Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Lowell Duckert

Committee Co-Chair

Michael Germana

Committee Member

John Jones


This thesis argues that materialist theories like OOO subversively create a foundation for Neoliberalism and shows how readapting materialist theories combined with SCUBA submersion destabilizes Neoliberalism. Materialist theories announce themselves as venerators of objects by arguing that all actors contain leveled importance, and thus are not defined as tools for human exploitation. Yet, leveling all objects has uneven social results. While leveling the importance of an object with all other objects, materialist theories justify the subjugation of invisible bodies and remove conversation from social concerns that are denounced as not ontologically present. This thesis destabilizes materialist theories that bolster Neoliberalism by arguing that social issues are ontologically present for they have material compositions. This argument takes a close look rivers because waterways are tied to social dominance and uneven social ladders. This thesis concludes that applying flat ontology to rivers and using submersion as a way to bring the basin to the surface denaturalizes our immersion in Neoliberal philosophies and can recreate our understanding of human and non-human actors.