Winter 2004

01 Venus & Mars: Biology, Culture, and the Meaning of Sex

02 Beautiful Minds

03 “Mixed Messages”: A Cultural History of Advertisement in 18thc. England.

04 Early Modern Autopsies

05 The Past and Future of Ideas

06 Blood Is Not For Sale

07 The Science and History of Chocolate

08 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science – from Plato to Websurfers

09 Dialogues / Human Rights in New Times

10 The Second Civil War: Polarization in American Politics

11 Say What You Mean: Communicating for Success

12 Values We Live By: A Critical Examination

13 Evolution: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

14 Murder and Treason, Rights and Freedoms: Landmark Legal Cases in Canada

15 The Science of A.R.T. (Assisted Reproductive Technologies)

16 Pinioning Pegasus: Our Interactions with the Horse

17 Animal Welfare: Does It Matter?

18 Nature the Engineer: Biomechanical Designs for Living

19 Genes and Immunity

20 Chocolate, Coffee, and Globalization

22 The Art and Science of Imaging; A Blend of Fact and Fancy

23 The Art of Communicating Science

24 Politics, Painting, and the Paramilitaries: The Murals of Northern Ireland and the Visual Culture of the Troubles

25 Activating Education: Human Rights and Social Change

26 Exploring the Landscape of Scotland

27 Just (Don't) Do It! Psychological Perspectives on Risks to Health

28 The Bacteria Wars

29 Crime and Punishment

30 The Future of Biotechnology

 

01 Venus & Mars: Biology, Culture, and the Meaning of Sex

 

This seminar course addresses the nature and significance of differences between males and females. We will focus on three main questions: (1) How are the human sexes different, physiologically, anatomically and behaviourally? (2) Why are the human sexes different in these ways? That is: How should the differences between the two human sexes be explained? Are most of these differences due to the influence of human culture, or are they the product of biology (and in particular, of natural selection)? (3) Does the way that we ultimately explain the differences between males and females matter with regard to the political and social equality of men and women? If so, how? In exploring these questions, we will draw on recent ideas in a range of different disciplines, including physiology, evolutionary theory, sociology and philosophy.

Terry Graham is the Chair of the Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences. Glenn Parsons teaches in the Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences.

 

02 Beautiful Minds

The movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ explored the strange life of the brilliant mathematician and economist, John Nash. While the film tried to capture the drama around Nash’s ‘lost years’ of mental illness and the eventual recognition of hi genius by the award of a Nobel Prize, the script only gives the barest hint of the contributions Nash made to the study of decision-making and strategy. Nash’s original works are impenetrable to anyone other than a highly trained mathematician. Happily, there have been many translators and interpreters who have made Nash’s work available to a wider community of scholars. Economists, political scientists, psychologists and mathematicians have adapted and developed Nash’s ideas in a huge number of ways. If Nash’s ‘original idea’ was impressive, the wide variety of applications it has spawned and the refinements it has fostered are even more so.

In this seminar, we take a look into the wonderful world of ‘game theory’. Our window removes almost all of the mathematics conventionally associated with this area of study. We explore Nash’s ‘big idea’, subsequent refinements to it, and some of the myriad applications of it in business, industrial relations, conflict, international relations and, of course, strategies behind recreational games. Through a series of examples, we will look at: how cold the ‘cold war’ was; why ‘tic-tac-toe’ is boring and chess interesting; and, why ‘prisoners’ seem to have ‘dilemmas’. More importantly, you will learn how these and other disparate phenomena can all be studied and, in many cases the outcomes predicted, by using a single conceptual framework- game theory.

Chris McKenna is the Associate Vice-President (Research) and teaches in the Department of Economics.

 

03 “Mixed Messages”: A Cultural History of Advertisement in 18thc. England

This course will concentrate on four themes or questions in English cultural history, connecting the standard political/economic/intellectual developments of the period with an examination of the growth and reception of newspaper advertising. While it is now widely recognized that this period was both enormously shaped by and reflected in the proliferating newspaper press, few people have systematically considered the broad-ranging role of the newspaper advertisement. This is what this course will attempt to begin. Starting our inquiry with the eighteenth century consumer “revolution”, we will examine the ways in which advertising made that revolution possible. Furthermore, we will consider the advertisement column as a site for possible public discussion or chat, by looking at eighteenth century personal columns, at public apologies and pleas for assistance. In addition to considering the ad as a literary genre we will conclude by attempting a survey of the evolution of the advertisement through the century.

Donna Andrew teaches in the Department of History.

 

04 Early Modern Autopsies

This interdisciplinary seminar will study the representation of the human figure in the early modern period in the west, c. 1500-1800, primarily in literary and scientific texts, with lesser emphasis on other cultural artifacts, such as monuments. In particular, we will focus on the ways poets, scientists, and other writers and artists presented, dissected, and theorized the human body in life and death. Readings will include anatomy manuals, post-mortem records, playscripts, poems, and scientific treatises from antiquity and the medieval and early modern periods, as well as modern theories about these texts and contexts. Pedagogically, the seminar will help students to learn fundamental techniques of humanities and interdisciplinary research methods and to strengthen their skills as writers of academic prose.

Alan Shepard is the Director of the School of English and Theatre Studies.

 

05 The Past and Future of Ideas

Fundamental to the development and extension of human ideas has been the ability to successfully communicate them over time (year to year; generation to generation; millennium to millennium). The rise of literacy was transformational not only for how we communicate and preserve ideas but also for the way in which we think. This course will explore the nature of ideas and investigate how ideas are packaged and how they persist. It will also engage in speculation about the concept of rich human communication and the preservation of ideas beyond traditional literacy (e.g. “post literacy”).

Michael Ridley is the Chief Librarian at the University of Guelph.

 

06 Blood Is Not For Sale

This course will focus on the nature of power and its emergence as a central interest in anthropology and in the social sciences and humanities more generally. A wide variety of theories of power will be debated in the context of the following case studies: a West African Utopia, organized racism and anti-Semitism in Canada, the vendetta and independence movement in Corsica, social change in rural Ontario, and terrorism in America. Pivotal to the course will be the original research projects on aspects of power conducted by the class participants.

Stan Barrett teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

 

07 The Science and History of Chocolate

This course will explore the science, technology, and history of chocolate. From its divine beginnings as the ‘food from the gods’, this course will trace the fascinating history of this material from the ancient Olmec people of Mexico to modern times. The chemistry, microbiology, processing and materials science of chocolate will be discussed in detail, from chemical composition and changes taking place during processing to crystallization behaviour and solid-state structure of cocoa butter and its effects on product quality and stability.

Alejandro Marrangoni teaches in the Department of Food Science.

 

08 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science – from Plato to Websurfers

Sexual knowledge, sexual science: an exploration of the history and science of sex, sexuality and gender – from Plato to Websurfers. This course will provide a thematic approach to the investigation of the culture, science and beliefs about sex and sexuality.

Alastair Summerlee in the President of the University of Guelp. Jacqueline Murray is the Dean of the College of Arts.

 

09 Dialogues / Human Rights in New Times

The concept of egalitarian human rights did not enter popular discourse until after WWII when growing awareness of Nazi atrocities generated unprecedented support for the idea that a state's ability to act with impunity within its borders is limited by the basic human rights of individuals living within the state's territory. Growing support for human rights after WWII was manifested in the UN Charter which mandates that the organization promote universal respect for human rights. This course will address the history of the development of human rights law and practice in Canada. Students will consider new development in human rights and the movements that give rise to them. Against a background in which the rule of law, free markets and democratic elections are argued to be the three goals toward which developing countries should strive, the course will also address international regimes for the establishment and enforcement of human rights “norms”. Among other matters students will consider the effectiveness of such mechanisms as war crimes tribunals and the new International Criminal Court.

Pat Case is the Director of the Human Rights and Equity Office for the University of Guelph.

 

10 The Second Civil War: Polarization in American Politics

James Madison sold his constitutional framework to his newly independent countrymen with the argument that by setting “faction against faction” the system itself would preclude tyranny and reflect the public interest. In the contemporary U.S. he certainly seems to have gotten his wish. On every issue from abortion to the economy to foreign policy, we find the battle lines drawn and two entrenched camps, diametrically opposed.
This course will examine the particularly divisive issues that have characterized the last few decades of American politics, and probe the notion of previous eras of greater consensus. We will focus on events like the Clinton impeachment and its antecedents; the aftermath of 9/11; and the contest over affirmative action.

Maureen Mancuso is the Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and teaches in the Department of Political Science.

 

11 Say What You Mean: Communicating for Success

Effective communication is a critical requirement for successful leadership. However, history has shown us that effective communication is not simple. Successful communication requires individuals to be able to communicate effectively in both oral and written form, in group settings or one on one or through electronic mediums. Using present and past leaders as examples of leadership capabilities, this seminar course will examine communication theory, focusing on barriers to communication and effective methods of communication. Students will be required to apply the theory to practical application through assignments and projects. Students will be required to work independently on some projects and in groups in others.

Brenda Whiteside is the Vice-President of Student Affairs and has taught in the Department of Economics.

 

12 Values We Live By: A Critical Examination

Throughout history and pre-history, human societies have assumed the values they live by are given by laws of nature or divine command. Even Socrates, Plato and Aristotle presupposed and justified human slavery as necessary and good, as did founders of the American Republic who also assumed a God-given right to seize the lands of the first peoples by armed force. Women were regarded as naturally inferior in both Eastern as well as Western societies for millennia, and today people unthinkingly presuppose oppressive regimes of everyday thought and action as if they were “natural” and had “no alternative”. Seldom are the most basic values we live by opened to question. This course provides students with a unique opportunity to rethink how we live, “the rules of the game”, with no limits on the inquiry by accepted opinion or disciplinary bounds. We will excavate our forms of life in such basic spheres as family values, market relations, and the meaning of death by a continuous process of thinking and reasoning through based on student contributions as well as leading-edge texts. The seminar and its assignments will teach students methods of exact definition and reasoned argument as well as open new and global horizons of thought and life value.

John McMurtry teaches in the Department of Philosophy.

 

13 Evolution: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

Evolution is one of the most influential yet controversial scientific developments of the last 200 years. The theory of evolution by natural selection as laid out by Charles Darwin has had a tumultuous history because it confronts widely-held cultural beliefs about the nature of humanity and our relationship to other organisms. This history prompted the philosopher Daniel Dennett to label evolution “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”. In this seminar, you will learn how modern-day scientists study Darwin’s so-called “dangerous idea”, with an emphasis on how evolution illuminates some of the most difficult questions in modern biology. In addition, we will discuss how Darwinian thought influenced issues of social importance such as race, gender, and ethics.

Chris Caruso teaches in the Department of Botany.

 

14 Murder and Treason, Rights and Freedoms: Landmark Legal Cases in Canada

The course examines landmark legal cases in Canada, such as the trial of Louis Riel; the “Persons” case, which determined whether women were considered to be “persons” for the purpose of holding political office; the Donald Marshall cases involving wrongful conviction and aboriginal fishing rights; the legal and political quests of Henry Morgentaler and Joe Borowski to change Canada’s abortion laws; and Robert Latimer’s trial and appeal on the charge of murdering his daughter who suffered from a severe form of cerebral palsy. Students will analyze and discuss the interaction between law, the judicial process, politics, socio-economic contexts, ideas about justice, and the individuals associated with these famous cases. Therefore, the course not only explores the cases themselves, but uses the cases as lenses through which to study and analyze interesting questions about law, society, politics and public policy, history, and philosophy.

Troy Riddell teaches in the Department of Political Science.

 

15 The Science of A.R.T. (Assisted Reproductive Technologies)

Extraordinary recent advances in our understanding of the biology of sexual reproduction have resulted in the development of sophisticated reproductive technologies such as cloning and in vitro fertilization which are likely to profoundly change the way we live and reproduce. These technologies also present us with substantial legal, moral and ethical issues which continue to spark vigourous debate. This course will examine the scientific basis behind these technologies and some of the social implications of their use in humans and domestic animals. 
Jon LaMarre and Alan King teach in the Department of Bio-Medical Sciences.

 

16 Pinioning Pegasus: Our Interactions with the Horse

This course will provide a unique perspective on the use of the horse. Aspects of the physiological characteristics that contribute to this species’ athletic ability and have contributed to the formation of a unique relationship with society in many current and historical settings will be examined. The beliefs and practices that have shaped the use of the horse will be investigated in relation to the environmental, nutritional, sociological, and physiological demands placed on the horse in order to develop a more critical understanding of this athlete and the nature of its limitations.

Jill McCutcheon is the Acting Associate Vice-President (Academic) and teaches in the Ontario Veterinary College. Ray Geor teaches in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science.

 

17 Animal Welfare: Does It Matter?

This interdisciplinary course will examine animal welfare from a variety of viewpoints. It will involve considerations of science, the philosophy of science, and ethical theory. It will consider questions like: How can animal welfare be defined? Is it possible to study animal welfare scientifically? Can we know what animals feel? Do animals have moral standing? Do we have obligations towards animals? Does any of this matter?

Ian Duncan teaches in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science.

 

18 Nature the Engineer: Biomechanical Designs for Living

We revere many structures in the natural world as objects of beauty; a bird’s feather, or a spider’s web, has the innate beauty of a structure perfectly designed to fulfil its function and, like so many biological structures, tissues and materials, their prime function is mechanical. At the whole body level, the sleek design of a cheetah or a manta-ray and the remarkable anatomy of the kangaroo are all race-tuned examples of excellent designs for locomotion. This course challenges the imagination of new students to view nature as a skilled and subtle engineer, building graceful and elegant solutions to the physical environment of plants, animals and man.

Peter Purslow teaches in the Department of Food Science.

 

19 Genes and Immunity

This course will examine the growing knowledge of genetics and mechanisms of genetic control of health and disease in human and animal populations. Special emphasis will be placed on genetics of infectious (such as tuberculosis and malaria), autoimmune (such as type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis), and allergic (such as asthma) diseases. Students will have the opportunity to study scientific, social, political, and ethical aspects of the recent discoveries in the area of genetic control of disease, including gene therapy and genetic manipulation. Other topics of interest will encompass interactions between genetics and environment within the context of genetic resistance and susceptibility to disease, and exploring the long-term effects of these interactions on evolution of species and environmental changes.

Shayan Sharif teaches in the Department of Population Biology.

 

20 Chocolate, Coffee, and Globalization

This course explores the social, cultural, and environmental shape of globalization through the study of two critical tropical commodities: coffee and cacao (the base ingredient for chocolate). While coffee originated in Ethiopia and cacao in tropical Latin America, both commodities are now produced throughout the tropics and consumed globally. We will explore the commodity chains that link producers in tropical Latin America, Africa, and Asia with consumers in Europe and North America. The course will begin with the European discovery of these commodities in the sixteenth century and continue to the present. It will follow the evolution of these commodities from expensive luxuries available to only the wealthiest people, to the inexpensive, commonplace foods they are today. It will trace the environmental and social transformations in the producing regions, particularly during the rapid expansion in production that took place during the nineteenth century. The course will draw on perspectives from history, anthropology, and the environmental sciences.

Stuart McCook teaches in the Department of History.

 

22 The Art and Science of Imaging; A Blend of Fact and Fancy

Throughout history mankind has used many approaches for viewing the world and for sharing one individual's view of it with others. While direct observation is the simplest of methods, it has long been recognized that this has its limits. Many of the things we want to see are invisible to the naked eye, and so we magnify them or do other things to make them appear. The vision of the artist or photographer is translated into a work of art that may or may not be what they intended, may or may not satisfy their or our perceptions of the subject, or may stretch our imagination so that we see the subject in a new way. The image of King Kong on a skyscraper is wonderful Hollywood distortion that we accept as entertaining trickery. But what about a painting by one of the old masters? There are those who speculate that Leonardo da Vinci used, in addition to the genius of his eye and hand, optical devices to help him create the Mona Lisa - a hypothesis that is not totally acceptable to those who believe that the genius alone of Leonardo was sufficient. Alternatively, an image may be created without ever actually seeing the subject, a process which increasingly is having a direct impact on biology and medicine. The x-ray changed the way we diagnose internal matters, but it was only the crude beginning of what is now an arsenal of stunning molecular and electronic ways of viewing the human body.

This course will explore some of the ways in which the art and science of imaging have influenced us. It will look at some of the more exotic methods of visualizing things we can't see. How do you make a molecule in your body turn green? How do you see a virus? Did Leonardo and others use tricks? Does the imagined become real as long as we can see it? How are methods of imaging driving the scientific revolution brought on by the human genome? Students in this course can be expected to broaden their awareness of how the art of imaging has and will continue to profoundly affect our health and our creativity.

Alan Wildeman is the Vice-President (Research) and teaches in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

 

23 The Art of Communicating Science

This seminar course will explore the skills involved in communicating science and scientific ideas effectively. Students will examine different modes of communicating scientific ideas, which will also be illustrated by examples of good and poor practice and using both the technical and popular media. The impact of communication on the way we perceive scientific issues and the acceptance of new technologies in society will be explored, using suitable examples for discussion, such as genetic modification.

Michael Emes is the Dean of the College of Biological Science.

 

24 Politics, Painting, and the Paramilitaries: The Murals of Northern Ireland and the Visual Culture of the Troubles

Since the late 1960s, sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland has made for plenty of gruesome headlines and an equal measure of political hand-wringing. Often characterized by near pathological obsession with history and seeming intractability of protagonists with a propensity towards violence, The Troubles (as the period is commonly called) provide a fascinating glimpse into the very real political, social and human costs associated with cultural construction and identity. Central to this dynamic is the ongoing attempt of affected communities– Catholic and Protestant, Nationalist and Unionist, Republican and Loyalist-- to court public opinion and legitimize political and paramilitary tactics by way of orchestrated displays of “public” art. Throughout Northern Ireland, the mural painting is used as an effective tool for social control and political posturing within and among the communities.

This course will examine the history of mural painting in Northern Ireland with special emphasis on Belfast. We will examining everything from the commissioning of the work, debates over subject matter, art historical sources, stylistic cross-fertilization between communities, and its use as a tool of propaganda and social control. The course will provide the student with an opportunity learn more about the history, politics and aesthetics of sectarian and paramilitary culture in Northern Ireland.

John Kissic is the Director of the School of Fine Arts and Music.

 

25 Activating Education: Human Rights and Social Change

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 1995 to 2004 the UN Decade of Human Rights Education. Through selected readings in the theory and practice of pedagogy and social change, this interdisciplinary course will explore what such a proclamation might mean for university-level teachers and students. How might it change the ways in which texts are being taught, discussed, and written about in the academy? What kinds of pressures does it put on the curriculum, and to what extent does it require us radically to rethink our teaching and learning practices? Clearly, human rights cannot be institutionalized simply through changes in educational practices and priorities; nor is social justice likely to be achieved merely through the inclusion of new books on our reading lists. Yet one of the most compelling, and indeed urgent, challenges for educators has to do with showing how the critical and analytical skills that our teaching seeks to foster are related, in complex ways, to matters of public consequence. Taking this challenge seriously means reflecting rigorously on just how a university education can participate in the transformation of unjust social relations and unequal distributions of power. This course will seek to open up discussion about some of the ways in which a human rights consciousness can and should inform university-level learning and teaching.

Ajay Heble teaches in the School of English and Theatre Studies.

 

26 Exploring the Landscape of Scotland

In this course you will join the professor in an intellectual journey to explore literature on the landscape of Scotland, a topic which is almost as new to the professor as it is to you. You will not be ‘taught’ about the landscape of Scotland in any conventional sense; rather the class will become a practical illustration of the first step in developing a research program, teaching initiative, or policy study - that is the need to gather information and familiarize yourself with key issues. By searching the literature to build their own bibliography, including electronic sources, students will have the opportunity to prepare a significant paper on a chosen aspect of the landscape of Scotland. Emphasis will be placed on guided individual research and sharing of that research among the class. A key theme will be integration of interdisciplinary approaches, with potential topics covering the range from art and literature to soils and geology, and everything in between. Students themselves will learn to take responsibility for their own learning, including developing the content of the course, as well as the marking scheme.

Stewart Hilts teaches in the Department of Land Resource Science.

 

27 Just (Don't) Do It! Psychological Perspectives on Risks to Health

This course examines several psychological perspectives on the concept of risk, including literature in the fields of (1) child and adolescent risk-taking and (2) psychiatric disturbance. The course will consider factors leading to risk taking that can compromise health and safety during childhood and adolescence, including individual attributes, the social-peer context, and societal/family norms. In addition, the concept of risk will be analyzed in relation to the development and prevention of psychiatric disorders. Field trips to organizations with a high priority on risk management may be arranged.

Ben Gottlieb and Barbara Morrongiello teach in the Department of Psychology.

 

28 The Bacteria Wars

Bacteria are ubiquitous; they can be found thriving in the air, in and on land, and in bodies of water. Most do not pose a threat to the health of human beings, but a select number of species may cause disease. We have always been at war with these microorganisms, the pathogens, and over the centuries they have won many battles. The discovery of antibiotics had a profound impact on our ability to wage this war and thereby increased the the quality of life for human resistance amongst the clinical strains of many of the target pathogens such that some are gaining an upper hand. This seminar course will explore the history of antibiotic discovery, probe the mechanisms involved in the development of resistance in selected species of some important human pathogens, and present some of the current strategies being investigated to regain control over our bacterial foes.

Anthony Clarke is Assistant Vice-President (Academic) and teaches in the Department of Microbiology.

 

29 Crime and Punishment

This seminar discusses the optimal form and severity of punishment for different types of offences including property theft, homicide, victimless crimes, tax evasion, regulatory noncompliance and academic misconduct. Discussion will include the benefits as well as the costs of alternative forms of sanctions. Readings also review statistical trends and relationships between crime rates and incarceration, parole and execution rates. The objective of this course is to develop an ability to discuss sentencing policy in an analytical and informed manner.

William Furlong teaches in the Department of Economics.

 

30 The Future of Biotechnology

The extraordinary increase in knowledge generated by researchers working in the field of molecular biology has generated a revolution in our understanding of many biological processes. At the same time it has led to the development of a large and diverse biotechnology industry that has arisen to use this knowledge to produce a large variety of products. These include: the production of pharmaceutical proteins; the use of genetically modified agricultural plants and animals; the production of industrial chemicals and enzymes; the use of DNA data for forensic or other purposes. Some of these applications have engendered little public discussion, while others like the use of genetically modified crop plants has led to a very vigorous debate. In this course, there will be a discussion of about the present and potential future products of the biotechnology industry and the ethical, environmental and economic issues that arise from their use.

Steven Rothstein teaches in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.