Although oriented toward different modes of inquiry, both ARTS 130 and 140 will support instruction in the communication competencies outlined by the Steering Committee for the English Language Competency Initiative (SCELCI) and both support instruction in analytical thinking. This is the approved Undergraduate Calendar text for these courses:
ARTS 130 – Inquiry and Communication
This course provides an introduction to diverse intellectual modes of inquiry in the social sciences and humanities with an emphasis on the development of communication skills. In a small seminar setting, students will explore a variety of topics based on instructor expertise in order to build social awareness, ethical engagement, and communication competencies in comprehension, contextualization, and conceptualization. Students will be expected to engage with the work of others, articulate positions, situate writing and speaking within contexts, practice writing and speaking for situations beyond the classroom, engage in basic forms of research, and workshop, revise, and edit writing.
ARTS 140 – Information and Analysis
This course introduces students to diverse ways of finding, examining, and using data and information in the social sciences and humanities. In a small seminar setting, students will explore a variety of topics based on instructor expertise in order to understand quantitative and qualitative methods of data gathering and build competencies in conceptualizing, contextualizing, and comprehending methods of information analysis. Students will be expected to investigate, use, and assess the presentation of information in their own work and the work of others so that they can better understand the range of social, ethical, and political challenges of our world.
Please also review the ARTS 130 and ARTS 140 learning outcomes.
Fall 2020 Course Topics
More topics still to be added to Fall 2020 shortly.
Topics are listed in alphabetical order below, however they are not listed in alphabetical order in Quest.
ARTS 130 – Analysis of Psychology in Popular Culture
ARTS 130 – Art and Science, Science and Art
ARTS 130 – Black and Free
For centuries, against all kinds of odds, black people have insisted on being black and free. Come learn how this has had a wonderful and powerful impact on the world.
ARTS 130 – Big Tech
Capitalism is being transformed by the new digital economy and the emergence of ‘Big Tech’ firms such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. What are economic implications of the growing market power of these giant companies? Is Big Tech creating a new kind of surveillance capitalism that threatens privacy, individual freedom and democratic politics? Does dominance of the new data-driven economy generate the potential for broader social control? Can and should the power of Big Tech be constrained?
ARTS 130 – Cold War ReLIVEd
ARTS 130 – Crazy Talk: Hysteria and Popular Culture
ARTS 130 – Environment and Communication
This course examines and experiments with ways of communicating about, in, and with our environments. In particular, we investigate perspectives that help us think beyond simplistic boundaries between society and nature, and between artistic, scientific, and lived perspectives.
ARTS 130 – How to Challenge Anti-Black Racism
White supremacy and anti-Black racism did not ‘begin’ with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, D’Andre Campbell, or Regis Korchinski-Paquet. White supremacy and anti-Black racism are the building blocks of present-day society. So why are so many people struggling trying to figure out what they are and how to challenge them?This course will explore the historical roots of anti-Black racism and white supremacy in the Americas. Particularl emphasis will be placed on Canada’s settler colonial status; however, we will be pulling content from across the Black Atlantic. Following this historical grounding, the course will provide ‘real-world’ strategies on how to combat the ominous stench of white supremacy and anti-Black racism that is embedded deep within our society.
ARTS 130 – Intersecting Identity and Image
This course asks students to consider the relationship between images and the way that we think about ourselves and each other. How might popular culture and other image-based sources help “mediate” our identities, and what impact might it have on our everyday lives?
ARTS 130 – Just a Game? Sports and Society
ARTS 130 – Life Stories
Every human being has a story. This course examines the stories of a diverse array of people. In engaging the narratives of others, we not only expand our own horizons, but also consider our own stories and the contexts in which we live. How does one describe a life? And, how does knowledge about the lives of others offer us insight about our own life?
ARTS 130 – Media and Activism
In this course we will use a variety of formal and informal communicative and analytical methods to critically think about the ways that media shape activism.
ARTS 130 – My Language, My Life
In this course we will explore how we use language, and how we change language as we use it. How we use language defines our personal, academic, and professional identities. We will discover the tension between acceptance of and conformity to linguistic norms, and the resistance to and adaptation of those norms. We will reflect on how language practice influences where and with whom we believe we belong.
ARTS 130 – Our Monsters Ourselves
All of you are familiar with monsters. Our popular culture today is inundated with tales of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. At the very least, you cannot have escaped learning about the boogey man or ghosts as a child. In addition to supernatural creatures, monsters of the natural variety permeate our culture. Sociopaths, serial killers, and pedophiles are often referred to as monsters, while “monstrosities” and “freaks” are still (unfortunately) derogatory terms for people who are severely disabled. Finally, those who act in ways that disturb our social conventions or that defy our cultural values are sometimes charged with behaving monstrously. While the term “monster” is being used to refer to very different things in these examples, one of the assumptions of this class is that the term is functioning similarly in each of them. By “functioning,” I mean that the term is doing more than just describing something, but is actually creating something, making something happen. It is my hope that by the end of this course, you will not only better understand how monsters function in our culture, but also how cultural criticism allows us to be better readers of and actors in our world.
ARTS 130 – Perspectives on Migration
ARTS 130 – Realizing Reproductive Justice
Reproductive decisions occur within social, cultural, economic, and political structures that shape and limit one’s bodily autonomy. This course examines factors that constrain people’s reproductive freedom and how we can identify and overcome those barriers by employing the human rights approach that is a defining characteristic of reproductive justice.
ARTS 130 – Refuse: Canadian Literature in Ruins
In this course we explore how contemporary Canadian literature mirrors radical changes in Canadian culture, establishing new boundaries that reflect current conversations about sexism, racism, and colonialism.
ARTS 130 – Shop 'till You Drop
How and when did shopping take over our lives? What are we buying when we shop? Why do shopping malls look like theme parks and theme parks like shopping malls? Are tourism and our vacations just yet more theme park shopping malls? What about our homes? Can we ever shop in a way that breaks us out of the Giant Buy-o-Sphere? And what happens and what does it mean when we can't shop?
ARTS 130 – Social Justice and Social Development
In this course students will be asked to critically reflect on social justice issues from diverse and multiple perspectives.
ARTS 130 – What Do you Meme?
This course studies the impact of Internet memes on pop culture, politics, beleifes, and social identity. Why do we use them? How do they go viral? How do they produce cultures of inclusion and exclusion? Why do they matter?
ARTS 130 – What a Waste!
North America has a huge waste problem. Many of us toss out perfectly edible food, sometimes along with all the plastic in which our food is packaged. Many of us fall for fickle fashion trends only to bag and get rid of the same items a few months later. And how many of us have boxes and drawers full of e-waste as we constantly upgrade to the newest and fastest electronic devices? The mountainous heap of refuse we are leaving for future generations is evidence of how wasteful a culture we have become. In addition to considering material waste, this course will explore topics like zero-waste movements, the psychology of waste, various cultural perspectives on wastefulness, time-wasters and social pressures to always be productive, and the fear we all have of wasting our potential. By examining how we think about what we waste, we inextricably reflect on what we value.
ARTS 140 – Arts & the 4th Industrial Revolution
This course will provide students with the basic tools to excel in what Economist Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum, 2015) referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We will review the technological progress of society over the past 120 years, and provide the basic context used to delineate the different ‘revolutions’ which have brought us to our current state. The role of technologies such as Machine Learning, Autonomous Systems, Cyber-Physical Systems, Quantum Computing, Nanotech, and Additive Manufacturing (to name a few) will be reviewed in this context. This course is geared for providing a basic, comprehensive understanding of the elements driving the current paradigm shift, and for providing Arts students with the keys to successfully navigating the technological, commercial and social world which is being forged by these elements at the present moment.
ARTS 140 – Can We Measure Originality?
Can we quantify Shakespeare's talent? Is originality a fact or a value? This course explores the dynamic between cultural innovation and tradition and the data behind it.
ARTS 140 – Climate Change and the Future
What sort of planet will future people inherit? What, if anything, should be do now to protect that inheritance? In this course, we will learn to connect the present and the future.
ARTS 140 – Diasporas and Food Cultures
Over the last two centuries, globalization and the migration of communities has made available a medley of new foods available to the public. This course investigates how diasporas and the movement of cuisine have transformed the global food market and the dietary patterns of people.
ARTS 140 – Exploring the Anthropocene
How do people interact with the Earth? What does it mean to live in a world where humans and nature are inseparable? What, if anything, should be done about it? This course grapples with the brave new world where human activity overwhelms the natural world. To understand these ideas and debates on the Anthropocene, the proposed new geologic epoch. Here we will learn about how to identify different types of sources, how to gauge reliability, and introduce the basics of academic research and writing.
ARTS 140 – Fake News and Digital Tools
Can we trust the information that we find online? This course will examine the ways that Digital Humanities tools and methods can be used to better parse the online world around us, in order to help counter the proliferation and spread of fake news. Topics covered will include using the internet for academic research, academic integrity, RSS feeds for automated data collection, performing research using the archived web, and the ethics of working with internet-based sources.
ARTS 140 – Here! Art, Story, Canada
This course explores how art and story have constructed the place called "Canada" from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Pairing works of visual culture (paintings, drawings, photographs, film) that are often presented as iconically Canadian with poetry and narratives contemporary with them, it will focus on the critical analysis of text and media while also investigating the impact of historical, usually Eurocentric, modes of perception. A central organizing principle of the course will be the concept of the prospect, examined in terms of (1) physical and cultural perspectives that resonate through some of the most celebrated verbal and visual representations of this place, the land, and people; and (2) a temporal position that emphasizes the future over the present. What effect has the prospect had on the idea of Canada? How might all who dwell in Canada re-shape that vision, and what is at stake in doing so?
ARTS 140 – How the Sausage is Made:
We all gotta eat! And yet, we often have very different opinions and views on food. This course will explore topics that include the culture of food markets and marketing, nose-to-tail eating and farm-to-table movements, health and diet claims, food accessibility and insecurity, and the future of food. We will examine various genres that explore food — an examination likely to inspire us to reconsider our own perspectives on how and what we should eat. We will investigate how information, methods of analysis, and communication in food industries and the food sciences, for example, create knowledge (and influence attitudes) about our food. Gaining skills to assess, examine, and evaluate both qualitative and quantitative data, we will be better at determining differences between facts and values regarding food and health claims.
ARTS 140 – How to Win a Trade War
Globally, regionally, locally, and individually, people have been engaging in exchange for a very long time. We share a small planet together, which makes cooperation a compelling and enduring practice. Yet trade is portrayed dramatically in the media, and power imbalances are rife in economic relationships. This class looks at the irresistible incentives that people and countries have to engage in mutually advantageous trade and how the rules matter to global good outcomes.
ARTS 140 – Images at Work
An examination of the impact of visual and material culture by introducing the idea that images constitute a complex system. Content may include traditional artistic forms, such as painting and sculpture, in addition to popular film and television, architecture, popular culture, video game imagery, comics, and advertising. Visual and material culture help us understand bigger ideas, such as feminism and postcolonial theory, and by using data familiar to us, such as a popular television series, we can engage difficult theories and problems.
ARTS 140 – Kinds of Minds
This class will examine what it means to have a mind, and how we might have to change our traditional conception of a “mind-haver” in philosophy, psychology, theology, moral theory, and the law if we adopt a more expansive view of minded-ness. This more expansive view could include artificial minds and non-human animal minds, but also new ways of conceiving of human minds in technological and social context. What sorts of things possess beliefs or similar mental representations? What makes human minds special (if anything)? What minds matter morally? We will explore these and related questions.
ARTS 140 – Language Learning Truth(s)
Are you multilingual? Is it easy for you to learn languages? Multilingualism can be foundational to success in personal, academic, and professional fields. Therefore, learning languages efficiently is an important skill to develop. Our goal in this course is to become more efficient language learners by analyzing language in our environments. We will also consider prior research in the field of language learning.
ARTS 140 – Media Literacy and Research
Students will explore how the medium affects the message by isolating different forms of media and exploring their individual limitations and affordances. Students will analyze forms of media like comics, video games, photography, html, etc.
ARTS 140 – Mobile Technology & Society
History is fraught with eras that brought with them amazing social and cultural shifts, from the integration of the home television and home telephone in the past, to the recent explosion of mobile communication technologies and the growing expanses of the internet. This course provides students with an opportunity to delve into a wide range of substantive discussions around modern mobile technologies, like smartphones, while building a strong repertoire of core information and analysis skills that are specific to their own disciplinary interests. The course is designed to engage students in experiential learning through hands-on activities related to the exploration of recent technological developments in society, at both macro and micro levels of investigation. In considering overarching, cross-disciplinary thematic concepts like identity, behavior, relationships, and the place of politics, among many others, students will have a chance, in this course, to first, make sense of the role that contemporary technologies play in society, and second, to develop and build on the foundational abilities that will later help them to successfully complete their Arts degrees.
ARTS 140 – North American Free Trade
Canada trades intensively with several countries -- both as far as China, Japan, England, Europe and closer to home through cross-border trade with the United States and Mexico. The course goal is to engage students in doing research and writing about the economic effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the recent United States-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA). An important learning outcome is that students develop research skills in communication and collaboration with classmates through out the term.
ARTS 140 – Research in Video Game Studies
Video games are more than just time-killers or hobbies; they are complex social, cultural, and political products worth studying! You don’t have to be a “gamer” to do well in this class, just a person who wants to learn about games and how we study them. This class will explore the field of game studies through qualitative data collection and practice analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data about video games and/or games culture. Working in groups and independently, students will evaluate writing about and studies of games, including theoretical and academic, critical and design-focused, journalistic, and popular and enthusiast writing. We will also investigate cultural, material, and immaterial practices of games through playing some--after all, we have to play games to study them and engage with the social, ethical, political, and cultural processes and messages that games create through play. Approaching game studies through both humanities and social science methodologies, students will analyze their findings to come to meaningful conclusions about the games that surround many of us, sharing that knowledge to the many different audience of games including short academic essay, a game review, autoethnographic gameplay diaries, informative news blog posts, and even a research creation project in simple game design.
ARTS 140 – The Science of Happiness
What is happiness, and why do we strive for it? Can we become happier? Should we? Is happiness a good thing? Together we will explore these questions and others.