site of political struggle, in the high modem period

    The interpretation of Islam and nationalism by the elite through the English language media in Pakistan.

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    The media is constructed and interpreted through what people 'know'. That knowledge is, forthe most part, created through day to day experiences. In Pakistan, Islam and nationalism aretwo components of this social knowledge which are intrinsically tied to the experiences of thePakistani people. Censorship and selection are means through which this knowledge isarticulated and interpreted.General conceptions of partially shared large scale bodies of knowledge and ideas reinforce,and are reinforced by, general medium of mass communication: the print and electronic media.Focusing on the govermnent, media institutions and Pakistani elites, I describe and analyse thedifferent, sometimes conflicting, interpretations of Islam and Pakistani nationalism manifest inand through media productions presented in Pakistan.The media means many things, not least of which is power. It is the media as a source ofpower that is so frequently controlled, directed and manipulated. The terminology may beslightly different according to the context within which one is talking - propaganda, selection,etc. - but ultimately it comes down to the same thing - censorship. Each of the three groups:government, media institutions and Pakistani elites - have the power to interpret and censormedia content and consideration must be taken of each of the other power holders consequentlyrestricting the power of each group in relation to the other two. The processes of thismanipulation and their consequences form the major themes of this thesis

    The Reputations of Sir Francis Burdett

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    Theorising Christian Anarchism A Political Commentary on the Gospel

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    This thesis argues that there is a tradition in political theology and in political theory that deserves to be called "Christian anarchism." The various thinkers that contribute to this tradition have never before been considered to be part of a theoretical movement or tradition, and the originality of this thesis is to weave these thinkers together and present a generic theory of Christian anarchism. . Taken together, thinkers like Tolstoy, Ellul, Elliott and Andrews put forward a comprehensive exegesis of Jesus' teaching and example as implying a critique of the state and a vision of a stateless society. Based on this understanding of the Gospel, they accuse both the state and the church of contradicting, betraying and corrupting the essence of Christianity. Some Christian anarchists - Eller in particular - even see Romans 13 and the "render unto Caesar" passage as not discrediting but indeed confirming their interpretation, and although more activist Christian anarchists sometimes disagree on the potential role of civil disobedience, they do all stress that what matters above all is obedience to God Moreover, they all call for the "true" church to lead the Christian anarchist revolution by example, despite the very demanding sacrifices which this involves. They point to numerous examples of similar witness ever since the early church, and themselves strive to emulate such examples in their own lives - the Catholic Worker movement being perhaps the most notable example in this regard Thus, Christian anarchist thinkers' critique of the current order and appeal to follow God's radical commandments echoes the voices of the prophets of old, calling society to return to God's covenant. By weaving their scattered voices together - by theorising Christian anarchism - this thesis provides a political commentary on the Gospel which contributes as much to political theory as it does to political theology

    Identification of Hindbrain Neural Substrates for Motor Initiation in the hatchling Xenopus laevis Tadpole

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    Animal survival profoundly depends on the ability to detect stimuli in the environment, process them and respond accordingly. In this respect, motor responses to a sensory stimulation evolved into a variety of coordinated movements, which involve the control of brain centres over spinal locomotor circuits. The hatchling Xenopus tadpole, even in its embryonic stage, is able to detect external sensory information and to swim away if the stimulus is considered noxious. To do so, the tadpole relies on well-known ascending sensory pathway, which carries the sensory information to the brain. When the stimulus is strong enough, descending interneurons are activated, leading to the excitation of spinal CPG neurons, which causes the undulatory movement of swimming. However, the activation of descending interneurons that marks the initiation of motor response appears after a long delay from the sensory stimulation. Furthermore, the long-latency response is variable in time, as observed in the slow-summating excitation measured in descending interneurons. These two features, i.e. long-latency and variability, cannot be explained by the firing time and pattern of the ascending sensory pathway of the Xenopus tadpole. Therefore, a novel neuronal population has been proposed to lie in the hindbrain of the tadpole, and being able to 'hold' the sensory information, thus accounting for the long and variable delay of swim initiation. In this work, the role of the hindbrain in the maintenance of the long and variable response to trunk skin stimulation is investigated in the Xenopustadpole at developmental stage 37/38. A multifaceted approach has been used to unravel the neuronal mechanisms underlying the delayed motor response, including behavioural experiments, electrophysiology analysis of fictive swimming, hindbrain extracellular recordings and imaging experiments. Two novel neuronal populations have been identified in the tadpole's hindbrain, which exhibit activation patterns compatible with the role of delaying the excitation of the spinal locomotor circuit. Future work on cellular properties and synaptic connections of these newly discovered populations might shed light on the mechanism of descending control active at embryonic stage. Identifying supraspinal neuronal populations in an embryonic organism could aid in understanding mechanisms of descending motor control in more complex vertebrates
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