150B Summer 2020

These are the following courses being offered to students in Faculties outside of Arts during terms 1 & 2 of the 2020 summer session. For previous course listings please consult the Course Archives page.


2020S Term 1:

Instructor: Susan Blake

Section: 511 (MW 12:00-3:00)

This course aims to explore the question of how scholars in a variety of different disciplines within the university use language to write up their research results in the form of academic research articles (RAs). This course also connects scholarly writing practices (academic literacy) with a wide-range of scholarly research practices, and views academic writing as a “complex social activity” that takes both content and context into consideration. We engage in asking the following kinds of questions: How do researchers from different disciplines formulate research questions? What kinds of research methods do they use? What kinds of data (evidence) do they incorporate in scholarly research articles? How are those scholarly research articles organized? How are the data and their research findings presented in written and/or visual form? What is the relationship between the authors and their intended readers? What kinds of scholarly activities are researchers engaged in?

This course focuses on corpus construction and discourse analysis (method) & provides relevant examples from the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as a point of departure.

Students will build their own working corpus (research articles from their own discipline) and analyze this textual material. They will have opportunities to draft and revise and present their own original research findings in both oral and written forms. Research will be carried out collaboratively and provides students with opportunities to reflect on their own research and writing practices, as they become apprentice members of different research communities on campus.

Instructor: Gillian Carrabre

Section: 512 (MW 12:00-3:00)

Topic TBA

Instructor: Sang Wu

Section: 513 (MW 6:00-9:00pm)

This section of WRDS 150 will investigate climate change and other global crises, and issues of responsibility concerning them, in the epoch of the Anthropocene. Coined at the turn of the 21st century, the word is compounded from the Greek anthropos (“human”) and kainos (“new”). The Anthropocene is the new epoch of humans: one in which planetary conditions are shaped by human activity rather than vice versa, humankind as a force of geological agency has overtaken physical geography and natural history, and the familiar distinction between man and nature no longer holds. A closer look at the scientific and semantic implications of the term, however, reveals it to be less straightforward than initially appears. Currently not officially recognized as part of the Geologic Time Scale, what should be understood or measured as the basis for the Anthropocene means different things to different disciplines. How do scholars from fields as diverse as geology, climatology, sociology, history, anthropology, and psychology, engage with the common idea of the Anthropocene? Do studies of pre-industrial greenhouse gas emissions, critiques of environmentally unsustainable trends of industrial, socioeconomic, and technological acceleration in an age of world capitalism, and theories of the end of human history at the limits of human “meaning” and modernity, ask similar research questions despite starkly contrastive methodologies? How are the discursive challenges posed by referring to singular abstractions (e.g., humans as a “species,” the sense of a “universal” history or geostory, the “Anthropocene”) represented across multiple disciplines, reflective of the conceptual difficulties which arise in accessing or preserving a nature no longer distinguishable from the human interventions that create and destroy it? How is our sense of what it means to be natural objects or human subjects, and what it means not to be, informed by how our discourses produce meaning?

Instructor: Mi-Young Kim

Section: 521 (TTh 9:00-12:00)

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 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 (for Summer I 2020, three subtopics of media hype, Korean Wave, and body modification) 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 the social influence.

Instructor: Katja Thieme

Section: 522 (TTh 12:00-3:00)

To help us focus our investigation into how different research disciplines write and communicate, we will investigate how the concept of surveillance is developed and used in areas such as media studies, sociology, and political science. Surveillance has become a research issue of practical concern (e.g., with what surveillance tools can global spread of diseases be effectively observed and controlled?), as well as of ethical questions (e.g., what should the ethics be for using drones for military purposes?).  Looking at examples of how these questions have been discussed in research writing, this course will help you identify and use different research methods, types of data and evidence, and elements of style in research writing. You will also pursue your own questions on this topic by conducting research on a critical question related to surveillance. Assignments are structured so as to build on each other; this means that much of the reading and writing you do throughout the term can contribute to your final project. Please be aware that most of the writing you do in this course will not only be read by the instructor but also by other students in the course.

Instructor: Mary Ann Saunders

Section: 523 (TTh 3:00-6:00)

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: Connor Byrne

Section: 524 (TTh 5:00-8:00pm)

This course explores the city as an object of scholarly investigation in order to introduce you to the rigours of academic writing and research. By reading academic research articles from a range of disciplines, you will become familiar with the conventions and goals of academic criticism: novel, evidence-based research; critical dialogue; argumentation and analysis. As engaged readers and writers, and through a series of scaffolded assignments and workshops, you will become adept at the genre of research-driven writing: summary and citation, literature review, research proposals, conference papers/posters, peer review, and the research paper.

Guiding this work will be investigations of the city—of urban phenomena and experience but also, crucially, of key technological advancements that have shaped and continue to shape urban experience—carried out by the six research articles that model the kind of research and writing for which this course serves as an apprenticeship. In response to course material and discussion, you will reflect on your own evolving positions as modern city dwellers and ultimately develop a novel research project that contributes to scholarly conversations about technology and the city.

2020S Term 2:

Instructor: Lauren Gaudet

Section: 551 (MW 12:00-3:00)

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: TBA

Section: 552 (MW 3:00-6:00)

Topic TBA

Instructor TBA

Section 561 (TTh 12:00-3:00)

Topic TBA

Instructor: Laila Ferreira

Section: 562 (TTh 12:00-3:00)

Topic Description TBA

Instructor: Andrew Connolly

Section 563 (TTh 3:00-6:00)

“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: TBA

Section: 564 (MW 6:00-9:00PM)

Topic TBA