Second Year

Second Year Courses:

For 2024-2025 ARTHUM 2200E will be split into two separate courses: 2290G and 2291F

ARTHUM 2290G - Research Topics in the Arts and Humanities

Handwritten: Medieval Manuscripts and their Contexts

In this course we’ll learn about manuscripts (hand-made, hand-written, hand-decorated books) from (mostly) Western Europe from (mostly) late antiquity to the early modern period, with some discussion of manuscripts written before and after those times, and from a variety of cultures outside of Western Europe (Byzantium, the near East, the Islamic world, Africa, Asia, and the Americas).

We’ll discuss manuscript construction (how they were built, starting from the sheep, cow, or goats that were slaughtered and skinned to make parchment, and ending with the pages being sewn and bound by hand), content (covering a wide variety of scripts and artistic conventions), and the changing historical and cultural contexts of manuscript creation, use, and conservation from late antiquity to the twenty-first century.

We’ll take advantage of a huge variety of digitized manuscripts held in libraries large (the Vatican Library, the National Library of France, the British Library) and small (various municipal libraries throughout Europe and North America). We'll also dig into Western's own modest but extremely interesting collection of manuscripts, making some trips to our Archives and Research Collection Centre (ARCC) to work with the manuscripts hands-on.

ARTHUM 2291F - Research Topics in the Arts and Humanities


Prerequisite: 75% or higher in AH 1020E 3 hours/week, 1.0 course 

ARTHUM 2230G - Digital Tools, Digital Literacies

What are the implications of “the digital turn,” and what does it mean to pursue “literacy” in an era of seemingly endless information? This course examines the development of information systems and technologies by considering their past, present, and potential future trajectories. We also explore how we shape (and are shaped by) these technologies with research-based and hands-on activities. Course materials will survey how digital researchers and historians, web and software developers, artists, authors, activists, and theorists engage our digital landscapes—posing critical questions of social, political, economic, and creative significance. We will discuss the discipline of the Digital Humanities and evaluate the impacts/effectiveness of digital tools on our Arts & Humanities research: engaging critically with social media and blogging platforms; navigating search engines, databases, and a range of digital archives; using text mining and analytics software to explore and express large amounts of data; bibliography and citation tools; introductory website design and creation (coding, HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery, navigation, metadata). The real-time shaping of our lives in the present COVID situation (both in digital space and away from keyboard) will doubtless inform our conversations, reading, and projects. 

Prerequisite: 75% or higher in AH 1020E. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course

ARTHUM 2240F – Foundations of Theory in the Arts and Humanities

This survey of literary theory and criticism introduces students to some of the most important genealogies of cultural, aesthetic, and political thought since antiquity. By developing tools to analyze the ineffable “products” of culture—such as race, desire, power, fantasy, and ideology—theory helps us navigate our cultural landscape. To that end, we will explore psychoanalysis, structuralism, postcolonial criticism, black studies, queer theory, and other theoretical movements that have transformed how we interpret the world. Throughout the course, we will remain mindful of how urgent questions of race, gender, class, and geopolitics are not to be treated separately from theory and criticism, but are instead embedded in aesthetic, cultural, and social thought from the outset. In other words, rather than treating movements like feminism or postcolonial criticism as though they exist in a vacuum, we will consider how race, gender, class, etc. have always informed theory.

Prerequisite: 75% or higher in AH 1020E. 3 lecture hours, 0.5 course