Every semester the Faculty of Liberal Studies offers a variety of Special Topics courses in each discipline and at most levels. These courses allow us to add variety to the curriculum, take advantage of the special expertise of sessional instructors or new faculty, and try out course topics before adding them to the regular curriculum. All of these courses are the equal of regularly listed courses and fulfill the discipline and level requirements for graduation.
VISC 4B94: The Body and the Machine: Interrogating the Posthuman in Art and Design
Since the deus ex machina was used as a means to resolve the plot in Greek tragedy, we have relied on the machine to augment the everyday and improve (?) our quality of life. The “posthuman” has emerged from postmodern discourse to describe our desire to extend beyond the limits of the human body. In this participatory seminar we will interrogate the ways that artists and designers have contributed to the production of the posthuman, examine its history in western and eastern cultures, and critique the processe of its evolution.
HUMN 3B92: STUFF: Material Culture and the Meanings of Things
This course examines the meaning of things, buildings and places and the relationships people establish with them. Interested as much in the methodological questions of how to assess critically the built environment – and here the built environment is defined so as to include architecture, furniture, human-made landscape and objects of all kinds – as in philosophical and aesthetic questions of meaning and significance, whether functional or emotional, that tend to accompany the interactions with "stuff", the course is structured around linked, but independent thematic units. As such, the primary purpose of this course is to provide a framework for the analysis of things and methodological tools for the use of material culture in the study of society, past or present. Here, the intention is to interrogate the central, complex and powerful roles that things of all sorts play in daily life.
VISC 3B91: Car Culture
This course examines the multifaceted impact of the car in the 20th century, from its invention to the most recent examples of cars (electric, hybrid, Tata’s people car, etc.). It will use the automobile as the entrée to an understanding of the culture of mobility. It will explore questions of the design and production of cars, taking into account gender and cultural differences; the effect cars have on the natural and built environment as well as the representation and the use of cars in the visual arts. The course will also examine car culture in relation to the far reaching challenge that sustainability represents for the 21st century.
VISC 3B92: An Introduction to Games Studies (new course added 2009-12-17)
Games are complex objects that can be framed from a number of
perspectives. Broadly, games studies seek to map the game "object", the
player (or "subject") and the critical dialogue and interaction that
delimits game space. This course introduces students to game studies by
using an analytical model (addressing textual, performative,
socio-cultural, design and political contexts of game form) in order to
closely study the mechanics, aesthetics and practices of games
themselves, to better understand them as cultural artefacts.
The course addresses games as complex objects, and teaches practices of game analysis from a range of critical perspectives. Games studies has developed in the era of the 'digital' yet games and play have been integral to worldwide culture since records began. By building an inter-disciplinary and historically-aware approach to the study of game form this course introduces students to a broad set of tools and techniques in order to study the ongoing cultural impact of the videogame.
Finally, this course explores games as cultural artefacts, arising from diverse cultural histories, landscapes and geographies, with specific attention to how they are influenced and altered through youth and adult subcultures.
VISC 3B95: Social Entrepreneurship for Designers
This course will examine the contemporary context of design practice in terms of its relationship to social entrepreneurship, globalization and new models of collaboration. Contemporary design practice is rapidly changing in response to new technologies, global marketing, environmental concerns and the internationalization of products and modes of production. Areas of focus include globalization and product development, practice-based research, emerging design methodologies, sustainability, traditional practices, social equity and regional and international economic development.
VISC 3B96: Aboriginal Cultural Politics: Gender, Art and Activism
This course is an exploration of Aboriginal artists who are working with themes of gender, politics and contentious issues. The focus will be on artists who see their art making as both critically engaged and as part of their relationship to their communities. This will involve analyzing their work through personal testimonies, reviews and readings in the context of Aboriginal political and social issues. The course will work through theories of dialogical aesthetics, community-based and site-specific art practices and how this does or does not relate to Aboriginal epistemologies. Reflecting on differing stances on gender relations and feminism/theory, the course will examine how Aboriginal artists reject or participate in this dialogue. It will also reflect on the current role art has in our global society. In western or colonial countries such as Canada the function of art has often been confined to a gallery space with visual aesthetics being the primary rational for art production, we will begin to complicate and problematize this stance.
The course will reflect on local and established Aboriginal artists such as Rebecca Belmore, Faye Heavysheild and Jeff Thomas and will draw comparisons with Indigenous artists from the United States and various Latin American countries. The course will consist of readings, in class discussions, visual presentations, films, field trips and any other related possibilities.
Last Modified:1/24/2012 12:57:15 PM