Winter 2005

01 Mixed Messages: A Cultural History of Advertisement in 18c England

02 Blood is Not For Sale

03 Dialogues/Human Rights in New Times

04 Western Mysticism

05 The Art of Communicating Science

06 Rebel Musics: Social Justice and Human Rights in Global Popular Music

07 Human Rights and Social Change

08 Exploring the Landscape of Scotland

10 Politics, Painting and the Paramilitaries

12 Chocolate, Coffee, and Globalization

13 Pinioning Pegasus: Our Interactions with the Horse

15 Human Health + Natural Environments

17 The Future of Biotechnology

18 Genes and Immunity

19 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science - From Plato to Web-Surfers

20 Say What You Mean: Communicating for Success

21 The Art + Science of Imaging: A Blend of Fact + Fancy

22 Sex in the 21st Century: How and Why?

23 Theatre LGBTQ

24 Animal Welfare: Does It Matter?

25 The Science and History of Chocolate

26 The UPS and DOWNS of Living Organisms

27 The Skinny on Fat: Obesity Today

28 Your Vote Counts

29 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science - From Plato to Web-Surfers

 

01 Mixed Messages: A Cultural History of Advertisement in 18c England

This course will concentrate on four themes or questions in English cultural history, connecting the stand 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. 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 through the century.

The seminar will introduce students to basic historical techniques such as reading and deciphering "old" texts, will encourage students to become more reflective about the commercial world in which they too live, and aid them understand the origins of that commercial world. It will combine practice in applying historical techniques of reading, gathering, analyzing and argumentation with more general academic skill-development in seminar presentation, oral and written competence, and overall topic mastery.

Donna Andrew teaches in the Department of History.

 

02 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. It will also deal with culture because (thanks partly to globalization) as the apparent explanatory capacity of power rose, that of culture fell. 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 (family feud) and independence movement in Corsica, social change in rural Ontario, and terrorism in America. Students will have an opportunity to conduct their own original research on aspects of power, and this will be a major dimension of the course.

Stan Barrett teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

 

03 Dialogues/Human Rights in New Times

The concept of egalitarian human rights did not meaningfully 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.

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

 

04 Western Mysticism

All major religions combine faith with reflection. On one hand we're asked to accept many things on faith because they can't be proven; on the other hand even if they can't be proven we want to understand them as far as possible, and so the reflective side of religion arises in the spirit of "faith seeking understanding". There is a further division within reflective religion, between rationalist and mystical traditions. The rationalist tradition tries to understand the ultimate principle, as much as possible, by means of concepts, logic, and argument (in Western religions the ultimate principle is God, and the rationalistic tradition is theology). The mystical tradition tries to understand the ultimate principle, as much as possible, by experiencing it directly, without concepts (when mystics require concepts to speak to us, they keep them to a minimum). Because mysticism resists concepts it doesn't receive much attention in philosophy courses, except where it is one of the dominant traditions, as in Indian Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy. The present course is meant to make up for the fact that none of our courses regularly explores mystical philosophers from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions (which are "Western" religions only by contrast with India and East Asia). We'll explore the works of mystics from all three traditions, including both medieval and contempo­rary. For example, from Judaism we'll study Kaballah and Hassidism; from Christianity classic texts like The Cloud of Unknowing and The Dark Night of the Soul , as well as contemporary writers like Evelyn Underhill, Simone Weil, and Thomas Merton; and from Islam Sufi thinkers such as Al-Gazali and Ibn Arabi.

Ken Dorter teaches in the Department of Philosophy.

 

05 The Art of Communicating Science

This seminar programme will explore the skills which are involved in communicating science 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. Students will be involved in individual and group-based learning projects in developing their own skills. To facilitate small group activities, the seminar group will be sub-divided into two, and activities will be scheduled as 90 minute sessions. The two groups will come together at times to share their ideas in an interactive forum.

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

 

06 Rebel Musics: Social Justice and Human Rights in Global Popular Music

From Thomas Mapfumo to Bob Marley. William Parker to Frank Zappa. Edgard Var P se to Ice-T. Negativland to Rage Against the Machine . Plunderphonics to Chilean canto nuevo . Blues to West African drumming. Abbey Lincoln to Ani DiFranco. Paul Robeson to Gil Scott-Heron. Hip hop to son . Chicano punk to Zorn and Braxton. Gospel singing to rock' n roll cabaret. Screaming panic noise to folk lyricism. Free jazz to diasporic, intercultural mix-ups. Rebel musics are aligned with some of the most trenchant critiques of global politics, colonialism, neoliberalism, and democracy at risk. And their expressive powers speak directly to the worldwide struggles for civil rights and meaningful justice that remain the most pertinent of human concerns in the here and now.

What does it mean to practice political resistance through music making? What sounds animate liberatory, solidary discourses? How has music come to be the "weapon of the future"? How are human rights and music making explicitly linked? How do rebel musics, in spite of forces that seek to either commodify or marginalize them, continue to activate diverse energies of critique and inspiration? Why are truly rebel musics so often a function of intercultural collisions? What kinds of concrete models for alternative community practices and political organization do rebel musics provide? How does musical activism resonate in practical, political terms?

This course examines some of these questions in relation to a diverse range of musical practices and performers. Please be advised that the course does not envision music as a singular force in the complicated and emergent scenario that is the global struggle for equitable rights and social justice. Rather it will try to show how a wide variety of musickings play an important and often neglected role in that struggle--a role that must be understood in conjunction with multiple other sites in which the same battles are being waged. The diverse ways in which sonic projections, multiple musickings, have produced an impact on human rights and social justice issues is the subject, then, of this course.

And this course also interrogates the question of the degree to which so called rebel musics actually have had an impact on rights issues, either through (among others) the expression and consolidation of solidarity with rights initiatives, through playing a key role in the pedagogy of rights culture in the dissemination of pertinent information, through the activation of the emotive powers that are all too often detached from the actual instruments of rights legislation, through the raising of money for rights causes, and through participation in the development of the kinds of critical consciousness without which rights discourses would be impossible.

Daniel Fischlin teaches in the School of English and Theater Studies.

 

07 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, and will offer students innovative opportunities to reflect on the connections between academic work and broader struggles for social justice, human rights, and a politics of hope.

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

 

08 Exploring the Landscape of Scotland

In this course you will join the professor in an intellectual journey to explore literature, maps, and websites, as we work together to understand the landscape of Scotland. 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. We will explore the concept of 'landscape' itself, and then examine how different factors such as geology, soils and climate, as well as many aspects and time periods of Scotland's history help define today's landscape. 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; students from any academic background are welcome. Students themselves will learn to take responsibility for their own learning, including developing the content of the course through their own research. Particular emphasis will be placed on becoming familiar with using the library.

Stewart Hilts teaches in the Department of Land Resource Science.

 

10 Politics, Painting and the Paramilitaries

Since the late 1960s, sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland has made for gruesome headlines and an equal measure of political hand-wringing. Characterized by a near pathological obsession with history and the seeming intractability of its protagonists, The Troubles (as the period is commonly called) has provided 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 within the larger context of Irish culture. We will examine everything from the commissioning of the work and debates over subject matter, to 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 Kissick is the Director of the School of Fine Art and Music.

 

12 Chocolate, Coffee, and Globalization

 

This course explores the social, cultural, and environmental shape of globalization through the study of two tropical commodities: coffee and cacao. While coffee originated in Africa 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 around the world, particularly in Europe and North America. The course will begin with the domestication of these plants, and follow their evolution from traditional goods with religious significance, to expensive luxuries available to only the wealthiest Europeans, to the inexpensive, commonplace foods they are today. The course will draw on perspectives from history, anthropology, and the environmental sciences.

This course also aims to help students develop critical skills in research and reading, such as finding, evaluating, and identifying primary and secondary sources. Students will learn how to develop their analytical voices, through short writing assignments, classroom discussion, and doing a short research paper.

Stuart McCook teaches in the Department of History.

 

13 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 Biomedical Sciences.

 

15 Human Health + Natural Environments

 

Designers, specifically, landscape architects have been creating environments to meet certain functional objectives ranging from ecological sustainability to creating livable communities since the mid-1800s. The most striking benefit of these activities is the growing body of scholarship that links human psychological and physiological well-being to natural environments. In the last twenty years more and more hospitals, office workplaces and schools have adopted a 'green is good for you' approach to creating supportive and healthy environments for work, play and learning. This course will examine the bio-evolutionary basis behind our preference for natural environments, the link between landscape beauty and human well-being, the basics of designing for human health and trends in practice such as therapeutic gardens in hospitals, green technology in buildings and wilderness recreation. Field trips and outdoor exercises are an integral component of this course. The major product produced will be a written paper that explores some aspect of person-environment interactions.

Nate Perkins teaches in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development.

 

17 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.

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

 

18 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 explore scientific, social, political, and ethical aspects of the recent discoveries in the area of genetic control of disease, including gene therapy and other forms genetic manipulation. Other topics of interest will encompass genetics of transplantation, as well as 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. We may also venture to explore genetics of other complex traits, such as obesity and intelligence.

The main objective of the course is to encourage active learning among students. As a result, student participation is perceived as the key to the success of this course. The other important objective of the course is to develop an appreciation for research. The meetings will be formatted to promote critical thinking, to improve oral and written communication skills, and to enhance the ability of students to synthesize new ideas based on the existing facts.

Shayan Sharif teaches in the Department of Pathobiology

 

19 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science - From Plato to Web-Surfers

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 is the President of the University of Guelph. Jacqueline Murray is the Dean of the College of Arts.

 

20 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. This seminar course will examine communication issues, focusing on barriers to communication and effective methods of communication. The course will cover the foundations of communication, verbal and non-verbal communication and group communication. Time will also be spent on intercultural communication.

Students will be required to apply the theory to practical application through assignments and projects. Assignments will allow students to practice written communication skills, oral communication skills and take advantage of technology to enhance communication. 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.

 

21 The Art + Science of Imaging: A Blend of Fact + 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 a 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.

 

22 Sex in the 21st Century: How and Why?

Why is there sex? What do preserving endangered species, curing H.I.V., preventing hereditary diseases and creating designer babies have in common? This course will first quickly establish the basics, how males and females are different and how they are the same. Then we'll discuss the a.r.t. of sex - that's Applied Reproductive Technologies - and explore, discuss and argue the pros and cons of using and policing techniques ranging from artificial insemination to gene modification to cloning. For approximately the first half of the course, each week will explore a different aspect of reproduction, with the prof alternating lectures with class discussions based on directed readings. Then student seminars will explore various ways to manipulate reproduction, and everyone will join in discussing the benefits, downsides and implications to society of the manipulations.

Mary Buhr is the Assistant Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College.

 

23 Theatre LGBTQ

Lesbian and gay drama. Queer theatre. What's the difference, and does it matter? This seminar is devoted primarily to contemporary "queer theatre" (a wily term)-to the artistic, political, legal, social and performative nuances of presenting for public consumption plays that put questions of sexual orientation and gender identity front and centre. We will explore the role contemporary plays, playwrights, and companies have performed in the rise of the civil rights movement for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people, with an emphasis on recent work in theatres in North America, Australia, and the UK. We will investigate the assumptions that underlie those plays and performances and the implications for social change that follow from them. Assignments include a performance review, a seminar research project and paper, several reading responses, and group attendance at one or two theatre performances. Please note that some of the playscripts we study and performances we attend may contain sexually explicit materials. There will be ample opportunities for independent research and analytic writing.

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

 

24 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.

 

25 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 Marangoni teaches in the Department of Food Science.

 

26 The UPS and DOWNS of Living Organisms

This seminar course will focus on interdisciplinary answers to the above statement. Some of the viewpoints from which this topic will be discussed but not necessarily confined to are: Biological, Body postural orientation, Psychological, Economic, Geographic and Cultural.

The format of the course will be a class self-directed discussion along with a brief literature review of the pertinent topics discussed. Class members will be expected to present a short oral and written synopsis of their literature review and comprehension of the discussed topics. Each class member will be expected to participate in the evaluation of their own as well as other class members' work.

Fred Ramprashad is the Associate Dean of the Bachelor of Science program and Associate Professor.

 

27 The Skinny on Fat: Obesity Today

What is obesity? This course will discuss issues around obesity in today's society such as: fat and sex differences; the economic impact of obesity; "fast food" issues; the nature of eating disorders; and genetic and environmental factors involved with obesity.

Terry Graham is the Chair of the Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences.

 

28 Your Vote Counts

Your vote counts - more than you might think. Unfortunately, a growing number of people, particularly young people, are finding that hard to believe. In the 2000 federal election, 80 percent of those aged 58-67 voted while only 22 percent of 18 to 20 year-olds turned out to the polls. Should this be a concern? Overall, voter apathy is on the rise. In 2004, federal voter turnout was 60.5% down from 75.3% in 1998. Voter turnout in municipal elections is even worse averaging between 30 and 40% of the eligible voters. Does this even matter? This course will broadly explore the implications of this growing democratic deficit and the impact it may be having on political representation and decision making. Are the values and issues that are important to young people being represented in the halls of our democratic institutions? How might our political systems be contributing to the current malaise? What does it mean to be a citizen? Do our politicans know what it means? Are there other models that might better serve society? What is the role of academic institutions and civil organizations in a democratic society? These questions and more will be explored with the students along with a "behind the scenes" look at City Hall and how some of these issues play out in the "real world" of politics. This course will use a facilitated, participatory approach combining lectures, presentations, guest speakers, discussions, and debates along with in-class and out-of-class exercises. Student participation is critical to the success of this course. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon their experiences in the classroom and personal experience as they interpret current events and real life situations outside of the classroom.

Karen Farbridge is an instructor in the Department of Political Science and the former mayor of the City of Guelph.

 

29 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science - From Plato to Web-Surfers

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 is the President of the University of Guelph. Jacqueline Murray is the Dean of the College of Arts.