Second Year Courses:
AH 2200 E / Theory and History Across the Arts and Humanities
Fall 2017 Instructor: Professor Pauline Wakeham (English and Writing Studies) Indigenous Culture (Literature & Film)
Winter 2018 Instructor: Professor Kirsty Robertson (Visual Arts) Environment (Museum Exhibition)
Despite its relatively recent invention, plastics are rooted in “deep time.” A single-use plastic takeout container, for example, has a lifespan that stretches back to the primordial past of the fossil record: many plastics are byproducts of fossil fuel refinement. Because they do not biodegrade, plastics also stretch forward into a multi-thousand-years future before they will break down into their component molecular parts. Given this, plastics are increasingly known as “future fossils.” Because plastic waste accumulates in ever increasing quantities on land, in the water, and even in the air, the current convenience of plastic rests on its inconvenience to the future generations who will be tasked with cleaning it up. Yet in the present moment, plastics are so ubiquitous that daily life is near impossible without them. Plastic microfibers are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. This dystopia contrasts with the way that plastics contribute enormously to contemporary life: many medical, agricultural, and social innovations would be impossible without them. This course traces plastic as a key Anthropocenic artefact – a contradictorily helpful substance and environmentally destructive force. Resulting in an exhibition and museum dedicated to future fossils, this class will explore conceptual, artistic, environmental, social, and political understandings of plastics from humanities and scientific perspectives, ranging from the celebratory to the dystopian.
AH 2220F – Effective Communication in the Arts and Humanities
Fall 2018 Instructor: Professor Michael Arntfield (English and Writing Studies) Writing (Rhetoric/Journalism/Crime Writing)
This course will introduce students to a broad range of communication strategies and methodologies and will generally optimize the interdisciplinary purview of the arts and humanities through the analysis of literary fiction, film and television, legal and forensic documents, and both political and advertising rhetoric. In helping prepare students for advanced scholarship and research, specific careers in communications and other humanities-related fields, and for becoming responsible and informed global citizens, the assignments in this course are all designed to cultivate new interests while building on existing strengths.
Students can expect to participate in class discussion and debate, to make oral presentations, to study rhetoric and logic, and to critically examine and effectively describe multimedia materials with the view to understanding the elements of style unique to specific document types. In all cases, students will work collaboratively on different kinds of projects, including textual analysis.Prerequisite: 75% or higher in AH 1020E 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course
AH 2230G - Digital Tools, Digital Literacies
Winter 2018 Instructor: Professor Mark McDayter (English and Writing Studies) Digital Humanities & Archives
General description: This course examines the evolution of information systems and the impact of digital technologies on research in the Arts and Humanities through a hands-on examination of databases, search engines, and online archives; text mining and analysis tools; visualization, bibliography and citation software; social media, blogging, and website design and creation.
Detailed description: The advent of new technologies and online resources has revolutionized how scholars conduct and communicate research. The sheer amount of information increases exponentially each year, while new tools emerge to access, search, sift, analyze, and communicate this data. How can we best find useful research information, and how do we distinguish “information” from “data”? What kind of analysis can digital tools provide, and what can they not do? How is research communicated in a world still split between traditional print methodologies and novel digital communications tools? How can we best employ research information and the technology that enables it? How can we ensure it is not controlling us?
This course examines information systems and technologies past and present. It pays particular attention to digital tools that facilitate research, within the context of a historical understanding of how information systems have evolved, and their impact upon our understanding. The course’s main focus is a hands-on examination of databases, search engines, online archives, text mining and analysis tools; visualization, bibliography and citation software; social media, blogging, and web site creation and design. Students are encouraged to consider the implications of “the digital turn”: What is inside the literal and metaphorical “black boxes” that house and circulate our cultural knowledge, and how do circuit and code, hardware and software, impact how we learn, think, and communicate?
Prerequisite: 75% or higher in AH 1020E 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course