2013-2014 Seminars

Term 2:

The Development of Self-Consciousness (PHIL 486C 001)
Coordinators: Omid Kazemi, Conrad Gryba
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Steven Taubeneck
Time: Tuesdays, 3:30-6:30pm

The focus of this course will be a close reading of arguably Hegel’s most influential work, The Phenomenology of Spirit, with particular attention to notable sections of the book, such as “Self-Consciousness”, “Spirit”, and “Lordship and Bondage”. The goal of the class is to comprehend and scrutinise the most important aspects of the philosophy espoused in this work. As such, we will not be reading the entirety of The Phenomenology; rather, we will be paying closer attention to more relevant and renowned sections of the book.

Disordered Eating: Biology and Behaviour (ASTU 400U)
Coordinator: Jacob Sussman
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Michael Souza, Dr. Sunaina Assanand
Time: Tuesday/Thursdays, 2-3:30pm

This seminar will explore research on disordered eating. As a group, we will examine the basic neuroscience of feeding behaviours as well as clinical research on obesity, food addiction, DSM-V eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia), and idiosyncratic examples of disordered eating such as pica and fad diets. As a participant, you will have opportunities to write and present on related topics of your choosing within a peer-learning environment. Because this is a seminar class, emphasis will be placed on collaboratively building an understanding of the topic material from student contributions. Interested students will be asked to submit a brief statement explaining their interest in the course and any relevant background (e.g., coursework).

From Bench to Bedside: Exploring the Impact of Research & Innovation on the Health Care System (ASTU 400J)
Coordinator: Janet Lee
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Gardy
Time: Tuesday/Thursdays, 3:30-5pm

This course will examine the impacts of scientific research, technological innovations, and medical discoveries on transforming health care systems. Students will explore the principles behind the four stages of these translational research and will analyze practical examples of knowledge translation in the health care system, including opportunities, barriers, and future perspectives through series of case studies. In addition to dialogue with peers from different fields of study, students will interact with professionals from different health care fields and will complete assignments designed to give them valuable experiences in active presentation, critical thinking, effective communication, and health care policy-making. Prospective students must write a short paragraph (~300words) on why she/he is interested in taking the course and how they hope the course will help them achieve their learning and/or career objectives.

Fundamentals of Recovery: Life After a Brain Injury (ASTU 400Y)
Coordinator: Christina van den Brink
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Michael Souza
Time: Tuesday/Thursdays, 3:30-5pm

The brain is a intricate system of networks that work together in the service of cognition. This balance can be perturbed or even devastated by a brain injury, such as stroke or trauma. Brain injury is the leading cause of long-term disability in children and young adults and for this and many other reasons, it has never been more important to understand which factors best promote successful recovery. This seminar focuses on such factors in a small setting designed to promote both independent and collaborative learning. Interested students will be asked to submit a brief statement of interest outlining why they are interested in the course, as well as the relevant coursework they have completed to study this topic at a 400-level.

International Relations of the Middle East: Theory and Policy (ASTU 400N)
Coordinators: Lee Aldar
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Gagnon
Time: Wednesdays, 11am-2pm

Do current events in the Middle East go in line with the explanations proposed by international relations (IR) theorists from the Realist, Liberal, Constructivist, and Critical schools? Are there any particular problems with applying those theories to the Middle East? And if so, what could be some missing, underlying factors? This seminar will allow students with an interest in international relations and the Middle East to examine one of the most complex regions in the world and make sense of the interplay between its states and non-state actors through the lens of various IR theories, but without being bound by them. While popular theories of IR will be considered, participants will also be encouraged and expected to raise alternative explanations to historical developments.

The seminar will be divided according to four major themes: ethnicity, ethnic conflict, and Nationalism; democracy, political Islam, and the Arab Spring; Western intervention and influence; and the Arab-Israeli conflict. In order to look beyond the theory and appreciate the complexities of real world scenarios, participants will create policy recommendations related to the above mentioned themes. Interested students should have taken POLI 260 (or an equivalent thereof), and will be asked to submit a brief statement of interest.

Large-Scale Machine Learning and Big Data (CPSC 490)
Coordinator: Brendan Shillingford
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Steven Wolfman
Time: Tuesday/Thursday, 5pm – 6:30pm.

We now have access to vast amounts of ‘big data’, but learning from it efficiently remains a challenge. In an introductory-level machine learning course, you may have the tools to handle moderate-sized datasets, but this student directed seminar’s goal is to learn modern methods for scaling them. We will cover interesting parts of the intersection of parallel computing, optimization, and machine learning. We will also cover up-to-date applications to real-world problems, e.g. inference on real-time Twitter data and techniques for visualizing large datasets.

Course website: https://sites.google.com/site/490mlbigdata/

Literature based approach to French creative writing – Écriture creative basée sur la littérature (FREN 498F 201)
Coordinator: Simon Ferguson
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Ralph Sarkonak
Time: Thursdays, 5-8pm

Technique et style d’écriture francophone basée sur l’analyse littéraire de différents mouvements esthétiques, avec une emphase sur le processus d’écriture créative. Styles d’écritures et sujets possibles: le nouveau roman, la contrainte littéraire, l’écriture féminine, etc. Les discussions et travaux seront complétés en français et donc une compétence en français équivalente au cours de niveau 200 ou plus est requise.

French writing styles and techniques based on the literary analysis of different aesthetic movements with an emphasis on the creative writing process. Topics may include the following writing styles: nouveau roman, literary constraint, women’s writing, etc. Course discussions and writing assignments will be done in French, and as such 200-level or greater knowledge of French is required.

Neuropsychological Disorders in Children (ASTU 400Z)
Coordinator: Tamar O’Shea
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Michael Souza
Time: Wednesdays, 3-6pm

While we most commonly think about neuropsychological disorders happening only in adults (i.e., due to stroke), there is an important population of children who are living with the effects of brain dysfunction all around the world. Through collaborative discussions and individual and group presentations, students will explore some of the most prevalent pediatric neuropsychological disorders (e.g., stroke, trauma, epilepsy), innovative treatment options, as well as the child and family’s experience after diagnosis. Interested students should send a brief (1 page) statement of interest indicating why they are interested in the course, as well as what relevant background they have to add to the course (e.g., coursework, lab/volunteer experience).

The Ottoman Empire and the World: A Social History of Major Ottoman Cities (HIST 390A 201)
Coordinator: Jenna Dur
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Eagle Glassheim
Time: Monday/Wednesdays, 9:30-11:00am

At its height, the Ottoman Empire was extremely vast and spread over Eastern Europe, Anatolia, the Middle East and Northern Africa. Throughout its almost 500 years of existence, it had an immense influence on the areas it ruled and colonized. Although the Ottoman Empire was founded on principles of expansionism and conquest, unlike other European Empires, it also tolerated diversity and religious difference.

This seminar will examine the social differences and diversity in this far-reaching empire by exploring the urban histories of major cities within the Ottoman Empire throughout its long history. The seminar will be centered on social history, focusing on the lived experience of the people in a particular period. Topics will include religious practices and myth, popular imagination, palace life, entertainment, gender roles and more. As such, the seminar will utilize primary source material whenever possible including travel narratives. For example, Evliya Celebi traveled widely throughout the Empire in the seventeenth century and wrote fantastical narratives about the peoples and customs he encountered. Furthermore, a comparative historical approach will be used when relevant to examine the interactions between the great European Empires/powers and the Ottoman Empire.

The seminar does not presume any prior knowledge in Ottoman, Middle Eastern or European history, although a background in history and historical thinking will be helpful.

Pragmatism: Just Chasing Squirrels? (PHIL 487 001)
Coordinator: Lu-Vada Dunford
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Steven Taubeneck
Time: Wednesdays, 3-6pm

Pragmatism is important to study because it is unique in that it is not and never was a school of thought unified around a distinctive philosophical doctrine. Despite this, some of the most famous philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries, from Dewey, James and Peirce to Putnam, Quine, Rorty and Davidson, have identified themselves as pragmatists. But how is it possible to identify as a pragmatist without subscribing to a common philosophical thesis? What is pragmatism anyway? Is pragmatism simply a catchall title for all those philosophers who do not fit the analytic or continental tradition? This course will address these questions and many more while on the road to discovering pragmatism.

Prostitution and Human Trafficking in Comparative Perspectives (ASTU 400K)
Coordinators: Kate Beck, Kathryn Hutchins
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Neil Guppy
Time: Wednesdays, 3-6pm

This course will provide students with an understanding of prostitution and human trafficking from legal, economic, and sociological angles. Through guest lectures, presentations, documentaries, field trips and personal accounts, students will be introduced to theory, which will then be applied to different case studies in Cambodia, Mozambique, the Middle East, Holland and Canada.

Roy Kiyooka: Modernism Between the Intimate and the Political (ASTU 400M)
Coordinators: Carolyn Nakagawa, Angus Reid
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Chris Lee
Time: Wednesdays, 3-6pm

This course will examine the work of modernist painter, photographer, and poet Roy Kiyooka, with focus on his literary work. We will make use of theoretical texts (including critical race theory), archival work, and class discussion to look at themes of the centre versus the margin in the literary canon, the academic institution, and the myth of national identity. The class will include guest speakers, participant-led discussion, and a community-based group project. The incorporation of creative work will be strongly encouraged.

Spectral Spirits, Suspense, and the Sublime: Gothic Literature in Speculation (ASTU 400G)
Coordinators: Gemma Grimes, Catherine Read
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Gisele M. Baxter
Time: Tuesday/Thursdays, 12:30-2pm

In this course we will explore classic Gothic novels (Frankenstein, Dracula, Jane Eyre) as well as gothic elements in modern popular fiction (Twilight). Particular focuses will be on elements of the uncanny, the supernatural, and the sublime. If you have an interest in vampires, werewolves, ghostly spectres or haunted castles then this course is for you!

Transformative Education: Exploitation, Violence and the Sexes (ASTU 400W)
Coordinator: Gaylean Davies
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Sunaina Assanand
Time: Mondays, 1-4pm

This is a multi-disciplinary course focused on gender-fair discussions of exploitation, oppression and violence.  Among topics that we will consider are: trafficking, domestic violence, violence in religion, and violence in the media.  We will expose our views, opinions and biases through readings and debate, in addition to working on a project directed at social transformation. Through this learning, our own views and opinions will be subject to change, which in turn can affect those with whom we come into contact. Please note that all those interested will have to submit a statement of interest for consideration

Traumatic Brain Injury: The Full Picture of Impact (ASTU 400T)
Coordinator: Vivian Kwan
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Michael Souza
Time: Tuesday/Thursdays, 2-3:30pm

Without forewarning and all within an instant, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be life-changing, potentially eliciting profound changes in physical, cognitive and social well-being. This student led seminar is designed to provide an engaging, collaborative, and hands-on learning experience through: (1) interacting directly with survivors as a volunteer at the Headway Centre, (2) partaking in a tour at the ICORD Research Institute and Clinic and (3) discussing a variety of topics linked to TBI, some of which will be led by guest speakers with wide-ranging backgrounds. Interested applicants should email the coordinator (vivian.s.kwan@gmail.com) describing their background and why they are so interested and motivated to learn more about this topic! No previous volunteer or lab work related to TBI is required for entry into the course.

Term 1:

The Frankfurt School (PHIL 485 001)
Coordinators: Jeremy Arnott, Hannah Tollefson
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Steven Taubeneck
Time: Wednesdays, 3-6pm

This course will be an examination of the social and political philosophical movement known as the Frankfurt School, and the notion of Critical Theory. Readings will include texts from Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Marcuse, and Habermas, as well as contemporary theorists. We will examine theories of art, culture, and metaphysics, while exploring the dichotomy between theory and practice, all in an attempt to apply these theories to contemporary emancipatory movements. There is no royal road to Science.

The Politics of Indigenous-Settler Reconciliation in Canada (FNSP 433A 001)
Coordinator: Erica Baker
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Daniel Heath Justice
Time: Fridays, 1-4pm

This course explores the topic of reconciliation in relation to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. It will coincide with the Vancouver National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, taking place from September 18th-21st 2013, as well as the Year of Reconciliation, as proclaimed by City of Vancouver.Through this course, students will interact with and participate in some of these important public events and intercultural conversations and bring their experiences and developing understandings back to the shared context of the classroom. Students will approach the topic of reconciliation through looking at critical perspectives, theoretical frameworks, decolonizing methodologies, political theory and activism, and strategic approaches to contemporary Indigenous issues.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Center for Student Involvement & Careers
Brock Hall
1002-1874 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada
Tel: 604.822.9805
Tlell Elviss
Centre for Student Involvement & Careers
1002-1874 East Mall (Brock Hall),
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada

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