Winter 2007

01 Sex, Gender & Sexuality

02 The Politics, Science & Policy of the Environment

04 Organic Agriculture and You

05 Beyond Literacy: Are Reading and Writing Doomed? (Orality, Literacy and Post Literacy)

06 Say What You Mean - Mean What You Say

07 Making Poverty History

08 Rags Seldom Turn to Riches

09 Forbidden Knowledge and Dangerous Ideas

10 The Art of Communicating Science

11 Equine Sciences: What's New and Exciting?

12 Martian Gardens - Engineering Ecosystems for Space Exploration

13 Citizens of Today - Leaders of Tomorrow

14 Food as Medicine

15 Philosophy Through Popular Film

16 Screening Other Canadas

18 Games, Decisions, and Economic Behavior

19 Exploring the Landscape of Scotland

20 Emerging Diseases

22 The Savvy Surfer

23 The Skinny on Fat

24 Immunity and Health

25 Our Environmental Conscience - Does it Make a Difference?

26 Human Health and Natural Environments.

27 Nobel Laureates: The Fruits of Their Labours

28 Understanding Why We Eat What We Eat: The Nature of Food Choices

30 World Religions and the Environment

31 The Future of Biotechnology

32 The Art of Love: A History of Love and Its Representation from Plato to Shakespeare

33 Dialogues/Human Rights in New Times

 

01 Sex, Gender & Sexuality

Alastair Summerlee

This course is a thematic approach to the study of culture, science and beliefs about sex and sexuality, spanning from ancient to modern times. Students will develop research and communication skills to be able to debate, analyze critically, and respect diversity of opinion about the arts and science of sex, gender and sexuality through the study of a series of cases. There will be continuous feedback about progress towards the goals of the course involving an interactive discussion between participants and a formal assessment at the end of the semester.
 

02 The Politics, Science & Policy of the Environment

Alastair Summerlee

There are many environmental challenges facing the natural world and the conflict with Developing societies, trade and multi-lateral organizations and government. Students will study a series of relevant problems and debate and analyze the way politics and politicians can and/or should respond to these challenges. There will be continuous feedback about progress towards the goals of the course involving an interactive discussion between participants and a formal assessment at the end of the semester including the preparation of the interactive case presentation for sustainable development of the City.
 

04 Organic Agriculture and You

E. Ann Clark

Organics is probably the fastest growing sector in the agriculture and food system today. From a tradition of farmgate and natural food store offerings, organics has now expanded into the mainstream food system. What does the word ‘organic’ really mean? Why does organic food cost more? Is organic food healthier? How is organic food produced? How are animal health and welfare promoted on organic farms? How can you be sure that products really are ‘organic’? Is organic farming going to become the standard of practice in an energy-limited future? Would large scale adoption of organic practice retard - or accelerate - the ongoing decline in rural community integrity? This course will address these and other questions raised by the explosion of organics onto the agricultural landscape and into your neighborhood supermarket.
 

05 Beyond Literacy: Are Reading and Writing Doomed? (Orality, Literacy and Post Literacy)

Michael Ridley

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 a 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.
 

06 Say What You Mean - Mean What You Say

Brenda Whiteside

Effective leaders are those who can identify needs and effect change to produce solutions. Effective communication is a critical requirement for such successful change management. 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. Students will be required to apply the theory to practical application through group assignments and projects.
 

07 Making Poverty History

Craig Pearson and Michael Nightingale

This first year interdisciplinary seminar is designed to give students an introduction to the nature of poverty in developing countries from several perspectives including: political; economic; and environmental. Students will explore poverty within and between developing countries, opinions on why gaps exist between rich and poor nations, and whether poverty can be made history. During the semester students will complete a group study project on the poverty in a particular country in Africa, Asia or South America.
 

08 Rags Seldom Turn to Riches

Michael Nightingale

This first year seminar is designed to explore the nature of inequality and poverty in Canada, the US and Britain and to explore opinions on why gaps exist between the rich and the poor. Students will explore the topics from different perspectives: historical, political; economic; and social, compare opinions on why gaps exist between rich and poor and how inequality and poverty are described in literature, film and media. During the semester students will complete a group study project on poverty in a particular city, town or rural area in North America.
 

09 Forbidden Knowledge and Dangerous Ideas

Nancy Schmidt and Mary Wilson

Galileo’s universe, Darwinian evolution, gender equality, reproductive technology, religious freedom, lesbian/gay/bi-/transgender sexuality, and peer-to-peer Internet file sharing – some discoveries and ideas have been considered so threatening, so revolutionary or subversive that they have been met with opposition and resistance in the form of banning, destruction, censorship, and silencing. Authors and proponents of forbidden knowledge have suffered death, imprisonment, exile, and social isolation as a result of publicly revealing their convictions. But what is dangerous to one person or segment of society may in fact be liberating or a “truth” to another.

Through readings, case studies and films we will investigate critically why some ideas are deemed to be too dangerous for unfettered public distribution and the processes by which knowledge has been and continues to be controlled. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of critical reading, analysis, and library research skills for use in group discussions and in the writing of reflective papers.
 

10 The Art of Communicating Science

Mike Emes

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.

During the course there are four major assignments, one of which involves Community Service Learning which can include work with local schools and community groups (such as Give Yourself Credit, a downtown program aimed at encouraging street youth back into education). Evaluation of student performance in the course is based on continual assessment.
 

11 Equine Sciences: What's New and Exciting?

Michael Lindinger

There are many new research and clinical developments in the equine sciences. Some of these are of benefit to the equine athlete, some to the horse that is lame and some to those with a variety of diseases. Many of these developments bridge across scientific disciplines. Increasingly, molecular and cellullar physiology tools are being used to help us understand normal and pathophysiological problems. A brief listing includes rider-horse biomechanics, exercise physiology, osteoarthritis, equine encephalitis, artificial insemination and nutrition. The purpose of this course module is to introduce you to some of these topics, and allow you to share your interest in one of these to the rest of the group.
 

12 Martian Gardens - Engineering Ecosystems for Space Exploration

Mike Dixon

When humankind begins the colonization of the moon or Mars, we will be bringing along more of Earth than one might think. A number of space and government agencies around the world, including researchers at the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, University of Guelph, are involved in the design and engineering of self-contained ecosystems based on Earthly biological processes. These processes can be harnessed, with complementary physical and chemical technologies to support human life (food production, air revitalization, psychology) in the hostile conditions of space.

Using a problem based learning approach, students registered in this seminar course will study a variety of international projects devoted life support systems development including those of the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency and NASA. Students will rely on each other’s interdisciplinary background to design a Martian habitat and life support system that is sustainable, while meeting the challenges of keeping crew happy in a sealed environment. The political issues associated with human space exploration and the ethical questions it arises will be tackled using a variety of group discussions, presentations and debates.

The course instructors highly encourage enrolment from students with backgrounds and interest in a variety of disciplines including the life and physical sciences, the social sciences and engineering.
 

13 Citizens of Today - Leaders of Tomorrow

Laurie Schnarr

Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodale, Stephen Lewis, Craig Kielburger, Mother Teresa and Louis Riel.... Our history is replete with examples of exceptional people whose courage and tenacity resulted in transformative and enduring social change. But are such acts of leadership the purview of only the most high profile, outspoken or gifted among us? This seminar will explore various manifestations of leadership and civic engagement – from volunteerism through to voting, protesting, and alternative politics – and the factors that prevent or promote active participation in civic life. This is a course in action. We will explore citizenship and leadership themes by investigating local, national and global issues of social significance, and we'll identify concrete strategies that could be employed to bring about real change. An integrated service experience, class discussions, regular analysis of mass media coverage, a diverse range of guest speakers, and social observation will ground our investigation of this complex topic.
 

14 Food as Medicine

William Bettger

This course examines the concept that the incorporation of specific foods and food ingredients into the diet can reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases. ‘Functional foods and nutraceuticals for specific health purposes’ is a rapidly developing area of complementary and alternative medicine. The emerging role of these products in the Canadian healthcare system, and in self-healthcare, is studied.
 

15 Philosophy Through Popular Film

Peter Eardley

This seminar is an introduction to perennial issues within philosophy through the use of popular film. Films such as the Matrix, Hitchcock’s Rope, Minority Report and Lord of the Flies will be viewed, discussed and analyzed in light of the philosophical issues they raise. Themes to be treated will include: justice and racial and gender equality, the problem of free will, whether human beings can have certain knowledge, and whether we have reason to be moral. Authors to be treated will include Aristotle, Martin Luther King Jr., Kant, Lorraine Code and Nietzsche. Because the course is a seminar, student presentations and oral participation will comprise its core component.
 

16 Screening Other Canadas

Elaine Chang

In this course, we will examine Canadian film and video works produced by minority and independent artists. Considering examples from different genres together with critical texts, historical documents, and other cultural materials (including visitors' lectures and artists' interviews), we will discuss how film and video construct, challenge, and reconstruct individual and collective, national and transnational identities. Particular emphasis will be placed on Asian Canadian film and video art.
 

18 Games, Decisions, and Economic Behavior

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 behavioral 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.
 

19 Exploring the Landscape of Scotland

Stewart Hilts

Some of the oldest known but mysterious historic sites in the world, the impact of the Vikings, the fortified castles of the early middle ages, and the tourist's view of the Scottish Highlands - these are some of the ideas you'll explore in this class. Based on a major research project you will undertake, we will share our learning about one of the most fascinating landscapes in the world. You'll come to understand how there can be two views of history, on issues such as such as the 'clearances' - the story of evil landlords or ambitious and successful pioneers. You'll learn how Scotland is really part of North America (geologically). You'll learn how a concept such as 'landscape' can link history or literature and place, people and the land they live in, arts and science. You'll learn how to use the library and develop advanced skills that will help in all your future courses. One of our strongest exchange programs is with Scotland; explore the place in this course and then consider going for a visit. Your final assignment is to design your own tour!
 

20 Emerging Diseases

Gordon Hayward

Emerging diseases such as SARS, AIDS, Avian Influenza and Prion Diseases present novel challenges to our health care and other civil structures. Although the medical aspects of these diseases are important, this seminar course will focus on non-medical topics such as disease origins, species barriers, spread, containment and preparedness. The course will include analyses of press reports in terms of the underlying science and politics, surveys of the current status of the diseases and analyses of the current case handling protocols. The work will be carried out by small groups of students and presented to the whole class.
 

22 The Savvy Surfer

Blair Nonnecke and Judi McCuaig

This course will introduce the student to the perils and possibilities of life in the online fast lane. Use of seatbelts is recommended, but not enforced. Topics include surfing, shopping, socializing, satiating, singing, searching and synchronizing in the online world.
 

23 The Skinny on Fat

Terry Graham

This course will discuss issues around obesity in today's society. It is difficult in today’s society not to be confronted with issues about body image and fatness. The government is preoccupied with health care costs, various health agencies are warning about the ‘obesity epidemic’, every week a new diet fad is announced and the food industry is offering a wide range of products on the basis of claims for weight control and health. The human is a very complex organism and our adipose distribution has evolved to serve biological purposes. The students will investigate and discuss adipose/fat, its biological roles and its relationships with ill health problems. Topics will include ethnic and sex differences; the economic impact of obesity; “fast food” issues; diet and exercise; eating disorders; and genetic and environmental factors involved with obesity. There will be opportunities to be involved in community-based projects within Guelph.
 

24 Immunity and Health

Azad Kaushik

The course would involve independent self-directed learning on contemporary topics related to 'Immunity and Health'. Such topics may include current issues affecting the community at large concerning immune system and health in humans and across species. These may include emerging infections, disease prevention through immunizations and scientific advances. This may involve historical perspectives or major scientific advances in the field, e.g., research resulting in award of Nobel Prize. The students will meet once every week for a seminar or discussions on a topic. The grade will be evaluated through seminar presentation and a term paper.
 

25 Our Environmental Conscience - Does it Make a Difference?

Bev Hale

This first year interdisciplinary seminar is designed to explore the motives and effectiveness of various efforts to mitigate the effects of the human footprint on environmental health. Students will explore the evolution and current state of environmentalism in the developed world relative to issues such as greenhouse gas emission, natural resource exploitation and waste disposal. The influence of environmentalism on public opinion and government regulation will be explored. During the semester, the students will complete a group study project of how an environmental issue is shaped by environmentalism, focusing on the contrast between developed and developing economies.
 

26 Human Health and Natural Environments

Nate Perkins

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.
 

27 Nobel Laureates: The Fruits of Their Labours

Judith Strommer

Nobel Prizes have been awarded each year since 1901 to recognize outstanding contributions to physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature and peace. Members of this UNIV 1200 class will identify Nobel awards of special interest, and use the eyes of history, and an in-class discussion format, to evaluate the relative significance of their contributions. The course will involve library and web-based research, in-class discussion, and submission of short papers throughout the semester.
 

28 Understanding Why We Eat What We Eat: The Nature of Food Choices

John Cranfield and Spencer Henson

Food choice is complex and this seminar will introduce the vast array of factors recognized as having an impact on food choice, how such choices reflect fundamental consumer values and how economic phenomena shape the food product landscape. Students will explore these issues by considering question such as: what things do we actually think of as food; how do food choices reflect what we hold as core values and ethics; who really decides what we eat; how do new technologies (such as transgenic engineering and genetic modification) affect consumer’s food choices; how has industrialization of agriculture affected the selection of foods consumers have available to them; how do health concerns affect food choices; and how has globalization affected food choices? These questions will be explored in the context of public health and agricultural policies. Students will be engaged in these issues via classroom and on-line discussion, in-class presentations and a group project.
 

30 World Religions and the Environment

O.P. Dwivedi and Praveen K. Saxena

In order to truly comprehend the role of humanity in the world, we must understand the human-environment interactions on which all life depends. Since the beginning of human civilization, the religious and spiritual beliefs, and cultural traditions have continually provided insights into ways of living in harmony with nature. Science, on the other hand, has nurtured the desire to unravel underlying mysteries of nature creating technology to better our life style. The course requires the study of the evolution and the relationship between human beings and the environment with respect to science, world religions, and cross cultural traditions; as such the course deals with the role of science/technology in shaping our attitudes towards nature, its impact on all species, and the response by various world religions and spirituality. Further, the dynamic nature of biotechnology is continually challenging our views regarding religion and science. These aspects, including the ethics of technology will be explored in the course. A special feature of this course is to understand the role and impact of plants on the environment; because in all biological processes of this universe, plants are unique mediators, consumers, and producers of these essential components of nature. Finally, the course hopes to create a foundation for constructive understanding of cross cultural and comparative issues, especially the commonalities that exist in science and world religious traditions.
 

31 The Future of Biotechnology

Steve Rothstein

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.
 

32 The Art of Love: A History of Love and Its Representation from Plato to Shakespeare

Sally Hickson

This course examines Western philosophies of love and its representation in art from the ancient Greeks to the early moderns in the time of Shakespeare. One of Plato’s great philosophic concerns, in his Symposium, was the nature of love and its importance in human experience. While on the one hand the Roman writer Ovid was celebrated for his retelling of the loves of the gods in his Metamorphoses, he was exiled from the Emperor’s court for the explicit nature of his Art of Love.

In the medieval period, with its hierarchies of social and philosophical order, these dualities of the spiritual and the sensual were redefined in the courtly mode, described in the Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, in poems like the Roman de la Rose and in the Arthurian tales. Embedded in these stories are philosophies of sensation, desire and chivalry that are given pictorial expression in the famous Unicorn Tapestries (those in the Cluny Museum in Paris and the ones in the Metropolitan Museum in New York).

In the Renaissance, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera express new currents of neo-Platonic thought, told in allusive symbolism drawn from sources as varied as Greek and Roman mythology, the sonnets of Petrarch and medieval allegory. At the same time, Renaissance writers like Marsilio Ficino, Pietro Bembo and Baldassare Castiglione renew Plato’s philosophic debates in contemporary dialogues on the nature of love, while Ariosto’s Orlando is driven mad in his pursuit of the same.

Finally, in Romeo and Juliet, and in his later Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare gives new emotional depth and expression to the experience of love against the backdrop of its cumulative symbolism throughout the history of art. This course examines the philosophy and iconography of love in the Western tradition through the analysis of text and image.
 

33 Dialogues/Human Rights in New Times

Patrick Case

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.