150A Winter 2019W

These are the following courses being offered to students in the Faculty of Arts during term 2 of the 2019/2020 winter session. For previous course listings please consult the Course Archives page.


WRDS 150A: For Students in The Faculty of Arts

Instructor: Susan Blake

Sections: 02M (MWF 9:00-10:00), 03M (MWF 10:00-11:00)

In this section of WRDS 150, students explore the types of questions pursued by language researchers in Anthropology, English, First Nations Studies, Linguistics and Psychology. Through readings, writing-intensive exercises, discussions and critical response, students have a framework in which to develop their own questions about language, and learn about the research and writing practices of language researchers across the disciplines. Students identify and discuss the formal properties of scholarly writing and further develop their own academic writing strategies while exploring issues related to global linguistic diversity and their own languages of heritage.

Instructor: Connor Byrne

Sections: 02N (MWF 9:00-10:00), 03N (MWF 10:00-11:00), 04M (MWF 11:00-12:00)

This course examines the city as an object of scholarly investigation in order to introduce students to the rigours of academic writing and research. By reading publications from a range of disciplines, we will become familiar with the conventions and goals of academic criticism.


Guiding this work will be questions about urban space and experience. What kinds of thinking, action, and community give rise to cities? What social, cultural, political, technological, and economic forces impact the lives of city dwellers? How have cities changed throughout history and in what important ways do cities differ? How should cities be organized—both spatially and politically? What role to city dwellers play in impacting and/or remedying the problems of the modern world, a world marked by unprecedented changes, from the rise of industry and capitalism, to the forces of colonialism and globalization, to the trauma of war and the threat of ecological collapse, to the emergence of new forms of identity that trouble conventional notions of class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc.? In response to course material and discussion, students will reflect on their own evolving positions as modern city dwellers.

Instructor: Katie Fitzpatrick

Sections: 02P (MWF 9:00-10:00)

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: Diane Burgess

Sections: 03P (MWF 10:00-11:00), 05N (MWF 12:00-1:00), 06M (MWF 1:00-2:00)

With their hashtags, newsfeeds, and status updates, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, blurring the boundaries between personal and professional networks and impacting how we gather and disseminate information. At the same time, micro-blogging has altered the public sphere, challenging journalistic norms and influencing potential forms of political engagement. By definition, social media are both networking technologies and information conduits. Drawing examples from media studies, psychology, journalism and political science, this section of WRDS 150 explores how scholars approach the qualities of social networks, their uses and their users.

Instructor: M. Gillian Carrabré

Sections: 04N (MWF 11:00-12:00), 07N (MWF 2:00-3:00)

Artists have long struggled with their mental health. Among them, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Van Gogh and Michael Jackson. The theme of this section of WRDS 150 is mental health and self-expression in the arts. We will examine articles from a range of disciplines, including musicology, theory, art, literature, music therapy. How do scholars consider the topic of mental health across these diverse fields of artistic discourse? How do musicians navigate the creation of art while dealing with mental illness? And how do we write about these issues as budding academics? Through the artistic work of William Shakespeare, Hector Berlioz, Avicii, Edvard Munch, Chuck Palahniuk, Linkin Park, Oscar Wilde and others, students will develop an understanding of the effects of mental health on the output of art and vice versa. Using the lens provided by our theme, students will learn to apply modern research techniques, think critically, and compose relevant academic papers in Chicago Style, the primary writing style in musical discourse. The classroom will embrace an inclusive mentality, cultivate respect among colleagues, and allow space for creativity.

Instructor: Laila Ferreira

Sections: 04P (MWF 11:00-12:00), 05Q (MWF 12:00-1:00), 07P (MWF 2:00-3:00)

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: Tom Bittner

Sections: 05M (MWF 12:00-1:00)

One interesting fact about human behaviour is that a person can know that it is best for her to do something and yet be unable to get herself to do it. This fact has been investigated in a variety of ways by scholars in psychology, philosophy, and sociology. We will examine the different approaches that are taken to the study of this phenomenon. What kinds of questions are interesting to researchers in these different disciplines? How do their research methods serve the production of knowledge in the scholarly tradition? Students will use what they learn about this tradition of inquiry to conduct their own research on a topic related to self-control.

Instructor: Mary Ann Saunders

Sections: 06N (MWF 1:00-2:00), 06Q (W 5:00-8:00), 07M (MWF 2:00-3:00)

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: William Green

Sections: 06P (MWF 1:00-2:00)

WRDS 150 prepares you to understand, and participate in, the discourse practices employed by the university community in disseminating the results of research activities. Research writing exhibits a number of characteristics which are shared across disciplinary boundaries, constituting a distinct genre. This course will provide you with experience in recognizing the genre conventions and expectations of research writing through reading published professional scholarship in a range of fields, and in practicing deploying the rhetorical features of research writing through creating communications which detail the results of your own research project. This section of WRDS 150 focuses on the calculation of time. We will read a range of papers concerning the calculation of time from a variety of fields. Over the course of the term, you will complete a series of assignments, each building upon the next, to complete a research project dealing with the language and rhetoric of papers in a discipline of your choosing.

Instructor: Nazih El-Bezre

Sections: 08M (MWF 3:00-4:00)

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: Michael Schandorf

Sections: 11M (TTh 9:30-11:00), 14M (TTh 2:00-3:30)

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.

Instructor: Jade Standing

Sections: 11N (TTh 9:30-11:00), 12N (TTh 11:00-12:30)

The classical term bugonia means the spontaneous generation of bees from the carcass of an ox.

In this course, we consider the ancient bee-generating art of bugonia as a trope with modern applicability. We study how bees are seen and often used as icons of regeneration, hope and new life, and we also think through wider issues of environmental degradation and restoration projects. We read part of a farming manual by Virgil, we look at histories, mythologies, and different cultural uses of bees and their products, and we explore ecological and economic issues affecting apiculture today. The pollination services offered by bees to their local environments epitomize the concept of ‘buying local’ and its ethos of sustainability and care for the planet. We close the course with a study of the influences behind buying local and examine different application models. This multi-discourse approach to a topic provides a foundation for engaging thoughtfully with scholarly conversations and published research from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including writing about these research perspectives and producing research of your own.

Instructor: Jennifer Cowe

Sections: 12M (TTh 11:00-12:30), 14N (TTh 2:00-3:30), 15M (TTh 3:30-5:00)

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.

Instructor: Jaclyn Rea

Sections: 14P (TTh 2:00-3:30)

In this section of WRDS 150, we will focus on the commonplace but nonetheless complex phenomenon of humour from a number of disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to psychology, cultural studies and political science.  We will consider how researchers in these disciplines study the effects and functions of humour. More importantly, we will consider how the methods researchers use to study humour shape their writing about it.