Online course descriptions
**1 course = 3 General Education Credits**
ENGL-1054-40 Around the World in 61 Days
From Gullivers Travels and The Mosquito Coast, to The Sex Lives of Cannibals and Travels with Charley, people have been both entertained and horrified by books and films that delve into why and where people travel and what they find when they get there. Travel literature and film emerges as a prominent genre in virtually all times and cultures. Travel narratives mediate between fact and fiction. They raise issues concerning power and self-perception, cultural representation as well as imagination. This course examines a variety of exciting voyages through the ages. Selected readings and film include accounts of actual travelers, purely fictional works and metaphoric narratives of moral and spiritual quests.
ENGL-1055-40 Vampires & Wizards
This course examines the evolution of literary representations of vampires and wizards by different cultures and communities over time. We will explore the themes of coming of age and the fear of the dark, as well as issues of sexuality, violence, boundary crossing and taboos, power dynamics, and the quest for immortality. Required readings will include short stories, poems, and excerpts from longer works; viewings will include films and TV episodes. The course will end in a culminating final project; please note there is no final exam.
HIST-1009-40 Contemporary History
Only by knowing where we came from can we begin to know where we are going. This course explores the important events of the 20th century or what has been referred to as the 'revolutionary century'. Through a global perspective, we will examine such monumental events as the First and Second World Wars, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Fascism, the Cold War and how they shaped the world today. The course will also focus on the economic, political and cultural significance of these events globally, focusing on a number of different countries.
HIST-1031-40 The Century of Genocide
Genocide the targeting of a group for destruction was so prevalent during the 20th Century that the period has been dubbed 'The Century of Genocide'. This course will examine genocide during the 20th Century with the purpose of helping students better understand what genocide is and the magnitude of genocide, what causes genocide, and how, if at all, genocide can be prevented or at least stopped. This course will examine what are considered to be the three seminal cases of genocide during the 20th Century: the Armenian Genocide (1915), the Holocaust (1933-1945), and the Rwandan Genocide (1994). This course will begin with an examination of what has unfolded in Darfur since 2003. Is Darfur the first genocide of the 21st Century?
HIST-1037-40 A History of the World in 15 Machines
This courses examines the history of technology by surveying some of the most significant inventions in human history. Students learn not only about the machines themselves, but also about the inventors responsible for their creation. Topics include the invention of the printing press, telescope, plow, cotton gin, automobile, and computer. By placing these inventions in their historical contexts, students gain an understanding of the social, economic, and political impact of each invention.
INDG-3003-40 Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing
Students engage directly with the traditional Indigenous knowledge of Southwestern Ontario through the words of local Elders and community-recognized knowledgeable community members. Through exposure to traditional knowledge through first-hand experience, which continue to guide Indigenous people both locally and globally, a sense of community and respect for culture and identity will be fostered. Originating through local community members input, this course provides students with an introduction to customary Indigenous knowledge which is the foundation for First Nations Studies.
INDS-1033-40 Video Game Theory
**Students enrolled in the VGD program cannot register for this class.**
This course will analyze the many ways video games are reshaping what passes for entertainment as well as our relationship with technology. Using examples from widely popular games, such as Doom, Halo, Final Fantasy, and Mortal Kombat among others, this course aims to discuss the relationship between video games and other media; the shift from third- to first-person games; gamers and the gaming community; and the important sociological, cultural, industrial, and economic issues that surround gaming.
INDS-1053-40 Disease in Culture
From the black plague to the apocalyptic zombie invasion to the SARS and H1N1 epidemics, we have used disease to understand our relationships to society and to others. This course investigates the cultural paranoia of infection in visual and media culture. We study novels and films such as Blindness, Dawn of the Dead, and 28 Days Later, as well as recent media responses to the World Health Organization and the borders of disease. We confront questions such as: How do the ethics of quarantine translate into racial intolerance? Is the fear of contagion related to possession? Are we judged by the diseases we contract, or by how we handle ourselves in times of widespread infection and crisis?
INDS-1062-40 Ecotourism and Sustainable Travel
An increased interest in ecotourism, sustainable tourism, and nature-based tourism has led to increased awareness of protected environments and cultures. It has also prompted travelers to consider destinations and activities that have a lower negative impact on environments, both local and global. In addition to examining the history and key principles of ecotourism, students will examine case studies of successful and questionable Eco touring initiatives both at home and abroad.
INDS-1075-40 Digital Identity
What is the cultural impact of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter? How important is having an online identity? In this course, students will engage with issues of new media integration and take up questions of online identity. While the digital realm is often complicated and chaotic, this course explores the space(s) that subjectivity takes up and in turn reflects onto broader issues of identity. Beginning with theories originating in the late 19th century, students will consider the online world in and outside of the classroom both on a personal and on a social level. This course aims to help students critically reflect on the ever shrinking line between online and offline identity and its impact on culture at large.
INDS-1079-40 Reggae, Rasta, Revolution
Tropical beaches, positive vibrations, marijuana smoking, dreadlocks, Bob Marley: These are the images typically associated with reggae music. But there is more to the story. Reggae is a form of protest music, the unique cultural expression of Jamaica, a small Caribbean island with a tumultuous history of slavery, piracy, racism, political turmoil, and colonial rule. This course explores the development of reggae in the context of Jamaican history to show how the music deals with issues of racial oppression and the Rastafarian religion. We will also discuss how Jamaican musicians helped to create modern musical forms such as hip-hop. Finally, we will examine the worldwide spread of reggae to see how other cultures, such as the indigenous Maoris of New Zealand, have embraced the music as a way to stand up for their rights.
PHIL-1006-40 Great Philosophers
The history of philosophy is full of colourful personalities, thought-provoking propositions, and challenging arguments. This course will introduce students to a wide range of these by discussing and evaluating some of the most prominent Western philosophers of the past three thousand years. Each class will focus on one important idea from a particular philosopher, and we will see how these ideas have changed and developed over time. Most importantly, we will ask whether these ideas are good or bad, right or wrong, and what impact they have, or should have, on our lives.
PHIL-1009-40 Ethics & Society
What is the right thing to do? Although this turns out to be a remarkably difficult question to answer, it is the central focus of this course, and we will try to come at it from two different directions. On the one hand, we will consider a number of ethical theories that attempt to give a general, theoretical underpinning for morality. On the other hand, we will approach the question of the right thing to do from the context of particular moral problems that confront modern society such as world poverty, euthanasia, and the freedom of speech. If you want to be better prepared to debate ethical topics by understanding the issues behind them, then this course is for you.
POLI-1021-40 Environment and the Economy
How do governments adapt to a rapidly changing planet? Many do not. This course will attempt to unravel some of the misinformation surrounding the politics of climate change. Is there a tension between environmental stewardship and economic development? Or is sustainability a necessary component of economic stability? Topics of study include sustainable development, food security, resource management, policy responses, pollution abatement, and market-based solutions.
PSYC-1062-40 The Mating Game
This course is a primer on Love, Sex and Marriage. Practically everyone is interested in love, sex and romance, without which humankind would perish. The student is introduced to theories and knowledge about human mating relationships. Topics include mate preferences, attraction & courtship, sex appeal, online relationship development and cyber-flirting, marriage (love-based, arranged, same-sex, monogamous, polygamous, and polyamorous), conflict, sexual jealousy, intimate partner violence, cyber-stalking, as well as theories on love, sex, gender, personality and belief systems.
PSYC-1067-40/41 Culture of Addictions
As an introductory and interdisciplinary survey of the role of addiction in human cultures, this course is designed to expose students to how narcotic as well as non-narcotic-related addiction manifest themselves within various individual and institutional practices. In particular, students will explore the major biological, psychological and social/cultural theories applied to addiction. Focus is given to the nature of drug use, conceptions of 'the addict,' how drugs impact the brain, the impact on family, and consequences for changing social drug behaviors. This course also explores current theoretical and practical treatment approaches and education and prevention strategies. Emphasis will be given to special issues and hot topics in drug addiction, including youth, women, media portrayal of drug use and current debates on the war on drugs. Finally, understanding common perspectives on treatment and prevention strategies related to drug dependence and education will be studied.
PSYC-1077-40 Psychology of Evil
Evil has been a focus of study since time immemorial. Recently psychologists have attempted to examine and explain why certain people act in destructive and horrific ways toward others. This course is an examination of the darker side of human behaviour and how psychology attempts to define and understand evil. Topics discussed in this course include discovering how we decide if an action is evil or not, psychopaths and why they commit evil, how big business can unknowingly (or knowingly) commit evil, and how people can be convinced to kill their neighbour (genocide).
SOCI-1051-40 Sociology of Fame
Formerly contained within the sphere of entertainment, the influence of celebrities is increasing in all aspects of social life, on a global scale. The glorification of famous people imbues them with a unique form of social status with significant power to shape trends and agendas. When young people are surveyed, they consistently state that fame and fortune are the most valued life goals of their generation. Next to seeking stardom, their ideal job is to be a personal assistant to a very famous music or movie star. For better or worse, celebrity worship is an increasingly pervasive social phenomenon. In this course, students will examine the impact of fame on collective human behaviour, identities, and consciousness. By focusing on questions such as who gets fame and for what?, this course will attempt to shed light on the popularity and attraction of stars like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Kim Kardashian. In doing so, students will explore the kinds of statements this obsession with the stars make about our society.
SOCI-1073-40 Building Sustainable Societies
The world's population has recently surpassed seven billion, and communities worldwide are facing numerous social, environmental, and economic problems. While gloomy headlines dominate environmental news, there are solutions. Building sustainable societies looks at current problems like urban sprawl, pollution, climate change, and suggests ways to reverse unsustainable trends. From growing food and gardens to developing more efficient transportation, to reducing waste and developing green buildings, sustainable societies move beyond diagnosing the problems to finding solutions. A key part of the course is to give students the insight and confidence to encourage sustainability in their own lives and communities.
SOCI-1083-40 Women and Violence
Women and Violence will explore the understandings, forms and impacts of violence against women in a Canadian context. This course will provide an overview of both the theory and practice of anti-violence work and the controversies and debates - among both scholars and practitioners - that continue to surround this issue. Some of the themes covered in this course include: prevalence, forms, and understandings of violence against women; the intersectionality of gender, race, class and sexuality; the role of media; masculinities and violence; and politico-legal and socio-cultural approaches to address violence against women.