Winter 2014

UNIV*1150 DE - Politics, Science and Culture of Hunger

01 - Stem Cell Research & Society: An Evaluation of Issues Concerning Societal & Scientific Dilemmas of Stem Cell Research

02/03 - Health Care, Diversity & The Art of Living

04 - Citizen Leader 101

05 - Dark Tourism

06 - Open Ears: The Art and Science of Listening

07 - "Go Anywhere Do Anything": Responding to Global Humanitarian Crisis

08 - Confronting Cultural Dilemmas

09/10 - Sex, Drugs and HIV: The Hidden Faces of Canada's Epidemic

11 - Pathways to Global Citizenship

12 - Changing the Nature of Photography

13 - Growing Great Kids

14 - I Fought the Law

15 - The Social Life of Information

16 - Beyond Literacy: Exploring a Post-Literate Future

17 - Modern Green Innovations: Can Green roofs, Vertical Farming, Urban Agriculture, and Hydroponics Solve Problems in Our Society?

18 - Invisible Yet Invincible: The Unseen World of Germs

19 - Communicating Science

20 - The Art of Everything: Exploring the Creative Process

21 - The Strange Harmony Between Humans and Horses
 

UNIV*1150 DE - Politics, Science and Culture of Hunger

Jacqueline Murray

We will focus on one of the most pressing challenges confronting societies across the globe: the pervasiveness of hunger. We will examine hunger as a lived experience, and the challenges that face those who are working to eradicate it. Topics will include global economic and political forces; science and technology, particularly as they relate to agriculture; the interplay of governmental and non-governmental agencies, along with supra-governmental agencies such as the United Nations, the World Food Program and the International Monetary Fund; and the importance of culture and beliefs in shaping attitudes towards hunger in the developed and developing world. Comments from students who have taken this online seminar are available via youtube videos.
This is a 1 credit seminar.

01 - Stem Cell Research & Society: An Evaluation of Issues Concerning Societal & Scientific Dilemmas of Stem Cell Research

Roman Poterski

Stem cell research is a relatively new discipline of science
It grew out of pioneering work on mice by Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till of University of Toronto in 1963. In 1981 Gail R. Martin of University of California at San Francisco developed a technique for extracting stem cells from mouse embryos and created the term “embryonic stem cells”
More recently, in 1998, James Thomson of University of Wisconsin at Madison first developed a technique to isolate and grow human embryonic stem cells in cell culture dish. With Thomson’s discovery, humanity hoped for new treatments and cures for many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and endless other ailments. 
Despite a substantial progress to date and numerous applications already in clinical practice, stem cell research continuously faces many socio-scientific misconceptions.
 

02/03 - Health Care, Diversity & The Art of Living

Barry Townshend

Universal, publicly-funded health care is one of Canada’s most cherished values and yet it is an imperfect system.  It has the power to change our lives – keeping us healthy and ensuring our dignity, or leaving us in pain, impoverished and feeling powerless.  It’s a system that we all must rely on for life saving treatments and limiting our ailments, and yet our backgrounds, identities and financial resources confer better services to some people and more limited services to others. 

Health care providers are both well intentioned and deeply committed to caring for the sick and dying, so where do things go wrong?  This interdisciplinary course draws on many different academic disciplines to explore the limits, challenges and opportunities that exist when it comes to our health, our lives and the things we cherish most.

This seminar relies heavily on facilitated small group discussions.  Students will explore issues that arise from a series of six to eight cases, designed to inspire curiosity, challenge assumptions and provide a foundation for each student to direct her/his own learning.  A written assignment will be submitted at the end of the semester, thereby allowing students to demonstrate what they have learned through a final case analysis.  The nature of the group discussions is such that attendance at all class meetings is mandatory.
 

04 - Citizen Leader 101

Laurie Schnarr

Nelson Mandela, Nellie McClung, Stephen Lewis, Terry Fox, Craig Kielburger, Mother Teresa, Louis Riel… 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, and grassroots movements to 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.  An integrated service experience, class discussions, regular analysis of mass media coverage, a diverse range of invited guests, and social observation will ground our investigation.

We will begin our journey by exploring leadership – what is it and how has leadership changed over time?  Are leaders born or made?  Can leadership be taught?  What are the key skills, attitudes and behaviours that distinguish strong leaders from those who are not? What are the connections between leadership and social change?

We then turn our attention to civic engagement or ‘citizenship’ – a concept that has been variously defined over time – and pursue several questions... What does civic engagement mean in a Western context?  Are there generational differences in the way citizenship is perceived and manifested?  What are the factors that impede and promote civic engagement amongst youth?  What are examples of key social change initiatives that were advanced by grassroots organizations and resulted in transformative change?
 

05 - Dark Tourism

Brent McKenize

We all will die. But why would we want to travel to experience the morbid and the chilling as a tourist? This is the question that is explored in the study of "Dark tourism". Dark tourism as defined by Sharpley and Stone (2009) is "the act of travel to sites associated with death, suffering and the seemingly macabre". Although not new, in many societies, visiting sites associated with death is, and has been, a considerable part of the tourist experience; this can be seen in the practice of pilgrimage, one of the earliest forms of tourism. However, the commercial marketing of such locations to encourage tourist visitations is justly debated. The focus of this seminar is to explore the individual and societal motivations and fascinations with such experiences, as well as to better understand the impact that such tourism has on country and city image. This seminar will expose students to both domestic and international sites of "Dark tourism", and help them to learn how to frame examinations of a controversial phenomenon in an objective and critical fashion.
 

06 - Open Ears: The Art and Science of Listening

James Harley

This course will explore what it means to listen, and will use listening as a means to develop critical engagement. We hear sound all the time, we are surrounded by noise and music. But, how much do we actually listen? We will investigate the physiology of our precious hearing mechanism, the basic acoustics of sound and how sound is transduced, perception, issues of the ecology of our acoustic environments, and the social concerns relating to listening (earbuds and iPods, sound systems in cars, behavioral conventions of concerts/festivals, etc.). The course will also focus on sensitizing ourselves to listening through critical study of recording production (including compression and high-resolution digital sound), musical structure, relation of music to text. We will develop our awareness of sound in our environment and issues of “noise pollution” through sound-walk exercises. Readings pointing to historical representations of listening in a variety of contexts will be assigned for discussion and for contextualizing contemporary practice and awareness.
 

07 - "Go Anywhere Do Anything": Responding to Global Humanitarian Crisis

Susan Armstrong-Reid

Every year the international community responds to a number of new natural disasters as well as providing on-going humanitarian assistance in complex humanitarian crises that threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions worldwide. As the first responders to natural disasters, pandemics and to civilian casualties, displacement and human rights violations in conflict zones, humanitarian healthcare workers encounter danger and make difficult choices on a daily basis. This course examines the professional and personal leadership challenges that humanitarian workers confront in providing care, advocacy and promotion of health during a wide spectrum of humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War. Their changing leadership and agency roles provide an important window for understanding the interconnectivity and increased complexity of global health governance in the 21st century. 
 
Understanding student leadership opportunities to change lives for a healthier planet is also a critical issue that seminar participants probe together with the goal of developing venues to share their journey with the wider community. Many of our students engage in what has been termed “altruistic tourism” almost as right of passage of their university years. Hence, this course is intended to encourage and equip students, who wish to volunteer at home or abroad, with a better appreciation of the cultural sensitivity and maturity required to ‘do no harm’ while working in a transcultural environment riddled with pressing humanitarian needs.
 

08 - Confronting Cultural Dilemmas

Jacqueline Murray

This enquiry-based seminar will examine a variety of perplexing issues that emerge as a consequence of humans beings being social creatures that by nature live in communities. The development of communities and cultures has meant humanity has developed images of itself, and the cultures and societies it has created, We will have the opportunity to study questions pertaining to race, ethnicity, gender and diversity, and to explore the boundaries of ethical frameworks, toleration and human identity. We will reflect upon how communities, both fragile and robust, throughout history and across cultures, deal with difference and engage in the accommodation of others.
 

09/10 - Sex, Drugs and HIV: The Hidden Faces of Canada's Epidemic

Nathan Lachowsky

Approximately 68,000 people in Canada are currently living with HIV/AIDS. There is no vaccination, nor cure available. While prognosis with treatment has improved, an estimated 30% of HIV-positive individuals in Canada are unaware of their infection. Many of the populations most affected by this epidemic are already marginalized and discriminated against in our societies. Considering all this, how do we address an epidemic in a country as diverse as Canada? This seminar will provide a thematic approach to the investigation of the way that societies deal with HIV and AIDS. It is expected to raise questions about the way societies, cultures and communities face and deal with the HIV and AIDS epidemics with an emphasis on the public health, biomedical, social, business and political aspects of the HIV epidemic in Canada.
 

11 - Pathways to Global Citizenship

Jane Ngobia

This seminar will provide students an opportunity to strengthen their international perspectives and support their pursuit of international career and academic opportunities. We will draw on resources and opportunities available on campus, in order for students to develop their international and intercultural skills and explore ways in which an education at the University of Guelph supports student’s quest for a critical perspective and normative notions of international education, cross-cultural competence and global citizenship. We will examine the skills that form the foundation of global competence in order to work effectively in international settings. These include awareness of and adaptability to diverse cultures, perceptions and approaches; familiarity with the major currents of global change and issues; and the capacity for effective communication across cultural and linguistic boundaries.
 

12 - Changing the Nature of Photography

Blair Nonnecke

In the last 20 years, cameras have gone from mechanical devices using film to pocket-sized computers with pixels. As a result, photography has been transformed in dramatic ways. This seminar will investigate the history and technical aspects of photography (from film to digital) and the experience of taking/making photographs (and phlogging), with the goal of understanding and appreciating recent transformations in how we take, store, view and understand/interpret photographs. This will be a hands-on course where exploring the technology and taking photographs will trump the textbook Students will need to own or have access to a digital camera with the ability to control aperture and shutter speed (preferably a DSLR). In addition,  students will need a card reader and a laptop that can be brought to class.

During the semester, students will be shooting and printing from B&W film. To do so, students will need to join the Photo Arts Club (UC 269) at the beginning of the semester (http://www.uoguelph.ca/~paclub/faq.html). Students will be responsible for buying their own film and printing paper. Having access or owning a 35mm SLR camera is recommended although these can be borrowed from the Photo Arts Club.
 

13 - Growing Great Kids

John Beaton

This seminar will examine raising children from prenatal to age 12 from family systems and community development perspectives.  We will study child development from an ecological framework focusing on multiple factors, for example, a) family of origin, b) education, c) social-economic status, d) family structure, f) physical health, g) mental health, h) culture/race, and) i) spirituality.  We will also discuss raising children in various family forms, for example, a) two-parent families, b) single parent families, c) adoptive families, and d) special needs families.  Students will be given an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences of being parented, and explore ideas of best parenting practices (some students may already be parents and may reflect on their current parenting strategies).
 

14 - I Fought the Law

Elliott Allen

Our criminal and family courts are being asked to deal with major issues of public policy relating to the rights of individuals in their dealings with the state. In this Enquiry-Based seminar students will work collaboratively to explore scenarios based on current legal dilemmas. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we will examine the histories, current tensions and possible resolutions of conflicts in such areas as child welfare, drug use, political activism, racial profiling and prisoners’ rights.
 

15 - The Social Life of Information

Michael Ridley, Doug Horne, MJ D'Elia, Amanda Etches

Are we drowning in information, wading through it, surfing over it, or swimming in it? Is it coming at us like a fire hydrant or a wellspring? And what's with all these water metaphors anyway? Ubiquitous information is a dominant characteristic of our age. What is information? Where does it come from? Where does it go? Understanding the nature and behaviour of information allows us to create, use, and manage it more effectively.

Students will examine and enhance their learning skills through a series of assignments and in-class activities. These skills will be applied in the exploration of the nature of information as part of research investigations and class discussions or activities. The course focuses on the development of both individual skills and team-based learning.

The seminar will engage students in a way that will significantly enhance their success as students as they progress through their program. It will also reinforce the foundations of lifelong learning.
 

16 - Beyond Literacy: Exploring a Post-Literate Future

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 something beyond literacy. This course will explore the nature of oral cultures, the transformations enabled by literacy, and speculate about the concept of rich human communication beyond traditional literacy (e.g. “post-literacy”) that might evolve from advances in computing, biotechnology or other, as yet unimagined, developments. Students will examine and enhance their learning skills through a series of assignments and in-class activities. These skills will be applied in the exploration of literacy and the future of literacy as part of research investigations and class discussions. The seminar focuses on the development of both individual skills and team-based learning. The seminar aims to engage students in a way that will significant enhance their success as students as they progress through their program. It will also reinforce the foundations of lifelong learning.
 

17 - Modern Green Innovations: Can Green roofs, Vertical Farming, Urban Agriculture, and Hydroponics Solve Problems in Our Society?

Youbin Zheng

Green roof, vertical farming, urban agriculture, and hydroponics have become increasingly popular in our society as issues associated with an increasing population and urbanization become more apparent.  These systems have been used in greening our environment and producing local food. How much do you know about these systems and how much do you need to know to be involved in and contribute to these initiatives? Can these systems contribute to addressing our current environmental, food security, and social problems? This course is designed to provide students with the basic yet essential science behind these horticultural systems through engaged learning. Students will take a hands-on, holistic approach to discover answers as a class through site-visits and discussions, as well as independently through information searching, knowledge integration, and problem analyzing.  By learning about these horticultural systems, students will improve their critical thinking, written communication, and social academic skills to be prepared and inspired for future university learning experiences.
 

18 - Invisible Yet Invincible: The Unseen World of Germs

Michael Toh, Kyla Cochrane

Microbiology is an integral component of who you are – microbes surround you from the moment you are born, and they stay with you for your entire life. Microbes have influenced the course of history, affected the development of human society, and impacted human culture. They are a vital part of your everyday life. But you can't even see them!
This seminr will focus on the microbiological encounters of everyday life - past and present, real and fictional. We will cover a range of common and accessible microbiological concepts from different points of view. We will also explore popular (and sometimes controversial) microbiological myths. Our goal is to demystify microbiology for students in other fields, and we hope that after taking this course you will become intrigued the next time you see a science-related news article or a dangerous infectious disease on "CSI" and want to find out more.
 

19 - Communicating Science

Michael 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. To facilitate small group activities, the seminar group may, at times, be sub-divided, and activities will be scheduled as 90 minute sessions.  Groups will come together at times to share their ideas in an interactive forum. The goal of this seminar series is to recognize the importance of communication skills and to develop and enhance each student’s capabilities in the context of scientific issues. I hope we have a lot of fun, uncovering, fostering and developing our innate investigative and communication skills in a challenging environment.
 

20 - The Art of Everything: Exploring the Creative Process

John Cripton

A seminar designed to explore and reflect on the conjunction of the creative process and some of the important aspects of our life experience, through round-table discussions, music and video presentations, and through creative explorations by seminar participants.

During the semester, students will examine aspects of the creative process and discuss how and where ideas originate. Through conversations, first-hand observations, readings, and live presentations by invited guests and the students themselves, participants will be introduced to the effectiveness of innovation and the creative process. Areas to be explored and discussed include the visual arts, music, poetry, theatre, propaganda and the art of the word, the enlightenment and human rights, and innovation and the environment.
 

21 - The Strange Harmony Between Humans and Horses

Jeff Thomason

Humans and their close ancestors probably began hunting horses for food 30,000 BP, and started taming them for milk and transport about 5,500 BP.   Since that time the fates of both species have been intimately linked, to the point that domestic horses considerably outnumber their wild or feral relatives. The aim of this seminar is to dip into the pool of that shared history at a number of points, some to be chosen by the class, and tease out some details of the horse-human interaction.  Possible dipping points include the evolution of modern equids; their original taming; historical events that were shaped by the presence of the horse; shaping of the horse itself by breeding; symbolic and artistic representations over time; the value of the horse in commerce and war, and the current use for work, pleasure or performance.  The last point may be expanded to include the many ways in which humans and horses currently interact: the health-and-welfare issues of horse usage; therapeutic interactions; the value chains in the different equine industries worldwide; issues around gambling on their performance, etc.  The course will begin with an information scavenger hunt on all aspects of the horse-human interaction, and discussion and selection of specific topics to be addressed in a problem-solving format for the remainder of the course.