Capstone Courses

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1 Capstone Courses Course Code: ACS 900 Symmetry and Asymmetry from Nature to Culture Instructor: Jamin Pelkey Description: Drawing on discoveries from astrophysics to anthropology, this course explores the history and manifestations of symmetry geometric, physical, organic, musical, linguistic, rhetorical, textual, neurological, psychological, social and political. Students apply evolutionary insights from cybernetics and cognitive semiotics to their own embodied experiences and cultural observations to discover potential ways in which the tensions between symmetry and asymmetry provide analogical, or aesthetic, grounding for human inquiry. Visual and textual symmetries become focal, with special attention being given to chiasmus: the X figure. Course Code: FRE 900 TBA Instructor: Dr. Kathleen Kellett Term: Fall 2014/ TBA Description: This course is intended to prepare students to undertake advanced studies in French and/or Francophone cultures and literatures. While analyzing the works of specific authors and/or literary and cultural movements (e.g. surrealism, postcolonialism, écriture féminine, etc.) in the Francophone world, students will learn to conduct bibliographical research effectively, to use secondary sources critically, and to give seminar presentations as well as to write a senior research paper on a topic of their choice. Although the organization of this course and its readings will be largely determined by the students' research interests, all students will be expected to do general readings on discourse analysis as well as on literary and/or linguistic theory and to discuss these readings as a group. Class preparation and participation are essential.

2 Course Code: PHL 900 Art and Human Experience Instructor: David Ciavetta Description: What is it like to experience an artwork as compared to the other, more mundane objects we encounter in the world? Why are we drawn to artworks, and what sort of thing do they put us into touch with? Is it merely a matter of a certain kind of pleasure, one that we can ultimately do without? Or is art somehow necessary to human living? Are artworks able to give us access to meanings or truths that we are incapable of accessing in other ways? Is there a clear distinction between art and everyday life, or is there an element of artistic creativity at play in all our experience? Is personal identity itself something that ought to be thought of on the model of an artistic creation? Addressing these and similar questions will be the focus of this class. We will be engaging in a close reading of a small selection of some of the most influential philosophical texts ever written on the nature of art and beauty. Authors to be considered may include Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Arendt and Derrida. Course Code: ACS 900 Aboriginal Rights Instructor: Bob Murray Description: As Dale Turner put it, [a]s Canadians begin this millennium, understanding the meaning of Aboriginal rights, in both so-called theory and practice, will be one of our most immediate serious moral and political challenges. This course considers the meaning of Aboriginal rights as an inter-group moral issue viewed from different perspectives. By their very nature inter-group moral issues are charged, complex, and multi-faceted. First of all, the differences across Aboriginal and non-aboriginal perspectives are characterized in terms of fundamental philosophical and spiritual differences. Furthermore, the social circumstances concerning Aboriginal rights have been morally problematic in group-differentiated ways, and this gave rise to quite different perspectives on the basic workings and fairness of society. In that case, inter-group discussions are prone to further misunderstandings, which would only make our inter-group issues even more charged, complex, and multi-faceted from what they already are. In this light, the basic question of our course is the following: How is inter-group deliberative dialogue on the meaning of Aboriginal rights possible, and what would be the meaning of Aboriginal rights determined in that way?

3 Course Code: ACS 800 Corporate Responsibility Instructor: Prof. Alex Gill Description: A growing number of Canadian corporations are playing a more active role in addressing community issues, taking them beyond their normal focus on profitability. This increasing trend towards corporate citizenship has attracted both criticism and praise. Students in this version of ACS 800 will explore this debate and conduct practical case studies of Canadian corporations, their nonprofit partners and the social issues they address. The results of these research projects will be presented at an end-of-term community event organized by the students and open to the university, media and broader public. Course Code: ENG 900 The Sacred and Secular in Contemporary Fiction and Culture Instructor: Dr. Randy Boyagoda Description: This course will study a series of contemporary novels -- by Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, Marilynn Robison, and others and approach them as at once explorations and cultural documentations of traditional religion s enduring and complicated position in late secular culture. Drawing on work by philosopher Charles Taylor, the seminar will assess how these writers represent the consequences of fragmented and contested religious propositions on human relations, self-understandings in individual and communal terms, and even geopolitics, just as the writers themselves sometimes feel these consequences personally, as a result of their writings. As we shall see, in their negotiations of the sacred and secular in contemporary contexts, these works reveal contemporary human experience as both pressured and invigorated by the clash of traditional belief systems with the promises and perils of modernity.

4 Course Code: HST 990 (formerly HST 900) The Battle for History: The World Wars in Canadian and American Film and Literature Instructor: Dr. Robert Teighrob Description: Both Canada and the United States participated in the world wars, and were shaped profoundly by the experience. By examining the representation of the wars in films, memoirs, novels, and history writing, this course examines the myriad ways in which the memory and meaning of the wars have been shaped, challenged, and altered in both nations. We will analyse the war s impact on the construction of national identities, and the ways in which narratives of the war have been utilised to inform present-day politics. Along the way we will discover that the process of forgetting can be just as important to the establishment of national war narratives as remembering, that tensions often exist between the individual and collective (or official ) memories of these conflicts, and that some profound and unexpected differences are apparent in the ways Canadians and Americans recall their war experiences. Course Code: HIS 903 (Formerly HIS 900) Gaming the City: Urban History through Play Instructor: Dr. Art Blake Description: This seminar class offers you the chance to take ideas fundamental to historical studies analyzing evidence, forming arguments, writing clearly, understanding political and cultural contexts and apply them to the meaning of "play" in and about cities. The games/play we will examine address urban issues of justice, diversity, equality, and citizenship (local and global). We will get out into Toronto as a lab for our class. No technical knowledge or experience playing games is required. Two texts we will read together are Mary Flanagan's Critical Play ( and Ian Bogost's Persuasive Games (

5 Course Code: HIS 957 (new) Everyday Life in the Middle Eastern and North African City, c Instructor: Dr. F. Vejdani Description: This course explores the material, social, and cultural history of the Middle Eastern and North African city. It begins by considering the environmental and geographical features impacting daily life in such cities, such as access to water and food, street layouts, and building materials. It then considers the city s religious landscape, the spatial politics of cooperation and contestation between various urban groups, and the modes of municipal governance and law. Finally, the course examines how colonial and state planning policies and reforms began to fundamentally reshape city life over the course of nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to secondary readings, students will be introduced to visual sources, travelogues, diaries, and works of fiction germane to the study of the Middle Eastern and North African city.

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