Fall 16 Offerings
The seminars are offered on Webadvisor under UNIV1200.
To learn more about a seminar and its instructor(s), please choose from the menu below or scroll down the page to browse.
01 - Dark Tourism: An Immoral Promotion of Death & Disaster?
We all will die. But why would we want to travel to experience the morbid and the chilling as a tourist? This is the question that is explored in the study of "Dark tourism". Dark tourism as defined by Sharpley and Stone (2009) is "the act of travel to sites associated with death, suffering and the seemingly macabre". Although not new, in many societies, visiting sites associated with death is, and has been, a considerable part of the tourist experience; as this can be seen with the existence of pilgrimage, one of the earliest forms of tourism. However, the commercial marketing of such locations to encourage tourist visitations is justly debated. The focus of this course is to explore the individual and societal motivations and fascinations with such experiences, as well as to better understand the impact that such tourism has on country and city image. This first year interdisciplinary seminar intends to expose the student to both domestic and international sites of "Dark tourism". The expectation is that the student will learn how to frame examinations of a controversial phenomenon in an objective and critical fashion.
02 - Current Dialogues in Human Rights Law and Policy
Rights talk pervades our society and, as we know, the discussion tends to get very hot! These are just a few of the issues that are the subject of current discussion in Canada: Can young women who wish to take part in sporting activities be told that they cannot do so because, for religious reasons, they wear head coverings? Can a Muslim woman wear a face covering during a citizenship ceremony? Can a university faculty member who is a Hindu refuse to wear an electronic device that will assist in the accommodation of a student with a disability? Can a Sikh man wear a turban instead of a helmet while riding his motorbike? Does a gym have to cover its windows so that young boys, who are members of a religious community occupying the next building, do not see scantily clad women? Can I set up a campus group that excludes queer students or can students set up a campus group exclusively for white participants? Can employees take time off work so that they may pray? Can people who, for religious reasons, wear head coverings be denied employment in a hair salon? These questions, and many more, arise in the face of demands for human rights based "accommodation" in our society. In this seminar we will read about and discuss the legal, social and philosophical limits to "accommodation".
03 - What is “Art” in the 21st Century?
What is, should, or should not be, considered art in the 21st century? In this seminar, all forms of traditional and contemporary art and various forms thereof will be examined. From religious roots to the avant-garde, art has been able to cross boundaries and influence moral and ethical belief systems. Imagery has been able to convey a “thousand words” in one picture or take viewers to another realm. Learners will explore personal and cultural meanings and use of art. As well, learners will consider and the role and function of creativity over time, in today’s society and what it could look like in the future. We will learn in a collaborative environment using an enquiry based pedagogy and reflective practice.
04 - Becoming a Reflective Learner
Melanie Parlette Stewart and Robin Bergart
You've been in school for 12 years, but how well do you know yourself as a learner? This course gives you the opportunity to take a step back from the frenetic pace of the first year of university and reflect on what you are learning and how you learn best. You will develop an "autoethnography" (writing that puts your personal experience into a wider cultural context) to discover what learning at university means for you, as well as for other members of the university community, including other students, your professors, and staff on campus. You will also experiment with different ways of expressing ideas, including digital storytelling, posters, and mind maps.
05 - Baseball by the Numbers: Learning How to Analyze Baseball Data
Ian Newby Clark
The past decade has seen a revolution in professional baseball. Instead of reliance on questionable ‘gut feelings’ and marginally helpful traditional statistics (e.g., earned run average, batting average), major league baseball teams now employ expert analysts who use an array of advanced statistical tools to give their teams an edge. In this course, students will be introduced to the world of baseball analytics. They will learn to use a statistical program (called R). They will use R to conduct statistical investigations of baseball data. The investigations will be reported to the instructor and class in written and oral form. Although no prior knowledge of baseball, baseball analytics, or programming is required, a love of the game, and a willingness to learn about programming and analytics, would be a definite asset.
06 - Culture: Does It Really Matter?
When you hear the word culture what comes to mind? We all live in a cultural context but the cultural context varies by location like country, neighbourhood, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, and numerous other factors. While no one class can cover the depths and intricacies of "culture," this class will focus on ethnic culture to illustrate how culture influences every facet of our lives. For example, words such as "eh" have been linked to "being Canadian." Understanding research from various disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, family studies, education) and learning how to critique various forms of methodology, students will be critically reflective of culture and societies. To accomplish these goals, students will be given many opportunities to "think outside of the box" and to challenge traditional modes of thought, use various methods of problem-solving, to be creative and to have fun!
07 - The Extraordinary History of Stuff
Everyday items tell amazing stories! In this class, we consider 'ordinary' objects, often cast away as junk and dismissed as 'past their expiry date', as we explore the life, death and 'afterlife' of a host of historically fascinating, if underappreciated, material. Visiting archives to explore these items, we also consider ways we unwittingly and consciously archive our own lives, through social media and other means. We collaboratively research and tell the stories of the origins of ordinary stuff that surround us, and explore shifting values attached to it over time. We also look critically at objects from our own lives to explore the stories that they tell about us and the world in which we live
08 - Building a Career in the 21st Century
You have come to university to launch your career. But what does that mean? What is a career? How do you know if you're on the right path for your personal career? How do you ensure that you will be employable, successful and ultimately satisfied in your career? How do you go about making important choices about your career within the context of your life in general? This course examines careers from an individual perspective, drawing career theory and research, but applied to you as a career actor. You will explore your personal values, interests, personality and competencies and consider what career path is right for you. You will examine career and life-stage models that help you to understand the ways that careers typically unfold and the ways that careers have changed in recent decades and how they will look in the future. You will consider what it means to be a member of your specific generation in society and the workplace and how that differs from past generations. You will consider your goals for life and career as a holistic system that helps you to work toward balance in your life. You will also examine practical career development skills, such as professional development, job search, and inter-personal communication. The ultimate learning outcomes of this course will be increased self-awareness, understanding of the nature of careers and understanding of the realities of the present and future career landscape.
09 - Sleep: 1/3 of Your Life Spent with Your Eyes Closed
"I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day, because it means I'm going to be up all night" - Steven Wright. We spend 30-35% of our lives asleep. Some practically fall sleep standing up...others toss and turn all night. Some sleepwalk, some snore, and we all dream. Sleep is a restorative process that's imperative to our health and wellbeing, yet 63% of adults get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. Nevertheless, the process of "going to sleep" is a social and cultural norm. The longest anyone has ever gone without sleep is a mere 11 days. This seminar course will focus on the art and science of sleep. Topics covered will include: contributors to insomnia (stress, caffeine, alcohol, technology, etc.), circadian rhythms and biological clocks, dreams and nightmares, cultural determinants of sleep patterns, sleep disorders (i.e. sleepwalking, etc.), and effectiveness of pharmacological and herbal sleep aids. Students will have the opportunity to address a research question of their choosing and demonstrate their knowledge in the form of a written paper and oral presentation. We ask that you remain awake during all classes.
10 - The Art of Everything: Exploring the Creative Process
During the semester, students will examine aspects of the creative process and discuss how and where ideas originate. Through conversations, first-hand observations, readings, and live presentations by invited guests and the students themselves, participants will be introduced to the effectiveness of innovation and the creative process and how artists and other disciplines use the creative process to expand the unique aspects of their work. Areas to be explored and discussed include the visual arts, music, poetry, theatre, propaganda and the art of the word, the enlightenment and human rights, and innovation and the environment. Each session is a discussion focusing on a separate subject requiring the discovery of alternate solutions - such subjects as Human Rights, Music, The Enlightenment, Education, etc. Students are asked to read specific documents and be ready to debate their impressions during seminar sessions. Students will be asked to personally experience the writing of poetry or a song (including lyrics and music) and participate in life-drawing, an orchestra concert, improv, slam poetry session, and meetings with various specialists in the arts and science as well as excursions to galleries and cinema. Every opportunity will be made for members of the class to learn how to participate in class discussions and how to be forceful and effective in their presentations. Individual class projects will be required and presented in unusual but effective ways.
11 - The Book: Gutenberg to Gaga to Gone?
Is the book really dead? Or is it just resting? Books are both beloved and besieged. They have been transformed over the centuries from Guttenberg's Bible to Gaga's confessional to Amazon's Kindle. What is a book and, if we love them so much, why are they being threatened with extinction? This course will explore the beauty and the power of the book as well as its evolution into some quite new and equally wonderful. We will examine the craft of book making, the art of book writing, the economics of publishing, the politics of authorship, and the power of the reading. From treasures to trash, this course will be all books, all the time. And to make all this more concrete, we'll publish our own book during the semester to document what we think about the future of the book.
12 - Healthy Communities: whose responsibility is it anyway?
The term health and the state of being healthy have taken on a variety of complex definitions over the years. The World Health Organization has described health in the following ways over the years:
- Medically, health can be "...the absence of disease and the presence of high levels of function (biological)"
- Holistically, health can be viewed as "...a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
- From a wellness perspective, health can be viewed as "The extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities."
13 - Games, Decisions and Economic Behaviour
C. Bram Cadsby
How do people make decisions when faced with economic choices? How do those choices interact to produce consequences for small groups or sometimes the entire world? Economists and other social scientists have constructed theories of choice and strategic behavior, often by making simple assumptions about rationality and self-interest. Do people really behave the way such theories predict? An exciting new approach to answering such questions is through behavioural experiments. An economist, Vernon Smith, and a psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, won the 2002 Nobel Prize for pioneering work on these problems. This course uses simple classroom experimental games to search for answers. Some of the games are played on computers. Thus it is necessary that each student have a laptop computer or other device (e.g. a "smart" phone) that can connect to the university's wireless network. Each of the games we play has been used by researchers to examine some aspect of economic behaviour. By playing these games, the students themselves create data, which they can then analyze. Students learn to interpret these data, which are often numerical in nature. This promotes thought about the reasons that they and their fellow students acted in a particular manner. It also permits the students to compare their behaviour to the predictions of theories produced by social scientists about human behavior in a wide variety of economic situations. They can also compare their own behavior to data previously gathered by social scientists studying such behavior in different populations and contexts.
14 - Outdoor School
Have you ever wished you could have all of your classes outside? Or attend a seminar in a flower-filled greenhouse, visit an active apiary, or get hissed at by a cockroach? In this field-based course we will be visiting and learning from several of the labs, gardens, and facilities on campus, and the educators, technicians, and artists that work at them. Reading seminars will be held outdoors, where we will discuss and consider a wide range of cultural perspectives on nature, climate, and the environment. Taught by an artist and amateur naturalist, we'll have hands-on encounters and workshops about the flora, fauna, geology, and weather around us and look specifically at the interrelated ideas of contemporary artists, activists, nature writers, and environmental researchers. No outdoor experience is necessary.
15 - Guns, Germs, Steel and the Great Escape
This course will employ two recent, popular economic history books, Guns, Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond, 1997) and The Great Escape (Angus Deaton, 2013) to discuss key ideas about the evolution of human societies and living standards. The goal will be to employ a multidisciplinary approach to examine how geography and technological advance have contributed to the cultures, political systems, and socioeconomic outcomes currently observed around the world. Using these texts, we will also discuss failed political experiments such as the Soviet Union, and reasons why living standards in Central Asia and some countries of Sub-Saharan Africa have stagnated despite great progress in technology and disease prevention.
16 - Can I Have My Privacy Please!
Every minute of every day, we are leaving our digital footprint in the online world. Many of us often wonder what happens to our personal data, who collects it, and how it is being used. A big question for most of us is "could we protect our privacy and freedom in this information age?" This course reviews the history, definitions, and views on information privacy as well as concerns related to creation, collection, and usage of personal data. It will also explore technology and policy-related solutions and will examine various competencies in managing privacy and digital footprint in the cyberspace. In this course, students will have an opportunity to examine the privacy implications of technologies such as mobile apps and social media tools for real-world scenarios that apply to them.
17 - Beyond Literacy: Exploring a Post-Literate Future
This course will explore the nature of literacy and the possibility of a "post-literate" future. The rise of literacy (reading and writing) was transformational not only for how we communicate and preserve ideas but also for how we think. However, as a literate people, we have difficulty imagining both the oral cultures that preceded us (and still exist in other cultures) as well as the possibility of something beyond literacy. This course will explore the nature of oral cultures, the transformations enabled by literacy and speculate about the concept of rich human communication beyond traditional literacy (e.g. "post-literacy") that might evolve from advances in computing, biotechnology, or other, as yet unimagined, developments. Students will examine and enhance their learning skills through a series of assignments and in-class activities. These skills will be applied in the exploration of literacy and the future of literacy as part of research investigations and class discussions. The course focuses on the development of both individual skills and team-based learning. The seminar aims to engage students in a way that will significant enhance their success as students as they progress through their program. It will also reinforce the foundations of lifelong learning
18 - IMPROV(e) Life
Meagan Troop and William Bettgar
Two renowned experimental improvisers, John Cage and R. Murray Schafer, agree: Improvisation can begin anywhere. To add to their assertion: We are all improvisers at heart. Improvisation is a part of our daily lives whether we are thinking on our feet in the context of playing music or sports, experimenting in the kitchen with a new recipe, or even having a conversation. Improvisation pervades our environment despite the fact that we are not always conscious of its influence or impact. Recent research shows that the process involved in improvisation plays a significant contributing role to our health and well-being at individual, collective, and societal levels. This seminar will engage improvisational processes in a variety of situational contexts and opportunities. Initially, this we will focus on improvisation as a sensory phenomenon. Key themes uncovered from there are: (a) origins of improvisation, (b) a vocabulary for improvisation, (c) domains of improvisation, and (d) improvisational action as an agent for transformation. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of experientially-based activities and to critically review their experiences through reflective, learner-centered assessments. Improv(e) YOUR life by learning to keep your mind, eyes, and ears open!
19 - The Humanitarian Game
Susan Armstrong Reid
In 2016, the growing numbers of people dying from the lack of basic health services, or fleeing conflict areas in search for basic human security of food and shelter, has been characterized as "dramatic beyond description." Every year the international community responds to a number of new disasters and complex emergencies, as well as providing on-going assistance to humanitarian crisis, which threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions worldwide. New directions in global humanitarian governance, connecting the local community and individual efforts to global initiatives are required to co-ordinate humanitarian efforts on a more effective and sustainable basis. The seminar adopts a multidisciplinary approach. It examines the interconnectivity of global socio-economic determinants that shaped the increasingly contested negotiation of humanitarian space: the revolution in medical technology and drug therapies, the environment, power politics at all levels of the global health system, and the struggle for political freedom, social justice, gender equality, and basic human security requirements of food, shelter, and employment and the explosion of the Internet and digital technology. This seminar examines the professional and personal ethical challenges that humanitarian workers confronted in providing care, advocacy, and promotion of health and human security during a wide spectrum of humanitarian crisis. More immediately, understanding student leadership opportunities to change lives for a healthier planet is also a critical issue that seminar participants probe together with the goal of developing venues to share their journey with the wider community and future seminar participants. Global humanitarianism has become a "hot topic" over recent decades; it has increasingly become almost become a right of passage for many university students to volunteer overseas. Sadly, these initiatives often amount to little more than "global humanitarian tourism." Students need opportunities to assess their own motivation, preparedness, and as important, their long-range engagement within global civil society to address the issues of social justice and basic human security.
20 - That's Crazy?! Stigma, Mental Illness & the Power of Language
Crazy? Mad? Insane? How do we describe mental illness, and what power do our words hold? What is the impact of stigma on those living with mental illnesses? What can be done to eliminate stigma? This seminar will explore the answers to these questions, with a goal of creating a classroom environment that understands the lived experience of stigma, critically evaluates personal and societal views of mental illness, and empowers students to act as change agents. Together we'll challenge our personal lexicons and employ multiple perspectives and lenses when critically analyzing the relationship between stigma and mental illness in our personal lives, on the university campus, and beyond.
21 - Feeding 9 Billion Ideas Congress
Our planet is predicted to host a population of 9 billion people by 2050. There is tremendous urgency to improve global food systems if we are to provide nutritious and adequate diets for this population in a sustainable and equitable way. Today's food system is in many ways flawed, but these numerous shortcomings simultaneously present opportunities for change and improvement. This seminar begins with a weekend long facilitated workshop that will start students brainstorming about solutions and then develops these ideas during the semester. Working across disciplines, students in this course learn the skills of innovation and social entrepreneurship to develop creative solutions to food security issues, ultimately becoming the next generation of change-makers. Before registering, students are advised to contact the instructor for additional details and dates for the required weekend workshop.
22 - Reading Stories, Reading the World: Critical Literacy for Engaged Citizenship
In this seminar, we will explore the ways in which the stories we are told shape our understandings of the world we live in and, in turn, the ways we relate to each other. We will focus particularly on how our encounters with various media (including news outlets, academic writings, advertising and literature) work to construct their own particular versions of truth, and to support some interests and voices over others. This course builds from the premise that critical reading skills - the ability to identify who is being spoken for, who is being silenced, and what interests are being served by any given story - are a crucial element of engaged citizenship. Students will carry out research projects on a chosen theme or issue related to social justice, using their developing research and critical literacy skills to create a capstone project analyzing and explaining the ways in which their particular issue is being represented by diverse groups and voices.
23 - Across the 'Black Atlantic': Jamaica's Impact on Community, Culture and Music in Britain and Canada
Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae facilitated a cultural dialogue between Jamaican migrant and the host community in urban centres such as London, Birmingham, and Toronto. These musics united migrant and host across the ethnic frontlines of these big urban centres and often bridged black and white youth together in an 'oppositional' and musical movement. Ska, rocksteady, and reggae provided the soundtrack to this social and political process and soon became part of the musical vernacular in Britain and Canada as evidenced in UK bands such as the Clash, The Specials, Aswad and UB40 and in Canadian bands such as The Sattalites and Messenjah. In this seminar, we will review the evolution of Jamaica's popular musics and how these had been informed by African and European traditions over the course of two centuries. We will read and hear texts of songs and anthems that resulted from these frontline collisions between Jamaican migrants and members of the respective host communities during the second half of the twentieth century. We will review the important socio-political consequences that these musics may have caused or addressed. We will also review some of the keynote sounds of these musics, in some cases, live from some of the original artists themselves. Apart from the written component, students will have an opportunity to produce a creative project that could include, among other things, a musical performance, a spoken-word piece or a radio show. Ultimately, we will witness how the impact of this contact between communities transcended a shared affection for music and engendered a vital intercultural dialogue.
24 - Managing Complexity: The War for Talent in the World of Work
Have you heard a lot about the War for Talent? Do you want to get an inside view on how organizations, society and individuals define, recognize, and reward talent? Do you want to understand what factors influence how talent is perceived and the career management aspects of talent management? This seminar explores the complex and dynamic nature of talent management in Canada. Talent management reflects how human dimension and attributes can be viewed and valued as a source of competitive advantage. The knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies that we possess become increasingly important in how we are perceived, valued, and commoditized socially, economically, and individually. Students join the talent management conversation and learn how to stay current on critical issues using legitimate sources of information through integrating human resources management, industrial-organizational psychology, and leadership viewpoints.
25 - Experience Guelph; Develop a Sense of Place
'Sense of Place' is a popular phrase, and there is considerable enthusiasm for the subject among geographers, planners, architects, landscape architects, urban designers, sociologists, poets, and artists. Unfortunately, along with related concepts and themes (such as Place-identity, Place-attachment, Placelessness, and Place-making), there are few definitions of what a sense of place really means. Sometimes it refers to how individuals see the world around them, and other times it seems to be about qualities of the physical environment. Sense of place is confusingly regarded as something in our minds, as a property of landscapes, or a combination of the two. Despite the absence of a fixed definition, or a known trajectory to learning how to develop a sense of place, it is considered an essential part of how people identify with and learn to appreciate their surroundings. In this seminar, students will investigate what sense of place is not only by researching core concepts and themes, but by active learning. The bodily experience of a place is an important component of developing a sense of place; knowledge of the subject will be gained by actively developing their own 'Sense of Guelph'.