Fall 2021

The seminars are offered on Webadvisor under UNIV1200.
To learn more about a seminar and its instructor(s), please scroll down the page to browse.

UNIV 1200-01: Be a Digital Storyteller!

Instructor: Mavis Morton
F21: Monday/Wednesday 2:30-3:50
Course Code: UNIV*1200-01

Delivery: Face to Face

Description: Have you ever created a Digital Story? Have you ever conducted real research? This course teaches you how to do both. I am the Director of First Year Seminars (FYS) at the UofG and if you take this FYS, we will be trained by digital storytelling experts how to create digital stories and how to conduct qualitative interviews with other FY students about their FYS experiences.

We will work collaboratively to conduct, analyze, and disseminate our research findings by creating digital stories. We will meet twice a week (in person); we’ll use a course management system called CourseLink to share information, and we'll use WeVideo to make our digital stories. You don’t need previous research experience. You don’t need to have any digital media skills or be a storyteller. You will need to want to learn together, be prepared to take some risks and have some fun!

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UNIV 1200-02: Don't Worry Be Happy: Happiness & the Good Life

Instructor: Natalie Evans
F21:  Fridays 8:30-11:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200-02
Delivery: Face to face

Description: In an age of media saturation, we are constantly being told what will make us happy, including how we should look, what we should buy, and how we should act. And yet, North Americans are suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression in staggering numbers. It seems timely to ask: What is happiness and the good life, and how can we achieve them? In this course, we attempt to answer this question by examining the causes of happiness and unhappiness in individuals and societies, as well as different conceptions of the good life from an interdisciplinary perspective.

By examining ancient and contemporary wisdom and practices from the East and the West, and critically separating fact from fiction in current research on happiness, students will be able to create their own personal ‘happiness plan’ that they can incorporate into their own lives. We will examine and evaluate concepts, theories and practices such as meditation, mindfulness, ‘the good life’, creativity, music, nature and more as they relate to the pursuit of happiness.

UNIV 1200-03: The Creativity Myth

Instructor: Jackie Hamilton
F21:  Tues/Thurs 10-11:30 a.m.
Course Code: UNIV*1200-03
Delivery: Face to face

Description: Don’t think you are a creative person? This course is for you! Do you consider yourself to be very creative? Then this course is also for you! There is a general perception that creativity is an ability you are born with. You often hear people say they ‘Aren’t creative” but really, what does that mean? This course will examine popular conceptions and definitions of creativity, the ways in which the education system contributes to how we develop creative thinking skills, as well as why creativity is an important tool for solving problems.


UNIV 1200-04: Sleep: 1/3 of Your Life Spent with Your Eyes Closed

Instructor: Justine Tishinsky
F21:  M/W 16:00-17:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200-04

Delivery: Face to face

Description: “I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day, because it means it’s 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 7-9 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 utilize an interdisciplinary approach to explore 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 an oral presentation. We ask that you remain awake during all classes.


UNIV 1200-05: Meddling with Pedaling: An Examination of Cycling in Society

Instructor: John Ferguson
F21:  Friday 11:30-14:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.05
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.” H.G. Wells". Enroll in this course to gain opportunities to explore the manifold and wondrous ways in which a simple, unassuming invention continues to reverberate through society, culture, sport, media, health, sustainability, politics, liberation, economics, energy, engineering, crime, film, and literature in surprising ways. “Whereas much has been written about the cultural roles of the automobile and driving in literature and popular culture, there has been surprisingly little analogous work devoted to the bicycle and bicycling...” (Withers and Shea, 2016).

The view from the bicycle provides unique perspectives on things we may have taken for granted. Are cars really faster than bicycles? Are bike lanes really a good idea? Are helmets advisable? Can bicycles advance gender equality? Can a bicycle save your life (or maybe even human civilization)? Feel the breeze in your hair and the exhilaration as you build your strength and independence in mind, body and spirit. This bicycle ride will inspire the momentum to carry you forward through time, space, university and beyond. You will never think of "spin class" the same way again.


UNIV 1200-06: Horror Night in Canada

Instructor: Michael Follert
F21:  Tuesday 19:00-22:00 
Course Code: UNIV*1200.06
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: A poet in the 1940s once remarked that if other countries are haunted by the ghosts of their past, in Canada, “it’s only by our lack of ghosts we're haunted”. From the vantage point of 2021 and in the shadow of the TRC, Canada appears more as a vast unmarked graveyard whose ghosts haven’t yet had their reckoning. The genre of horror provides a gateway for re-examining our past and our present.

As a country with a well-established tradition of film and radio production, Canada has produced its share of home-grown horror stories. But who exactly gets to tell these stories? In considering that question, this course explores the fears and anxieties that populate the dark corners of our audio-visual culture and how those fears and anxieties shift across Settler, Indigenous, and otherwise marginalized perspectives. Weekly combinations of films, radio plays, and interdisciplinary readings will offer students the opportunity to critically reflect on and locate themselves in relation to constructions of Canadian identity – exploring its contours, its exclusions, and its colonial legacies.


UNIV 1200-07: The Mighty Ukulele: finding its place in education, medicine, culture and community 

Instructor: Cynthia Kinnunen
F21: Tuesday/Thursday 13:00-14:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.07
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: The ‘ukulele’s popularity, accessibility, and unassuming nature make it a friendly instrument to pick up and learn. But it can also be a tool for greater good. In this course, we’ll investigate the role and importance of music in our lives and how the ‘ukulele has become part of the musical landscape. We’ll explore how it finds itself in elementary classrooms and Irish pubs, as a tool for mental and physical health, and for cultural expression. You will be able to more deeply explore an aspect of your choosing in a written assignment and short presentation. 

An important component of the course, we will also learn how to play, focusing on some basic music literacy skills, working up repertoire, crafting song (creative songwriting assignment), and culminating in a class performance in a public venue or group recording project at the end of the term. No previous musical experience is necessary and an ‘ukulele will be supplied for you to borrow if you don’t have your own.  

By the end of this course, you will have developed an appreciation for the power and influence of music across domains, an understanding of the ukulele's history and evolution, and explored their own creative expression and music making in collaboration with others. 


UNIV 1200-08: Song, Story, Drawing and Dance

Instructor: Jason Wilson
F21:  Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:30-13:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.08

Delivery: Face to face

Description: The Arts in Motion will survey the migration of the arts from antiquity through to the twenty-first century. It will ask the student to consider art in the broad meta-history / comparative literature sense. As art is seldom bound to ‘place’, the course will trouble the idea of ‘tradition’ and question essentialized notions of ‘authenticity’. The course will only focus on the specialized histories of any given art to show how it is connected to a sometimes-unrecognizable past and linked to an unpredictable future.


UNIV 1200-09: “Survival is Not Enough” Speculative Fiction as Emancipatory Practice 

Instructor: Deidre Rose
F21:  M/W 13:00-14:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.09
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: The title of this seminar course is a quote from Star Trek that is also the core philosophy of the traveling theatre troupe that features in the post-pandemic hope-punk novel Station 11. Through a close reading of selected speculative fiction, we will explore contemporary themes, including surveillance, language and thought, fear, social hierarchies, hope, and resistance. You will be able to choose readings from a variety of speculative fiction genres, such as dystopic science fiction, solar-punk, and Afrofuturism.

Activities will include saving one word from the censors, inventing a new word, creating a meme, and representing an imagined future in the medium of your choice. (Essay, graphic novel, short story, etc.). We will look at short scientific articles about viruses and epidemiology and genetics, linguistic articles about the relationship between language and perception, and social science articles about culture, politics, and economics. Thus, the course is highly interdisciplinary and will appeal to students interested in anthropology, sociology, political science, epidemiology, biology, public health, and literature. As a seminar format there will be lots of student participation, interactive activities, and group work. Critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity will be encouraged.


UNIV 1200-10: Up Schitt's Creek without a paddle: Reconsidering contemporary representations of rural life

Instructors: Brady Reid and Ashleigh Weeden
F21:  Tuesdays/Thursdays 13:00-14:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.10
Delivery: VIRTUAL

Description: This course bridges popular media and academic discourse to explore portrayals and experiences of contemporary rural life. From coast to coast to coast, issues in rural, remote, and northern Canada will be examined and contextualized by televised representations such as Schitt’s Creek, Canadian musicians, and podcasts. You will break down your own assumptions of “what is rural?” and its implications in public policy, governance, sustainability, and wellbeing.

We will engage with contemporary representations of rural life and deconstruct or reimagine the assumptions found therein. Emphasis will be placed on critical consumption of popular media and academic material to inform a foundational understanding of rural issues and opportunities that can contribute to any future career path.


UNIV 1200-11: A Different Kind of Dance

Instructor: Georgia Simms
F21:  Mondays 14:30-17:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.11
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: Dance is often viewed as something extracurricular and entertaining, something done for fitness and fun, often requiring superhuman flexibility and virtuosic execution. What if that wasn’t the only story? What if dance could also mobilize research knowledge and engage communities in unfamiliar and innovative conversations?

This seminar will generate interactive, interdisciplinary experiences for first year students through the making of a research-based dance film or live performance (2-3 minutes in length) that integrates four main categories of thought and practice:

1) Arts (dance-theatre, language arts, short film production)

2) Humanities (self-awareness, relational awareness)

3) Social science (sociology, geography, political science)

4) Community-engaged scholarship (creative knowledge mobilization)

The topic of the dance film/performance will be initiated by issue/inquiry as identified by students and expanded through further research of the topic involving an annotated bibliography; the dance compositions will evolve through viewing and analysis of dance films (from a variety of sources), the practice of making dance through improvisational and compositional movement tasks (group and individual), and one-on-one guidance from the instructor; the dance compositions (whether live performance or film) will be shared within the class, framed by structured discussions that are facilitated by the composers.

You will be invited to notice, describe and analyze the qualities of their peers’ compositions and be encouraged to ask careful questions that are critically engaged and supportive. With the goal of activating research in engaging ways, we will address complex, challenging issues that are deserving of expression in movement. If you are looking to delve into both academic and physical research, critical conversation, video editing and a whole new outlook on why dance matters, then we’ll see you in the (virtual) studio! Experience in dance is not necessary. A willingness to be curious and try new things is necessary. Fitness, health and fun are beneficial side effects.


UNIV 1200.12: What is Art in the 21st Century?

Instructor: Janet Wolstenholme
F21:  Monday/Wednesday 8:30-10:00
Course Code: UNIV*1200.12
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: What is, should, or should not be, considered “Art” in the 21st century? In this seminar all forms of art and the various forms thereof will be examined. Learners will explore personal, cultural and political meanings and use/s of art. We will also consider the role and function of art and creativity over time, in the world today, and what it could look like in the future. We will learn in a collaborative, inclusive environment using an enquiry-based pedagogy and reflective practice. This course is discussion based, with high interaction and engagement with peers.


UNIV 1200-13: Theatre in Trouble: How Theatre Challenges the Status Quo

Instructor: Tony Berto
F21:  Monday/Wednesday 19:00-20:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.13
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: Theatre that so outrages members of the audience that they riot? Theatre that offends social values and so is censored? This is “Theatre in Trouble: How Theatre Challenges the Status Quo”; a course in which we will look at how some theatre has caused big reactions from our authorities, and why social or moral values were offended by these plays in their day. Through discussion and seminars, we’ll trace how five plays affected, or were affected by, the authorities of their day. Students will also learn how playwrights create such work by making their own short scenes about the contemporary, contentious issues of today. Lastly, students will then seek out and research a further play “in trouble” and write a short essay about its production in its day..


UNIV 1200-15: Monsters, Machines and Other Minds

Instructor: April Marratto
F21:  Mondays/Wednesdays 10:00-11:30 
Course Code: UNIV*1200.15
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: What does it mean to be human? Do humans have souls? Are we just sophisticated machines? This course will use the famous story of Frankenstein’s monster to help facilitate discussions on personhood and otherness. This is a course that will challenge you to think about persons, animals, and machines in fruitful and exciting ways by drawing on thinkers at the intersection(s) of science, politics, and philosophy. Assignments will be varied and creative: imagine expressing an idea through a series of memes or creating a YouTube video to help spark discussion with your classmates. Assignments will stimulate discussion, personal response, and self- assessment.

UNIV 1200-16: Wild Justice: Revenge, punishment, and other ways of getting even.

Instructor: Aidan Lockhart
F21:  Mondays 19:00-22:00
Course Code: UNIV*1200.16
Delivery: Face to Face

Description: “Revenge is a kind of Wild Justice.” Sir. Francis Bacon

You’re on the highway, stuck behind a transport truck. In your rear-view mirror a car roars inches from your bumper. It lurches into the slow lane, speeds past, swerves into the tight space between you and the truck and flares its break lights. Your heart-rate skyrockets – pupils dilate – you swear – tires scream – rage claws the pit of your stomach. You want justice. But not the Justice of dusty, heavy-bound legal volumes. You want a Wild Justice. A justice you can feel. This felt sense of justice colours every corner of our social landscape as well as our inner, emotional terrain, with its hills of forgiveness and valleys of revenge. No one knows that terrain better than you. There, only you are the expert.  This multidisciplinary course (merging contributions from moral philosophy, the neurobiology of violence, psychology of victimhood, and the sociology of punishment) travels our lived justice wilderness. We use conversational interviews, roundtable discussions, meme-making, and collaborative presentations to explore this notion of Wild Justice – one that is free of suffocating legal jargon. As well, we consider personal experiences, real-world case studies, and pop-culture, to identify where our instinctive sense of justice comes from. We’ll diagnose the cognitive habits that perpetuate cycles of violence, and begin instead, to embody a new ‘justice disposition’ – one that reimagines the nature of harm and envisions new trails for personal and social transformation. 


UNIV 1200-17: The Magical World of Butterflies

Instructor: Gard Otis
F21: Thursdays 11:30-14:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.17
Delivery: Face to Face


We all appreciate the beauty of butterflies, but why? What makes them so charismatic? How do they function? What remarkable behaviours do they exhibit? How have they inspired artists and musicians? How do people in our society perceive butterflies? What can we do to help them to flourish in nature?  In this seminar you will explore these questions through a variety of means, including field trips to experience living butterflies, videos, writing and drawing exercises, and a survey of Guelph residents designed to gauge general knowledge about butterflies. Through course activities, you will enhance your writing skills and improve your ability to think critically.


UNIV 1200-18: Finding a Gig that feeds your soul and makes you your own boss

Instructor: Stefanie Sharp
F21: Monday/ Wednesday- 3-4:30
Course Code: UNIV*1200.18
Delivery: Face to Face

Do you want to choose your own work hours? Do you want to live and work anywhere in the world? Do you crave flexibility when you think of when, how and what your work is? As part of Gen Z, you will be entering a workforce that is very different from generations before you. The rise of flexible, temporary and contract work otherwise known as ‘the gig economy’ is here. We will learn about the changing landscape of working for oneself and the platforms and tools that enable flexible self-employment. You will have the chance to dream big and develop your very own gig! Are you an engineering student with a love of animals? Are you an animal science student with a love of food? By combining your area of study with your passion you can develop a way to south your soul and be your own boss.


UNIV 1200-19: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age: Hey Google, why do I have to go to school?

Instructor: Madison Wright
F21: Friday 8:30-11:20 a.m.
Course Code: UNIV*1200.19
Delivery: Face to Face

Have you ever wondered what the point of going to school is when you can just “Google it”? In this course, we will be exploring how the development of the Internet has changed and continues to change education, the different ways students can learn in the digital age (i.e., in-class courses, online-courses and teaching yourself with Google), and the effectiveness of different teaching methods. In this seminar, you will have an opportunity to practice teaching and learning in the digital age. In addition, discussions, reflections, and a final debate will be used to assess if a university degree still has value in today’s society when information is only a click away. 

UNIV 1200-20: Bambi and You, Bambi in Stew: Exploring the Human-Animal Connection

Instructor: Kat Sutherland
F21: Thursday 10:00am - 11:20am
Course Code: UNIV*1200.20
Delivery: Face to Face

Whether you eat them or not, own a clowder of cats or are allergic to everything with fur or feathers, that fact is: our lives are intertwined with animals. How do different people view these relationships with animals? In this seminar we will explore this question through the history of animals in art, animal welfare movements, famous pets, various cultural perspectives on animals, the pet and veterinary industries, and animals in film and literature. Learners will virtually visit an animal sanctuary, view thought-provoking videos, participate in a debate and group discussions, create art, engage in writing exercises including self-reflections, and complete and present a final project on a topic of their choosing. By the end of the course, you will have enhanced your critical thinking and collaboration skills, as well as your ability to analyze and appreciate a multitude of perspectives




UNIV 1200-21: Bee Land: Excursions into the Culture of Bees

Instructor: Christina Kingsbury
F21: Thursday 11:30-2:20
Course Code: UNIV*1200.21
Delivery: Face to Face

What is it like in Bee Land? What can bees teach us about how to be in the world in a time of ecological and political instability? These tiny, complex creatures are responsible for the reproduction of up to 75% of flowering plants and yet species diversity and populations are dwindling. I am an artists-amateur naturalist and together we will explore the culture of bees through the lenses of art, science, philosophy, dance, ecology, politics, Indigenous Knowledge, poetry, gastronomy, and hands-on encounters with wild and domestic bees. We will engage in field and arts-based research, look at intersecting and divergent ideas about interspecies relationships and the systemic roots of ecological decline, and explore how to actively engage in bee conservation and advocacy. The course will include outdoor excursions on and off campus, citizen science, arts-based workshops, and guest visits with interdisciplinary professionals. You will be evaluated on participation in class activities, written reflections on course material, and two major assignments: a creative research project and a community activism project.


UNIV 1200-22: How to Diversify Your Interests and Become the Person You Are: Conscience, Community, and Communication

Instructor: Jason Hoult
F21: Wednesday, 11:30am - 2:20pm
Course Code: UNIV*1200.22
Delivery: Face to Face

Do you have more than one interest? How do your various interests support and foster the ethical values that are central to our spiritual, social, and familial lives? This course explores the concepts of God, justice, love, equality, childhood and city diversity as a way of showing how our interests in diverse areas of life can be used to support one another and help us become the people we are. We will conduct critical and creative passage analysis of works of religious thought, socio-political theory, early childhood education, and urban city planning and we will use inquiry-based worksheets (for example, “fill-in-the-blank” style comic strips), as well as survey the heart of the City of Guelph on a field-trip as we join one another in creating a learning experience that adopts the very values of conscience, community, and communication that we will be examining throughout the course.


UNIV 1200-23: CSI Canadian History: The Death of Tom Thomson 

Instructor: Greg Klages
F21: Wednesday, 8:30am - 11:20am
Course Code: UNIV*1200.23
Delivery: Face to Face

Investigate a Canadian history cold case. In 1917, the now-famous landscape painter Tom Thomson died under mysterious circumstances in Ontario’s Algonquin Park. As a member of the CSI Canadian History team, you will work collectively and individually to evaluate case evidence, seek to convince your peers of your conclusions, consider contemporary accounts of the case, and build your own creative response to your findings. You’ll learn first-hand the strategies historians use to unravel fact from myth, and to create narratives from conflicting accounts, while also considering Canadian art, environmental history, and how Canadian stories are being changed to reflect new concerns with Canadian identity, feminism, and indigeneity.