first_year_seminars

Courses

First Year Seminars offered by Woodsworth College:

CCR199H1 Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in Her Time and Ours
Instructor:  T. Moritz
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's 1813 novel about spirited Elizabeth Bennet and forbidding Mr. Darcy, has been admired by critics and readers since its publication. The novel rewards study both for its own sake—a model of English prose fiction and a revealing image of England on the threshold of modernity—and for what its contemporary popularity reveals about our time, which has witnessed an outpouring of retellings and adaptations of the novel since a highly successful 1995 BBC television production starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. The principal question explored in the seminar is the extent to which Austen's original story survives in contemporary versions. Works studied will include Austen's Pride and Prejudice, screen adaptations of the novel, and text and screen works based on Pride and Prejudice, including Bridget Jones's Diary.
Breadth category: 1 Creative and Cultural Representations

CCR199Y1 Fatal Attraction: The Lure of Villains (and now Vampires!) in Literature
Instructor:  J.B. Rose

Why is it that literary villains and vampires such as Satan, Iago, Heathcliff, Dexter, and Dracula get all the best lines? Villains and vampires are usually intelligent, devious, scheming, and nefarious, often eloquent or even charismatic. The defining characteristic of many of these characters is that they know they are villains and are often proud of it, yet as Tillyard comments "to be greatly bad, a man [or woman] must have correspondingly great potentialities for good." Villains and vampires are not only compelling as fictional characters, but their wrongdoings often begin and drive the plot. In this course, we will examine some remarkable villains and vampires, including some female characters, selected from literature. After identifying some archetypal characters and themes, students will observe how villains have been reshaped over the centuries and what role women play in the villainous impulse. Films will be integrated with written texts where appropriate. This seminar will assist students develop skills in critical reading and thinking, academic writing, and seminar presentations. Evaluation will be based on reading response entries and a final analysis assignment, two in-class identification tests, one group presentation, and class participation.
Breadth category: 1 Creative and Cultural Representations

CCR199H1 There and Back Again: Exploring Tolkien Woodsworth
Instructor:  A. Bolintineanu

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” So begins the journey—there and back again—of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins across the invented landscape of Middle Earth. Since the mid-twentieth century, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings have become classics of children’s and fantasy literature. In this course, we read Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We investigate the world-building and imagined history that lies behind them. We trace how Tolkien’s own life experience informed his work—his experience as a soldier of the Great War and a civilian during World War Two; as a scholar of medieval language and literature, and of fairy tales; as a Catholic thinker; and as a lover of nature and the past. We also survey the afterlife of the novels in fantasy, film, video games, and the popular imagination.
Breadth Category: 1, Creative and Cultural Respresentations

SII199H1 Protest Movements and Popular Culture
Instructor:  T. Socknat

Millions of people take to the streets of major cities around the globe to protest the Iraq war in 2003.” “More than 35 cities and towns across Canada hold rallies to stop the war in Afghanistan.” “The Arab Spring calls for democratic change as demonstrators filled Egypt’s Tahir Square in 2011.” “Black Lives Matter protests sweep American cities in 2016.” “The Women’s March on Washington draws over 500,000 and five million worldwide in 2017.” These and other headlines confirm that protests, recently almost all orchestrated through social media, continue to form an important aspect of popular culture, but these protests are only the latest stage in the evolution of an organized, citizen initiated campaign for social, economic and political justice that can be traced back to the Civil Rights Movement and Peace Movement of the 1960s.

This course examines how various forms of popular culture, such as films, music, art, literature, TV, internet sites and social media, reflect and promote protest movements, past and present.  Special emphasis will be placed on the interplay of popular culture with the peace movement/anti-war protests and the civil rights movement/anti-discrimination protests, as well as with the environmental movement/anti-pollution protests and the indigenous rights movement/anti-colonialism protests.

The course, based on a variety of interdisciplinary readings and various forms of popular culture, is taught in an interactive seminar format and will assist students in developing skills in academic research and writing, as well as in presentations and discussions.

TBB199H1 Cultural Literacy in the Information Age
Instructor:  T. Moritz

Despite the increasing general cultural acceptance of online information gathering, the university remains divided on its value. On the one hand, students enter university with considerable Internet expertise, gained from prior formal training and from their personal experience of going online to answer everyday questions; moreover, many cultural changes, such as the move from print to online publications, seem to confirm online resources are vital for staying informed. On the other hand, skepticism is routinely voiced in the university about the academic merits of some of the online resources favored by students, including Google searches and consultation of Wikipedia. This seminar examines the roots of this ongoing disagreement in two related debates about education: first, how to integrate modern technology into the process of learning (computer literacy), and, second, how to decide what knowledge is required for full cultural participation (cultural literacy). These issues will be examined through course readings from a range of academic, general interest and discipline-specific sources. Using this material and independent research, students will judge what role the Internet should play in higher education.

 

First Year Seminar offered by the Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources:

SII199H1  Why We Work:  Understanding Work Through the Prism of Art & Culture
Instructor: Rafael Gomez

Why do we work? What does work mean to the average person? These questions are not as straightforward as they appear. We work for the bulk of our lives and most of our days are spent with coworkers who are neither family nor close friends, but we often fail to realize how self-defining work really is. This speaks to work’s centrality but also to its invisibility in reflective discourse. Through “popular” representations of work, however, (such as in story-telling, cave paintings, hieroglyphs, music, writing, painting, television, film, video games, etc.,) we can begin to better understand the meaning of work and how this has changed over time. Readings in anthropology and employment relations plus film and art criticism will help us explore these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective; assignments will encourage students to reflect on their own experience of work. Developing strong analytical and communication skills is an important goal of the course.
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions