150B Winter 2019W

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


WRDS 150B: For Students in Faculties outside of Arts 

Instructor: Mi-Young Kim

Sections: 811 (MWF 9:00-10:00), 831 (MWF 11:00-12:00), 842 (MWF 12:00-1:00)

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 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: Janet Fu

Sections: 812 (MWF 9:00-10:00), 841 (MWF 12:00-1:00)

How to conduct research in engineering, science, and business  settings? How to write a research paper? What are the essential components in  communication that students need to acquire? This section of ASRW 150 will answer those questions. This course is designed for students who are not in Arts field. By reading and examining scholars’ works,  and intensive writing practice, students will be able to identify the goals, research methods, citation practices, different genres, and discursive practices; and will be also able to develop their own research proposal, and research paper. Through engaging various activities, students will  leverage their communication skills and research and writing capabilities.

Instructor: Mike Borkent

Sections: 821 (MWF 10:00-11:00), 851 (MWF 1:00-2:00), 861 (MWF 2:00-3:00)

How we discuss and engage with “Nature” or the “Environment” has profound effects on our world, as human needs, actions, and impacts vary according to different social, cultural, and environmental contexts. Recent concerns about environmental impacts and sustainability have come to include a focus on climate change adaptation in light of our contemporary anthropogenic “climate emergency.” Governmental and non-governmental organizations, businesses, and individual citizens are all increasingly concerned with addressing human impacts on the environment. Academic research has played an important role in informing these conversations about what has happened and how we might best understand and adapt to these concerns. In this course, we will read academic articles from a variety of disciplines that engage with questions of sustainability, adaptation, and climate change. Through these readings and subsequent course research, 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. We will consider how an interdisciplinary approach to questions of society and the environment helps us isolate the values, ideas, and practices of different approaches to research and the features of how they communicate this. Students will engage in a series of interconnected assignments and develop projects about sustainability and adaptation that engage with the scholarly conversation. In so doing, students will develop their skills as scholarly communicators by employing key features of academic style across a variety of genres while expanding their understanding of the complex interactions between human societies and the environment.

Instructor: Kirby Mania

Sections: 822 (MWF 10:00-11:00)

The study of the environment encompasses multiple disciplines across the humanities and sciences. In this course we will pay particular attention to the discourse surrounding environmental justice, considering perspectives from critical race theory, ecofeminism, history, sociology, political ecology, and economics. Emerging as a movement in the early 1980s in the US, environmental justice – now considered a global movement and a matter of global concern – recognizes the “unequal impacts of environmental pollution on different social classes and racial/ethnic groups” (Mohai et al., 2009, p.405). Studies have shown that placement of toxic waste facilities and exposure to environmental pollutants disproportionately affect vulnerable social groups (such as people of colour, indigenous peoples, immigrants, women, minority and low-income communities as well as developing countries). Environmental justice studies emerged as a way in which to research, track, and monitor cases of environmental injustice. Research in this field considers the role that grassroots activists play in raising awareness and their means of enacting meaningful environmental and social change. Scholars also study and evaluate policy decisions that either improve or exacerbate existing conditions affecting at-risk communities. The environmental justice paradigm (EJP) attempts to “link environmental principles with historical and contemporary social and economic justice struggles … hold corporations accountable and to participate in the policy making process” (Taylor, 1997, p.53). In this course, we will be tracing a number of scholarly conversations about the Environmental Justice Movement, looking at literature from the US, but also from Canada and other parts of the world, discussing terms like environmental racism, environmental inequality, intersectionality, slow violence, and the environmentalism of the poor.

This multi-discourse approach to the provided topic provides a foundation for engaging thoughtfully with scholarly conversations and published research across a range of disciplinary perspectives. The course will entail writing about these research perspectives as well as producing research of your own.

Instructor: Susan Blake

Sections: 832 (MWF 11:00-12:00)

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: Andrew Connolly

Sections: 852 (MWF 1:00-2:00), 871 (MWF 3:00-4:00), 881 (MWF 4:00-5:00)

“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: Loren Gaudet

Sections: 862 (MWF 2:00-3:00), 872 (MWF 3:00-4:00)

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: William Green

Sections: 882 (MWF 4:00-5:00)

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: Tom Andrews

Sections: 911 (TTh 9:30-11:00), 932 (TTh 2:00-3:30)

This section of WRDS150 is focused on Critical Thinking in the Digital Era. These modules cover issues including social networking behavior and privacy, climate change denial and hyper-critical thinking, and ‘slacktivism’ and bandwagon political engagement in the 21st century.  We will read articles from scholarly and non-scholarly sources from social science, political science, and humanities backgrounds as well as watching interviews, Ted Talks, and discussion panels. In doing so, we will endeavor to answer such questions as: does the internet still offer users a place to share and consume information honestly?  Do the harms caused by social media use outweigh its many advantages in contemporary society? How have internet communication platforms changed political engagement and awareness? What biases or fallacies are perpetuated by an online world?

Instructor: Dylan Cree

Sections: 912 (TTh 9:30-11:00), 921 (TTh 11:00-12:30)

The main objective of the course WRDS 15O is to introduce you to various forms of academic research and writing. Accordingly, you will learn to write a summary, a research proposal, and a research paper, all of which will provide you with the kinds of writing skills you will use throughout your academic career.In this particular offering of the course our topic will be approaches in media studies and media criticism. Learning from different schools of thought, concepts and theories related to media and culture you will study the relationships between formal, aesthetic, representational and sensory elements of media texts and their surrounding discourses. Throughout the course, some of our guiding questions will be: how are media and cultural texts made?; how do we critique and analyse media and cultural texts?; and, how is an audience constituted?

Instructor: David Newman

Sections: 922 (TTh 11:00-12:30), 931 (TTh 2:00-3:30)

In a world where innovation has become highly sought after, creativity is the often-hidden engine necessary for innovation to take place. Creativity is now listed as one of the key skills required for employment in the 21stcentury. But what is creativity, and how is it understood?

Creativity crosses discipline boundaries and can be viewed and understood through multiple lenses (such as business, engineering, and neuroscience). Using scholarship on Creativity as a vehicle, this course will introduce you to different genres and forms of academic writing. You will learn to conduct a literature review, write summaries, develop a research proposal, and then write (and rewrite) a research essay.

Instructor: Meredith Beales

Sections: 941 (TTh 3:30-5:00)

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: Sang Wu

Sections: 951 (Tu 5:00-8:00)

This course introduces students to academic reading and writing through analysis of scholarly discourses in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. We will focus our investigation on climate change and other global crises, and issues of responsibility concerning them, in the era 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?