Course Offerings for 2016/17
Society, Culture and Environment courses are held at the Brantford campus unless otherwise noted. The whole program can be taken only on the Brantford campus.
The following course information is provided for your convenience. Schedules are subject to change and should be checked on LORIS, where location information can also be found. Full, official academic information, including prerequisites and exclusions, can be found on the academic calendars.
If you would like to take a course for which you are missing a prerequisite or are in the wrong year level or major, you will have to complete the Society, Culture and Environment Override Form. Filling out the form does not guarantee entry into the course.
If no faculty member is named, the instructor is to be announced.
Unless otherwise stated, all courses are 0.5 credits. An asterisk (*) denotes a 1.0-credit course.
- CT = Society, Culture and Environment (formerly Contemporary Studies)
- HR = Human Rights and Human Diversity
- HS = Health Studies
- ID = Indigenous Studies
- JN = Digital Media and Journalism
- MX = Media Studies
- YC = Youth and Children's Studies
CT100: Current Issues in Global Context
This course invites students to consider pressing global issues as a project in interdisciplinarity. Students will develop skills for identifying theoretical frameworks, and synthesizing and integrating disciplinary perspectives. Key content may include gender inequality, access to education and healthcare, economic disparity, climate change and environmental degradation, the role of religion and faith, industrial and transnational food systems, the politics of Indigeneity and the persistence and impact of war. Topics will be examined in light of political, ideological and cultural influences aimed at sustaining, questioning, or overturning the status quo.
- Lecture: W 2:30–4:20 p.m., Peter Farrugia
- Tutorial 1A: F 10-10:50 a.m., Peter Farrugia
- Tutorial 1C: R 2:30-3:20 p.m.
ID/CT120: Introduction to Indigenous Studies
Provides students with an overview of the discipline of Indigenous Studies including the history, cultures, and experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): WF 1-2:20 p.m., Darren S. Thomas
- BR2 (fall): TR 1-2:20 p.m., Gary Warrick
- Waterloo campus (fall): MW 4-5:20, Ted Baker
- BR3 (winter): TR 2:30-3:50 p.m., Kim Anderson
- Waterloo campus (winter): TBA
CT202: Science and Cultural Issues
Traditionally, scientific knowledge has been seen as a ‘neutral’ tool that can be used for good or ill purposes, but is itself harmless. Some critics argue that this is a mistaken notion. There may be “non-neutral” features, such as Reductionism, that are inherent in the scientific world-view regardless of what use it is put to. These inherent features of science might be responsible for environmental degradation, spiritual malaise, cultural conflicts, and much else. This course will discuss this debate by examining contemporary issues of science in our culture. This course assumes no previous knowledge of science.
- WF 8:30-9:50 a.m., Stephen Haller
CT/HS203: Disease and Society
This course examines human health and disease from antiquity to the present. Relevant studies in epidemiology, bioarchaeology, anthropology, and history will be used to build a long-term picture of trends in health and disease and the role of epidemic disease in the transformation of human societies on a global scale.
- WF 2:30-3:50 p.m., Laurie Jacklin
CT/ID205: Indigenous People and Anthropology
The popular image of Indigenous people has been shaped by anthropology and the wider academy. This course will explore the interaction between Indigenous peoples and anthropology and archaeology. The course offers a brief history of anthropology, followed by examination of such topics as indigeneity, Indigenous knowledge, cultural and intellectual property, museums, archaeology and repatriation, biological research, applied anthropology, ethics in anthropology, and community-based research. The value of anthropology to Indigenous people will be debated and discussed.
- TR 10-11:20 a.m., Annette Chretien
CT210: Environment and Society: Stories from the Past
This course will examine the relationship of human society to the environment from a long-term historical perspective and investigate the impact of environmental change. Case studies from around the world will be featured, from pre-agricultural to modern times.
TR 2:30-3:50 p.m., Nick Garside
CT215: Environmental Concerns: From the Grand to the Globe
This course examines environment and sustainability themes related to the Grand River region, while working to highlight and understand how these both intersect, and are interdependent with, similar concerns elsewhere in the world. Students will acquire a level of knowledge of local and regional environment and sustainability issues, while recognizing and exploring their interconnectedness with social, political and cultural variables–from the Grand to the globe.
- WF 2:30-3:50 p.m., Robert Feagan
CT/JN/MX222: Digital and Social Media: Critical Approaches
This course provides students with the theoretical building blocks to think critically about the powerful ways that information communication technologies are taken up in social, cultural and individual practices. By surveying key themes in the emerging landscape of digital and social media, this course highlights the privacy, commodification, and surveillance implications of participation in the new media political economy.
- R 1-3:50 p.m., Kenneth Werbin
CT225: The Individual in the Community
This course provides an interdisciplinary overview of contemporary issues from a social science perspective that may incorporate psychological, sociological, historical and political science perspectives. The contribution that social science research can make to our understanding of contemporary issues; social science methodology; and the relationship between the social sciences and policy-making are discussed. Topics covered may include normality and abnormality, conflict, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, group behaviour, and the self and identity.
WF 10-11:20 a.m.
CT/JN/MX226: The Media in a Global World
An introduction to the social, philosophical and historical contexts in which we can understand the role that the contemporary media play in our lives. Specific topics may include the nature of writing for the media; media bias; the history and structure of mass media; changes in media technology; the media's coverage of scientific, cultural and economic issues; and issues of communication and cultural policy in Canada and a global world.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): TR 10-11:20 a.m., Rick Gamble
- BR2 (winter): WF 10-11:20 a.m., Rick Gamble
HS/CT 227: Aging: Realities and Myths
Physical and cognitive changes can be part of the aging process. How we understand, describe and respond to these changes has evolved over recent generations. This course examines social understandings and ideologies in relation to the biological changes associated with aging.
- TR 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m, Kari Brozowski
CT250: Themes in Global Capitalism
In this course, students will consider how they, and others, are positioned inside the broad matrix of economic globalization. Topics include the history of modern capitalism, the changing world of work, the rise of consumer society, the ‘knowledge economy’, the relationship of modern capitalism to national and global inequality, and how capitalism relates to changing experiences of gender, the family, the environment and democracy. Students will also consider challenges to economic globalization from labour, environmentalists, consumer activists, and a number of other social groups.
- TR 10-11:20 a.m., Clarice Kuhling
CT253: Ancients and Moderns
A look at ancient Western classics which discusses their relevance to contemporary lives and ways of thinking; and their influence on modern and contemporary language, writing and thought. The continuing relevance or permanence of 'classical themes' will be discussed.
- TR 10-11:20 a.m., Stephen Haller
CT255: The Democratic Imagination
This course analyzes past and current struggles over the meaning and practice of democracy. It compares official and critical perspectives on what ‘rule by the people’ should look like, and encourages students to reflect upon their own role in a system based upon the principle of popular power. The course examines ongoing struggles over what aspects of life should be democratically controlled, and engages debates about core concepts such as freedom, equality, citizenship, representation, government, and the economy.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): TR 5:30–6:50 p.m., Chad Hillier
- BR2 (winter): TR 5:30-6:50 p.m., James Cairns
HR/CT260: Introduction to Human Rights
Focusing primarily on civil and political rights, this course introduces students to the idea and origins of human rights, the institutions that have been designed to protect them, and contemporary controversies surrounding them. Case studies and examples of violations will be addressed as appropriate.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): TR 2:30-3:50 p.m., Robert Ame
- BR2 (winter): W 4-6:50 p.m., Thomas Rose
- Online Learning (fall; winter; spring 2017): See Online Learning.
CT280: Popular Culture and Meaning
Students will explore the major theories and methods that characterize the study of representation and the production of meaning through signs and symbols. Different forms of popular culture will be discussed as illustrations of the production of meaning. Possible topics for discussion include music videos, movies, new media, sports, dance, food, community festivals and fashion.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): TR 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m., Andrew P. Atkinson
- BR2 (winter): W 7-9:50 p.m., John Corr
CT285: Representing Canadian Identities
What is Canada? How has “the Canadian nation” been represented, and on what grounds have dominant representations been challenged? This course addresses these and other questions about the role of culture in producing and challenging a range of identities in Canada. Topics might include: expressions of Canada in literature, art, sport, and school curricula; the role of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; debates over Canadian multiculturalism, class inequality and gender discrimination; struggles for Aboriginal nationhood and Québec sovereignty; differences between Canadian and American culture; and perceptions of Canada globally.
- TR 1-2:20 p.m., Ian MacRae
CT302: Climate Change and Society
Global climate change has influenced the course of human history. Climate change will continue to affect the future in profound ways. This course provides an overview of the complexity of climate change, with a special emphasis on the role of humans in climate change, the impacts of climate change on societies, and the ability of humans to alter the course of climate change.
TR 2:30-3:50 p.m., Nick Garside
CT310: Economics, Class and Public Policy
This course will discuss mainstream and alternative economic theories concerning their various concepts of economic justice, markets, wages, profits, efficiency and economic crises. We will pay particular attention to the role of class in these various economic theories, and the potential for government action to enhance economic justice. Students will apply these economic theories to the analysis of current debates in a variety of fields such as legal studies, journalism, and human rights.
- TR 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m., Ellen Russell
CT312: Sustainability and Global Society
This course examines the responses to environmental and sustainability issues that frame contemporary local and global discourses about changes to the environment. This will involve explorations and discussions of those responses broadly located across the public/private divide, including the diversity of approaches associated with the environmental movement, methods emerging from the public sphere such as government legislative and policy measures, and those more broadly tied to neo-liberal economic thinking and the 'free market'.
- W 7-9:50 p.m.
CT324: Globalization, Culture and Society
The term ‘globalization’ is often associated with the idea of a ‘shrinking world’ as regional cultures, languages, values, and people come into increasing contact through advances in technology and mobility. These exchanges can be a source of transformation, innovation, collaboration and conflict. This course helps students gain an understanding of the terminology, trends and challenges of globalization while also looking at the effects of this development on a variety of culturally-informed spheres such as language, food, religion, popular culture, gender roles, education, art, sports, fashion, politics, health care and others.
- TR 4-5:20 p.m., Chad Hillier
YC/CT326: Children, Toys and Media
This course examines a range of media and products developed for and marketed to children. Students will analyze texts such as television shows, video games, movies, books and toys, in relation to theories about media and children's culture.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): M 4-6:50 p.m., Christine Lei
- BR2 (fall): WF 1-2:20 p.m., Christine Lei
- BR3 (winter): T 4-6:50 p.m., Christine Lei
- BR4 (winter): WF 1-2:20 p.m., Christine Lei
CT340: Consumerism and Identities
Students in this course will gain an understanding of the history of consumer cultures from the eighteenth century to the present, and will develop the critical vocabulary necessary to analyze and critique contemporary consumer cultures. Particular attention is given to issues of contemporary identities, from childhood identities that are more and more determined by commodification, to gender, sexual, and ethnic or “racial” identities.
- MW 5:30-6:50 p.m.
CT352: War in the Contemporary World
This course will demonstrate that the problem of war has confronted humanity from the beginning of recorded history but will concentrate on the most significant developments with respect to war in the last century. Topics to be explored may include the development of new “war winning” weapons, the causes and consequences of two World Wars, the intensification of efforts to build an international system that prevents war, the life of the soldier, the impact of selected wars of national liberation and contemporary issues such as the rise of ethnic cleansing and child soldiers.
- R 7-9:50 p.m., David Olivier
CT355: Reconsidering Race and Oppression
The ongoing ethnic, racial, and sexual diversification in Canada and in many other countries has prompted the implementation of policies trying to eliminate racial exclusion and other forms of inequality. This course will examine this process in contemporary societies.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): W 7-9:50 p.m., Paula Butler
- BR2 (winter): MW 4-5:20 p.m., Edward Shizha
CT/HR370: Gender Theories and Cultures
This course examines gender as a process of representation, and sexuality as a category of difference in the discourse of human rights. The impact of factors such as race, class and sexual orientation on notions of gender will be considered. Specific themes that will be explored may include: ideals of femininity and masculinity, resistance through tomboy and sissy narratives, queer gender theories, performativity and transgender subjects. It will also explore identities, movements, politics, or institutional regulations with a focus on sexual minority subjects.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): R 7-9:50 p.m., Christine A. Klassen
- BR2 (winter): WF 1-2:20 p.m., Christine A. Klassen
This course is designed to examine the connections between food and society from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the myriad health and related issues tied to contemporary food production and consumption. Issues that may be considered include local and global food distribution, consumption habits, food sufficiency, GMOs, ecological health, human health and sustainability.
- WF 2:30-3:50 p.m., Peter Farrugia
CT403*: Community Internship
This two-semester full-credit (1.0) course explores the concept of ‘community’ both in class, and via a community service-learning experience (CSL). Students work individually and/or in teams with their selected community organization for a significant part of the year, with initial class time spent on preparation for this internship, and the final month of the year back in class devoted to sharing this experience with the other students. Assessment is focused on the student service-learning experience, and on the related in-class efforts around CSL which have both written and oral components.
- T 7-9:50 p.m., Robert Feagan
CT405: Digital Play, Digital Labour
In this era of pervasive digital media, the line between what constitutes ‘play’ and ‘labour’ has become increasingly difficult if not impossible to delineate. Where users might perceive social media platforms as ‘free’ sites of play where they can express themselves, post status updates and connect to family, friends, colleagues and co-workers, the reality is that their lives are being put to work. Central to the business model that underpins corporate social media are the ways that user content and data are taken up in commodification regimes that at once position the user as the ‘product’ of the platform and at the same time, as the ‘subject’ of intense forms of surveillance. This seminar examines how the boundary between work and play has vanished in the digital economy, and at the same time, challenges students to think through how these exploitative arrangements might be transformed into empowering ones.
- F 11:30 a.m.-2:20 p.m., Kenneth Werbin
CT419: Environmental Justice
This course focuses on multiple dimensions of environmental justice including justice as distribution, process, recognition and inter-generational concerns. Canadian and international examples could include the siting of unwanted facilities, climate change, the distribution of green space and vulnerability to disasters. Active student participation in class discussions and activities will be a key component of this course.
- M 8:30-11:20 a.m., Brenda Murphy
YC/CT430: Youth Cultures
This course aims to engage students in critical and creative dialogues with contemporary youth cultures. The interplay between social control and resistance in youth cultures will be a key focus. Topics may include youth marketing, theories of subcultures, queer youth, intergenerational dialogues, homelessness and grassroots activism.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): F 1-3:50 p.m., Cameron Greensmith
- BR2 (winter): T 2:30-5:20 p.m.
- BR3 (winter): F 11:30 a.m. - 2:20 p.m.
CT450: The City in Contemporary Life
This course will provide an overview of the rise of the city and explore urban life from a variety of perspectives. Topics to be discussed may include the factors contributing to urbanization, utopian ideals of city design, the environmental impact of cities, urban architecture, the enduring importance of neighbourhoods, the battle over public space, brownfields and the city in literature and film.
- F 11:30 a.m. - 2:20 p.m., Edmund N. Okoree
CT455: Struggles in Capitalism Today
This course will apply the theoretical tools acquired in the social structures stream to examine contemporary economic and political struggles. The course pays specific attention to the concept of ‘class’ and its role in the relationship between democracy and capitalism. We will use this analysis to explore present day clashes over economic and political issues such as austerity policies instituted in the wake of global economic crises, economic and social inequality, environmental sustainability, anti-capitalist protest movements, and youth unemployment/underemployment. Students will be encouraged to analyze connections between these broad social trends and events in their own lives.
Fall 2016; Winter 2017
- BR1 (fall): W 4-6:50 p.m., Paula Butler
- BR2 (winter): W 8:30-11:20 a.m., Ellen Russell
CT457D: Special Topics in Social Structures: The Just War; Justice in War
This course examines the developments behind two longstanding but ever-changing concepts: Jus ad Bellum (the Just War) and Jus in Bello (Justice in War). The study of Jus ad Bellum requires thinking about under what circumstances it is permissible to fight, and how that concept has been changed by modern concepts such as the War on Terror and the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The study of Jus in Bello requires thinking about what actions are permissible on the modern battlefield, how the interaction of military and non-military personnel in moderns conflicts (including media and aid workers) have changed the understood dynamics, and whether it is possible to fight an ethical guerrilla war. Above all else, this course requires thought about the position of morals and ethics regarding war, from absolute opposition to unqualified support.
- W 8:30-11:20 a.m., David Olivier
CT457F: Millennials: Overly Entitled?
This course critically examines popular representations of the millennial generation. It uses political, economic, and cultural data to determine whether there's truth in the common-sense wisdom portraying members of Generation Y (18 to 35-year-olds) as being uniquely entitled, narcissistic, lazy, and coddled. By contrast, Gen Y has also been called Generation Screwed. On this view, millennials have it harder than previous generations because they face a harsh job market, growing student debt, and a mounting environmental crisis. This courses assesses these contending perspectives on the millennial generation, and uses them to ask broader questions about what we mean by the very concept of entitlement. How do "normal" levels of deservingness get established in the first place, and why have they changed at different points in history? As you prepare for lives as workers and community members beyond graduation, the course encourages you to reflect on the question: Who should be entitled to what resources, and who should be entitled to feel what?
- W 4-6:50 p.m., James Cairns
This course will consider the historical development of work, the evolution of work, and the changing nature and experience of work in Canada and its relationship to the emerging trends of globalization. The course will address such topics as the nature of work in the global economy, the evolving relationship between management and work, the demographics of work, employment and unemployment, the changing connections between work and leisure, the role of the state and other topics relating to work, the economy and society.
- W 7-9:50 p.m., Holly M. Gibbs
CT485: Politics of Culture Production
This course is an advanced seminar on relations between societies and their expressions in culture, with reference to film, television, literature, and comparable media. We will examine how various people over time and across cultures have understood ideas of community, history, and landscape in language and culture, and ultimately into the places we call home. Utilizing an approach that incorporates multimedia, this course may focus on life writing, ethnography, oral history, religion, and political activism such as the labour arts or environmental movements. We are interested in reading, analyzing, and producing stories that bring people together, and that keep us apart; and in the boundaries between people, cultures and languages that may be easily crossed, or that can lead to conflict.
- TR 2:30-3:50 p.m.
CT487G: Special Topics in Culture and Representation: Education, Culture and Globalization: Human Rights and Global Citizenship
As the world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, various challenges arise for education at all levels. In this seminar students will examine the problems globalization presents for education in the area of culture, and seek to address them through human rights and global citizenship theories.
- R 7-9:50 p.m., Chad Hillier