Summer 2019

WRDS 150-Summer is a great way to fulfil your writing requirement, because it allows you

  • to spend more time on your other courses during the regular semester
  • to give WRDS 150 your undivided attention, and so get more out of the course
  • to make the most of the long summer break

Owing to the research and writing demands of this course, however – and based on student feedback – we recommend that you do NOT take WRDS 150-Summer together with other summer courses, if this is your first semester at university.

Click here for student testimonials.

WRDS 150 Arts Courses:

Instructor: Michael Borkent

Section: M01

Comics, which communicate with images, words and layouts, have become an increasingly popular form of visual communication and storytelling in various forms (print and online), genres (non-fiction and fiction), and for various audiences. Comics now frequent bestselling book lists and garner literary awards (usually in the guise of graphic novels), while remaining in newspapers (as comic strips and political cartoons), in comic book shops, on gum wrappers (see Dubble Bubble gum), and on smart phones and computers (as webcomics). As a popular and common form of communication, comics have become an increasingly popular academic topic. In this course we will read a range of academic articles about comics from a variety of disciplines, including art and literary studies, history, linguistics, and medicine. Through these readings, we will examine how academics develop knowledge about their research area and specifically how they communicate this to others as part of a scholarly conversation in their discipline. We will consider how an interdisciplinary perspective on comics helps us isolate the questions and values behind different approaches to research and the features of how they communicate this. Students will engage in a series of interconnected assignments and a research project about comics. In so doing, they will develop their skills as scholarly communicators by employing key features of academic style across a variety of genres, while refining their critical engagements with multimodal artifacts that use visual, verbal, and spatial cues to build meaning.

Instructor: Jonathan Otto

Section: M02

Designed to introduce you to the world of academic research and writing, this section of WRDS 150 will do so with a focus on sustainable development. Inter-governmental organizations, governments, and non-governmental actors have defined “sustainable development” as a means for addressing economic marginalization while ensuring environmental well-being for future generations.  One inter-governmental organization, the United Nations (UN), has played an important role in popularizing the idea of “sustainable development” and has committed vast resources to the implementation of “sustainable development” projects.  In 1992, for instance, the UN hosted the Conference on Environment and Development where the notion of “sustainability” gained broad international exposure.  Twenty-three years later, the UN created the “Sustainable Development Goals,” consisting of a broad set of principles aimed at guiding the sustainable development efforts of member countries.  In this course, we will begin to participate in the scholarly community of UBC by analyzing “sustainable development” from the perspective of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  We will read the work of scholars in economics, geography and other social sciences and humanities disciplines who analyze “sustainable development” as a political and ideological concept and as a set of material social practices.  As we engage with this scholarly work, we will identify the distinct analytical tools and modes of framing common to each disciplinary approach.  We will then employ these analytical tools in our own research on and writing about the topic.

Instructor: Katie Fitzpatrick

Section: M03

Today, we often hear that “privacy is dead.” Some blame growing surveillance by governments and by Silicon Valley tech companies, while others blame an increasingly confessional culture, characterized by constant “over-sharing” on social media and on reality television. But today’s post mortems for a lost privacy follow in a long tradition; lawyers, activists, and philosophers have declared the death of privacy over and over again – in the 1890s, the 1960s, the 1990s, and likely every decade in between. In this course, we will read and analyze scholarly research from across the disciplines in order to better understand what privacy is, whether we are losing it, and why it might be worth protecting. Students will be introduced to the scholarly discourse on privacy in fields like history, law, anthropology, and sociology, and will write a research essay considering one aspect of contemporary surveillance or confessional culture.

Instructor: Laila Ferreira

Section: J01

What are the definitions of a disabled body and mind? How were these definitions established and how have they impacted the ways in which we structure our society, from the design of our buildings and city streets to our education system and employment practices? In this class, we will grapple with these questions and more through the analysis of six scholarly articles on the topic of disability. More specifically, we will look at how each discipline’s methods of research and style of writing reflect their definitions of disability and the kinds of knowledge they produce on the topic.

Instructor: Michael Schandorf

Section: J02

The idea of competition is so fundamental to Western culture that we often take it for granted as a natural good. Nearly every aspect of our lives involves competition: we compete in school and for jobs, we compete both socially and at work, we compete in games for fun, and when we’re not competing ourselves we spend much of our time enjoying watching others compete. But our obsession with competition has complications. For example, a world divided into winners and losers is an inherently inequitable world: there will always be more “losers” than “winners”. Competition also has interesting relationships with our need for social cohesion. Attempting to disentangle cooperation from competition, in fact, can undermine both: a lack of either can lead to unproductive stasis, and worse, but a complete integration of cooperation and competition can lead to us-versus-them thinking and even war (which American rhetorical scholar Kenneth Burke called “the ultimate disease of cooperation”). This seminar will explore some of the ways that competition has been investigated in recent scholarship, and students will design and produce a research project of their own contributing to that scholarly conversation.


WRDS 150 Non-Arts Courses:

Instructor: Judith Scholes

Section: 511

In this section of WRDS 150, we will encounter and investigate forms of Resistance—including digital activism, civil disobedience, mass protest, or everyday resistance—particularly in struggles for social justice. Our readings (from Resistance Studies, Urban Studies, American Studies, Education, Cultural Studies, and Archival Science) will touch on social pressures and political upheavals from the last several decades, while addressing forms of resistance arising from current social justice concerns and movements, such as climate change and pipeline protests, Occupy Wall Street, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Black Lives Matter, LGBT rights, and the 2017 Woman’s March. In our reading, we will ask, how do scholars from different disciplines approach the study of resistance? Alongside these scholars, we will also ask, who are the subjects of resistance? How does resistance fight power, injustice, and oppression; or how might it entrench those forces of oppression? What ways of being and knowing are at play within, or challenged by, resistance? How might resistance inform scholarly practice?

Instructor: Meredith Beales

Section: 512

Living in the modern world means being immersed in a sea of textual and internet-based media: we are constantly reading and responding to the infinite variations of electronic texts, videos, images, and memes.  But how do the different media in which we encounter these messages change the way we respond to them?  And how do our brains and our societies interact under the impact of these new media? In this section of WRDS 150 we will explore how different societies  responded to new forms of communication, now and in the past.  We will explore, as well, how our brains respond to these same challenges, and how the rise of electronic communication has altered (or not) the ways we respond to it and to each other.

Instructor: Mary Ann Saunders

Section: 513

We will focus on transgender studies, a multidisciplinary research field which investigates the increasing visibility and importance of transgender people in contemporary culture. A fundamental premise of trans studies is that ethical research in this area must be attentive to and prioritize the voices and knowledge which trans people have about themselves and their experience. We will, therefore, cultivate such an attentiveness in our course. By studying trans research representing several academic disciplines you will develop a sense of how different disciplines approach this research area, and then apply this knowledge to research and writing projects of your own. What do trans people say about themselves and their lives? How can you, as apprentice researchers, ethically translate that lived experience into research scholarship of your own?

Instructor: Loren Gaudet

Sections: 514, 553

This course introduces students to, and invites them to participate in, scholarly conversations about pharmaceuticals and their advertisements. Together, we will read journal articles from a variety of fields (cultural studies, rhetoric, history, and more) and ask: how does pharmaceutical marketing affect the production of disorders? How are we persuaded to understand ourselves as healthy, or not? We will also think about the production of knowledge itself: how are disciplinary boundaries maintained and/or challenged, and how are knowledges shaped by these boundaries? By the end of this course, students will have developed an understanding of the generic features of academic articles in a diverse range of areas, honed reading, writing, and presentation skills, and built a lens through which to assess more critically health/medical information available through professional, public, and social media.

Instructor: Mi-Young Kim

Section: 515

The Atkins diet, K-pop, fidget spinner, Pokémon Go, virtual reality games, mindfulness, body modification, and media hype of certain news… what do these have in common? They were (or are) once a fad. When does a fad become a fashion and finally settle as a “fit”? (or does it?) Which one of these has informational social influence or normative social influence? How does this particular type of social influence affect us as producers, distributors, and/or consumers? In this section of WRDS150, we will address some of these questions and explore how a fad shapes and forms our identities and values. We will also become familiar with the conventions of academic writing and the basic premise of research,  as well as participate in academic conversations through our own research on the topic of “fad, fashion, or fit”.

A selection of unabridged, peer-reviewed scholarly articles on the topic from several disciplinary perspectives including but not limited to media studies, socioeconomics, science, and psychology will help us see how scholarly texts with various research methods and writing styles can produce different types of knowledge and understanding of this particular type of social influence.

Instructor: Nazih El-Bezre

Section: 551

This section of WRDS 150 focuses on the relationship among globalization, identity formation, and the literacy practices needed in the 21st century. In today’s technologically-interconnected world, people, ideologies, food habits, fashion, and movies flow easily through borders with a speed unforeseen in the recorded human history. Due to the shrinkage of our world—which has been called a global village—we are faced with questions concerning the knowledges or literacies required to succeed in a highly competitive world, and the impact of these knowledges on our own identities. The focus on the 21st century literacies operates in conjunction with crucial life literacies, such as health literacy, ecoliteracy, second/additional language literacies, religious literacy, financial literacies, and even food literacy studies. As a result of these multiliteracies, individuals in the 21st century are now required to possess and use a variety of literacy competencies that span across various academic disciplines. Individuals’ literacies are thus multiple, dynamic, adaptable, and multidimensional. Due to the significance of these literacies on identity formation, researchers, including novice university students, explore literacies to improve knowledge transmission at every stage of individuals’ lives.

Instructor: Andrew Connolly

Section: 552

“I don’t believe it.” That was Donald Trump’s response to a report on climate change prepared by more than 300 leading climate scientists. Trump is hardly the only person in the contemporary world to reject scientific findings. People dismiss evolution, the health benefits of vaccines, even that the earth is a sphere. This rejection of science can seem perplexing, especially for those who understand the rigorous process of producing scientific knowledge and theories. So why is it that some people simply do not believe in science?
This course looks at the ways scholars from various departments seek to answer that question. Some of the scholars develop wide ranging theories about why people believe what they believe. Others focus on specific people and the complexity of their belief systems. Some scholars even raise their own doubts about science and scientific methods. The differences in the approaches each scholar takes to this question sometimes relates to the discipline they are from. These scholars come from Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, and English departments. Each of these disciplines has its own methods and conventions. In other words, a particular discipline influences what scholars ask questions about, how they phrase the questions, how they answer the questions, and how they present their findings. As a result, this course will not only introduce you to the academic study of science, politics, and belief. It will also introduce you to the various disciplinary approaches to research and writing.

Instructor: Jennifer Cowe

Section: 554

This course will aim to explore how different academic disciplines engage with the concept of nostalgia. Nostalgia is a word, or more usually a feeling, that most people have used or felt; however, very few understand its constant presence in everyday life. We will study nostalgia from its earliest appearance in academia as a form of mental illness in the seventeenth century and follow its growing influence over, and manipulation of, contemporary ideas of national identity, consumerism, class, lifestyle choices and LGBTQ histories. Through the study of academic journal articles from a variety of fields (psychology, history, marketing, politics, media) we will examine the research and writing techniques used by different disciplines to understand such an esoteric concept.