School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & HumanitiesWestern Arts and Humanities

Fourth Year

Fourth Year Courses

Integrated Seminar (AH 4410E)

This capstone seminar will centre on a specific theme or hot topic, to be examined from various disciplinary and methodological perspectives in the Arts and Humanities in which students have been trained in the Program. A key component of the seminar, building on students’ local and regional community involvement to this point in the Program, will be travel to a national or international site for the purpose of undertaking intensive fieldwork. The seminar topic will be led by a Visiting Scholar invited to participate in the Program, with the contribution of one or more Research Fellows. Course curriculum will be determined by the Visiting Scholar and/or Research Fellows in dialogue with students, who will be asked to engage with the seminar’s themes in terms of their individual research interests developed throughout the Program. Among a variety of assignments, then, students will be asked to design and execute a major Independent Research Project whose applied study will reflect the results of their national or international fieldwork. Prerequisites: AH 2210E and AH 2220E 3 hours/week, 1.0 course

Experiential Learning in the Arts and Humanities (AH 4490 F/G to 4493 F/G)

These courses will capitalize upon the various applied skills acquired in the Program in order to launch students on their future academic or career trajectories. Each course will thus focus exclusively on some practical element of the professional development of critical and research skills with an eye to preparing students in any number of fields from postgraduate study to jobs in the private and public sectors. Typically students will take up internships in any number of settings or in organizations with which the School collaborates: research team; print or digital editing and publishing; public or human relations; cultural event organization; curatorial, museum, or gallery planning; film or video production, etc. 3 hours/week, 0.5 course

Immersion Emergencies and Possible Worlds:
Engaging Water as Culture and Resource through Humanities Practice
Professor Patrick Mahon

In the present socio-cultural moment, water is increasingly the subject of discussion and contestation in public discourse. Canadians know it as a resource that is ubiquitous within their history and an increasingly desirable international commodity. This course proceeds from Patrick Mahon’s collaborative, international project that mobilizes research and practice in visual art to address the subject of waterregarding its cultural and environmental importance. Linking the historical art practice of picturing nature with the potential of visual representation and literary/analytical texts to offer opportunities for aesthetic and socio-cultural engagement, Immersion Emergencies will provide a forum for analysis, expression and creation. In response to lectures, field trips, design charettes and on-line and library research, students will engage with water variously, through written, auditory and visual means. In addition to individual projects, collaborative and site-specific activities will be encouraged.

Curating the City II
Professor Kirsty Robertson

In this participatory course, students will put into action material from “Curating the City, Part I” (see “Third-Year Courses”) using spatial data collected in London to create a series of maps that “re-draw” the city through a variety of often overlooked strata: foodscapes, smellscapes, or financespaces, for example. The collection and assembly of this data will result in a curatorial intervention in London (space to be determined). Students will emerge from the class with an understanding of how knowledge can be accrued and conveyed through visual material and an understanding of how globalization and the passages and circulations of goods, foods and services affect the physical space of a small city.

Digital on the Street: The Digital Public Humanities in Theory and Practice
Professor Mark McDayter

This course will examine the intersections and encounters between two new strains of work in the Humanities: Public Humanities and Digital Humanities. While the latter focuses particularly on the ways in which digital technology can assist students of the arts and humanities in understanding the traditional subjects of their study, it is, like the Public Humanities, very much about engagement with the public sphere, and the communication of humanistic knowledge and perspectives. How can Digital Humanities help enable such public engagement? And how can Public Humanities inform the practices of digital humanists? The course will have three components: a theoretical, classroom-based examination of the theoretical intersections of Public and Digital Humanities, a praxis and technology component in which the students learn to use a multimedia story-building tool, and finally a community service learning component in which the students interact with elementary students to help them tell their own "stories" digitally, by means of a linked and networked "storybook" that is produced collaboratively by both course participants and the elementary school students. Evaluation will be based upon one formal written essay, a short written “Reflection,” participation in the collaborative digital story telling project, and in-class participation. See course website

The Spirit of the Place: Wildness, Nature and Humanity
Professor Gillian Barker

How, in this 21st century, are we to understand our relationship to nature—to the earth, the wild, the non-human? How can our understanding guide the choices that we make, as individuals and as a society? This course combines philosophical reflection with literary and artistic explorations drawn from diverse historical contexts and cultural traditions to investigate our moral, practical and spiritual relationship with the natural world, and the ways in which our personal and collective identities are entangled with the environments we live in. Our investigations will be rooted in our own place here in southwestern Ontario, with field excursions to explore local natural and urban environments (including a canoe trip through the Exceptional Waters reach of the Grand River.) Students will reflect on their own lifetime relationships to the natural world through journals, personal essays and collaborative projects, as well as writing argumentative philosophy papers as a means of probing the conceptual and theoretical questions that arise when we ask about humans’ place in nature and nature’s place in human life.

Environmental Philosophy in the Community
Professor Eric Desjardins

Although many of us care in some ways about the environment, few of us dare to take action. This course asks students to reflect and act on environmental concerns. Working in collaboration with a partner in southwestern Ontario, such as The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority or the City of London, students will engage in on-site conservation projects, reflect on our responsibility to the environment, argue for different reasons to value nature, learn about different views of sustainability, explore the complexity of promoting biodiversity in an ever changing world, and propose imaginative solutions for a responsible co-existence of human and nature. The course will be facilitated through a combination of class discussions, collaborative applied assignments, short individual reflection papers and longer philosophical essays.