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

Third Year

Third Year Courses:

Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies (AH 3390 F/G to 3393 F/G)

Prerequisite: AH 2220E, AH 2220F/G and AH 2230F/G 3 hours/week; 0.5 course Building on the theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills acquired in the first and second years of the Program, each of these half courses will focus on the specific research expertise of one of the Research Fellows teaching in the School. Possible topics are listed below. The purpose of each course will be to immerse students in an intensive and engaged research environment in order further to train students in the applied study of the Arts and Humanities. Course curriculum and assignments will be designed to reflect the requirements of the field, topic, and sub-topics particular to each Research Fellow, and will be tailored to encourage the kinds of independent and self-directed study that students will undertake exclusively in the fourth-year capstone seminar and experiential learning courses.

Courses for 2016-2017

AH3391F: Celestial Architecture: Artistic Renderings of the Night Sky [cross-listed with VAH3391F]
Professor John Hatch / Department of Visual Arts
FALL, Tuesdays, 10:30AM – 1:30PM, VAC249

The fascination with the heavens dates back to some of our earliest monuments and continues to the present day. The nature of this interest has obviously changed over time, as has our rendition of it in art and architecture. In this course we will study the representation of the celestial, looking back as far as Neolithic monuments, but the bulk of our attention will focus on Western Art from the 19th century to the present. Artists of particular interest will include Giovanni Di Paolo, Vincent van Gogh, Joseph Cornell, Nancy Holt, Max Ernst, James Turrell, Patterson Ewen, Anselm Kiefer, Shi Zhiying, and Olafur Eliasson. Each provides a very unique vision that moves beyond simple representations of the celestial objects that populate the universe.

AH 3391G: Table Work [cross-listed with TS 3208F]
Professor Mario Longtin / Department of French Studies
WINTER, Tuesdays, 9:30AM-12:30PM, SH3305

This course aims to reproduce, as best as possible, the preparation work that comes before the actors take on to the stage; its approach is one of textual and voice exploration culminating in a dramatic public reading. Public readings are not uncommon in the world of drama but are usually attended by the initiate. The music equivalent, the oratorio, does not bare such an experimental connotation. Our initiative is less onerous than a full blown theatrical production but still give a measure of the work actors are putting in in order for the show to be a success. We will work at the table for the first 4 weeks of term, investigating the psychology of characters and the socio-historical context of the play, amongst other things, before deciding on a general artistic vision for our “radio” performance. The rest of the class will be spent shaping the text into a live performance worth attending. This course is a truly experiential endeavour and students will be graded on their engagement in the project and on their participation. Students will have to report on the experience regularly in a log and will write a scholarly essay on the practice of theatre.

AH3392F: The Ethics of Science/The Science of Ethics [cross-listed with Philosophy 3393F]
Professor Gillian Barker / Department of Philosophy
FALL, Mondays, 2:30PM – 5:30PM, AH101

It has often been thought that ethics and science inhabit separate realms and have little to say to one another. This course challenges that assumption by exploring the many ways in which ethical thought both informs and is informed by science. We begin by investigating the nature of both ethical and scientific reasoning. We then apply this understanding in examining a range of questions about ethics that arise in the pursuit and application of scientific knowledge. Particular issues to be addressed include the ethics of using animals and embryos in medical research; the implications of human evolutionary science and brain science for our understanding of ethics; what ecological science can teach us about our ethical relationship to natural ecosystems and other species; ethical issues that emerge as we apply new technologies in procreation and in food production; and the place of science in a democratic society. We apply the understanding we gain in real-world projects with community partners.

For their Year Three requirements SASAH students can also qualify to apply for a limited number of spaces in Special Topics courses offered outside of the School. Present and past courses include:

Classical Studies 4580F/G: Vindolanda Field School:
The Vindolanda Field School is an intense and very rewarding five-week study abroad experience for Western students in any discipline. A primary goal of the field school is for students to gain an appreciation for combining historical and archaeological material to further our understanding of past cultures, especially those effected by conquest and imperialism in the Roman provinces. The focus of the archaeological component is at the site of Vindolanda, an important Roman military fort along Hadrian’s Wall, and includes daily participation in all aspects of the project: excavation, survey of buildings and landscape, finds processing (ceramic and bone washing, environmental sampling), and data recording (stratigraphic context sheets, photography, section/plan drawing, etc.). An in-depth understanding of the archaeology at Vindolanda will be supplemented with trips to other sites and visits to active excavations around the north of Britain. The historical component focuses on the history of the Roman period in Britain with particular emphasis on the northern frontier and the role of soldiers and civilians within the province. The historical aspect of the course is achieved through evening lectures, field trips, on-site discussions and student presentations.

Vindolanda Program Information

Vindolanda Archaeological Site Information

French 3140B: Rwanda: Culture, Society and Reconstruction:

This is an interdisciplinary Experiential Learning Course on Rwanda, based in the Department of French Studies. It provides students with an opportunity to learn about Rwandan society, and aboutthemselves by engaging in an international social and cultural setting. The readings for the course will focus on issues related to Community Service Learning and the history and culture of Rwanda. The course will offer an in-depth look at a number of contemporary social issues that are common in the African Great Lakes region. Guest lecturers (Dr. Nanda Dimitrov, Prof. Alain Goldschlager, Prof. Amanda Grzyb, Prof. Jeff Tennant, Stephanie Hayne, Lise Laporte, and former participants, among others) will be invited to speak to the class. Five weeks of active and interactive community service in Rwanda will be required for the completion of the course. Our main community partner in Rwanda is The College of Medicine and Health Sciences (former KHI), located in the capital city of Kigali. We will mainly work with three community partners: Centre Marembo, Les Enfants de Dieu, and Caritas.

As we go so far to serve and learn in these community centres where we have developed extremely solid relationships and excellent work habits for the last six years, we also commit to the integrity and integrality of our team as ambassadors of Western University and Canada.

A Season in Kigali - this video is a reflection of the experiential learning trip taken by Western students in May 2014. SASAH students Nicholas Pincombe and Rachel Goldstein were amongst the group of students that traveled with Prof. Henri Boyi and lived in Rwanda for five weeks. During their stay, the students were immersed in a number of community projects and initiatives while also learning about the culture and history of the country.

Theatre Studies 3900G: Destination Theatre
Students will have the opportunity to develop their drama education more deeply through the experience of theatre abroad, in London, England. Attendance at live performances will be complemented with daily lectures, workshops and seminars hosted by artists and scholars from the University of London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. In addition, students will experience tours of theatres, archives, and do a theatre-themed walking tour of central London.

Destination Theatre Program Information

Possible future courses include:

1776/1789: Revolutions and Occupations

The events of 1776 in America, and then again in 1789 in France, mark what we might very call the birth of democracy. This profound shift in world politics ushered in a re-mapping of the geopolitical terrain with which we are still living. Yet how novel, and how democratic, is democracy? Through a variety of literary, philosophical, political, and cultural writings, artefacts, and events, this course will examine what role revolution has played throughout history – from Spartacus’ rebellion against the Romans, to the signing of the Magna Carta, to the Puritan and Glorious Revolutions, to various workers revolutions of the 19th century, to the Russian Revolution, to Occupy Wall Street. Part of the course’s mandate will be to engage students in the politics of both university life and the broader community.

Professor Christine Sprengler

“Paracinema” refers to works that attempt to generate the effects of cinema without using the traditional materials or physical support of film. Art historically, the term has been used to describe sculpture, installation, and video works from the 1960s and 1970s that encourage analysis of “cinema” as an idea or concept by recreating its aesthetic, spectatorial, and technological dimensions through a variety of creative strategies. This course will begin with a brief survey of paracinema’s early 20th-century precedents, followed by a more in-depth exploration of its post-1960s manifestations. It will also consider the extent to which the term facilitates productive engagements with a variety of creative impulses of the 21st century. By looking at a diverse set of examples of paracinema as well as the critical literature on the subject, we will ask how this art form has the capacity to produce knowledge about cinema and imagine its possible future forms.

The Book: From Ancient Codex to e-text
Professor Laurence De Looze

The paginated book was developed in the first centuries of the Common Era, and it revolutionized writing. Rather than writing in columns on papyrus scrolls, the book allowed for convenient cross-referencing and the ability to find material quickly. In the history of the West, there have been two subsequent revolutions in bookmaking: the shift from the handwritten manuscript codex to the printed book around the beginning of the 16th century, and then the digital revolution 500 years later at the end of the 20th century with the advent of the computer. This course will look at the book as a written text, as a concrete, visual object, as a digital phenomenon, and as a metaphor (e.g. “the book of one’s life”). Everything associated with books and bookmaking will come into play: social factors, visual aesthetics, technological developments, ideologies, market factors, levels of literacy, scripts/bindings/covers/illustrations, and much more. Nostalgia This seminar will grapple with the remarkable history and protean nature of the concept of nostalgia. We will begin by considering its origins as a medical condition suffered by 17th century Swiss mercenaries, track its permutations through various cultural moments, practices and disciplines from the 18th to the 20th century, and ask what value this now heavily-criticized sentiment has in our 21st century world. Case studies drawn from ancient through to contemporary times and from art, literature, film, television, music, fashion, advertising and consumer culture will help us analyze the political and theoretical debates sparked by nostalgia’s many uses, expressions and meanings.

Plagiarism 101
Professor Marilyn Randall

Plagiarism is as old as literature itself. There has rarely been an era in which authors have not complained about the theft of their intellectual labour, even in times when such concepts had not yet been formulated as we know them. To study the history of accusations of and defenses against plagiarism in Western letters is also to study the changing norms and expectations which govern what is considered acceptable use and exchange of knowledge and information. This history coincides to a large extent with the history of authorship, of originality and imitation, and of the development of copyright and intellectual property laws. Asking “what is plagiarism?” then, is another way of asking “what is literature?” The course will place both questions within reader-oriented and institutional definitions of “literature” which see the literary field – or culture in general – as a scene of struggle for both financial and symbolic power and authority. We will investigate how acts and accusations of plagiarism can be used as weapons to achieve cultural dominance. While the course will present primarily the Continental, French, and Anglo-American literary and critical traditions, students will be expected to explore aspects of the question in their own areas of specialization, and to bring to the discussion insights from other cultural traditions.

Fashion, Consumption, Sexuality
Professor Kelly Olson

This course will explore the various social, cultural, economic, sexual, and personal meanings associated with fashion and consumption. Since clothing is a medium for fashioning identities from commodities, it is hardly surprising that social and sexual tensions are woven into its fabrications. In the course we will examine such topics as: the cultural development of fashion; why and how certain dress practices and types of consumption are coded as ‘male,’ or ‘female’ and why; the history of dandy and of the clotheshorse; how clothes encapsulate the relations between the sexes and ideals of gender; how certain types of clothes are prescribed or prescribed because of the values, ideas, and constraints of any one society; what role fashion plays in the construction of identity; how clothing can embody the subcultural self. We will also pay particular attention to the relationship between fashion and class, and readings will include social theory about fashion and consumption (Bourdieu, Barthes, and Veblen).

What does Québec want? Understanding Québec Culture through Drama Performance
Professor Mario Longtin

This course will explore, using an experiential learning approach, the culture of French Québec through drama. We will read and perform in English translation dramatic texts from the Québécois repertoire in order challenge our vision of the “Other Canada”, and experience the distinct society by constructing compelling characters, bringing what seems far from us at first much closer. We will visit the works of authors such as Michel Tremblay, Michel-Marc Bouchard, Normand Chaurette, Robert Lepage and Wajdi Mouawad, but also more recent theatrical proposal from Belle province. A performance of the scenes explored in our workshop classes will take place at the end of the term.

Curating the City 1
Professor Kirsty Robertson

This participatory course (divided into two parts; see “Fourth-Year Courses”) introduces students to museum and curatorial studies through a project that uses mapping as a spatial diagnostic tool. The first part of the course will deal with theory and history. Students will learn about the history of museums, including an overview of curatorial techniques, museum controversies and the changing nature of museums today. Interwoven into this analysis will be an in-depth study of the uses of cartography in contemporary visual culture, focusing on the use of mapping as an interventionist strategy by artists and activists alike.

Theories and Approaches to Digital Textuality
Professor Mark McDayter

What is a digital text, and how does it differ from other “reading machines,” such as the printed book? Does the digital text transform how we read, and how we write? This course will examine some of the theoretical and practical aspects of digital textuality, considering it within its historical, theoretical, and technological contexts. Classroom learning will involve a mix of traditional and digital learning, while a practicum component will focus upon a collaborative digital text-building project. Readings will range from seminal works in field of History of the Book, to discussions of the potential impacts of computers upon the texts that we read. Students will learn how to encode text to make it machine-readable, and be introduced to some of the fundamental elements of digital interface design.

Tales of Two Cities: London, Ontario and London, England
Professor David Bentley

This course will study the complex and changing relationship between London, Ontario and London, England from the late eighteenth century to the present. It will begin with a general inquiry into the methodologies that the course will draw upon, including the replica and fragment theories of new societies, the metropolitan and periphery theory of cultural diffusion, and the cognitive-linguistic concept of emergent structure. The course will then focus on subtopics related to London, Ontario that will be designed to investigate aspects of the city’s evolving natural and built environments. Such topics will include the monuments in Victoria Park, the Thames River and its bridges, the architecture of London’s Anglican and Catholic cathedrals, the paintings of such artists as Paul Peel and Jack Chambers, and the prose and poetry of Anna Jameson, James Reaney, Don McKay, and others. Attention will also be paid to aspects of the region surrounding London, for example, the Stratford Festival and the Annendale House in Tillsonburg, which was inspired by the Aestheticism of Oscar Wilde. The last portion of the course will focus on comparing and contrasting the aspects of London, Ontario studied as subtopics with their equivalents in London, England, using materials available on websites such as those of the Tate Britain and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA), the writings of William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, and others, and insights and information gathered during a field study in the city itself. The goal of the course will be to come to a greater understanding, not merely of the relationship between the British London and its Canadian namesake, but also of the evolution of Canada from a settler colony to a multicultural nation.