Second Year

Second Year Courses:

ARTHUM 2200E / Special Topics in the Arts and Humanities

Fall 2022 Instructor: Professor Charles Barteet (Visual Arts) 

Documenting, Digitizing, and Maintaining the Art and Community Activism through the art of Christopher Wallis

This course is concerned with architectural and cultural heritage in the twenty-first century through community engagement. To consider these issues, this course focuses specifically on our local Western and London communities through an exploration of the stained glass art of the recently deceased artist Christopher Wallis. Mr. Wallis was among the leading stained glass artists in Canada, producing hundreds of works across the country while also receiving numerous prestigious honors. In London, Wallis produced numerous glass works, including those for Western, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, St. Peter’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and St. John’s United Church in Arva.

In this course we will work with three community constituencies to document and study the art of Christopher Wallis: the Anglican Diocese of Huron, the Catholic Diocese of London, and Western University. In so doing, we will document, research, and produce tangible outcomes in our study, culminating in an ArcGIS Storymap and an exhibition to be held in the Artlab in January 2023.  Although the primary goal is to explore the impact of Mr. Wallis’ work in London (and beyond), we are also concerned with issues of cultural heritage, history, and social activism. As part of the process, we will engage with local church officials and leaders to consider the critical social programming for many of London’s most venerable communities.  This class will consist of course lectures/seminars, onsite experiential learning, archival research, digital production and training, and exhibition design and install practices.

Winter 2023 Instructor: Professor Anthony Skelton (Philosophy) 

Well-being: Its Nature and Practical Significance

The value of well-being is central to moral, political, and economic thinking and practice. But its nature is disputed. This dispute takes place at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences. Accordingly, in this course we will examine conceptions of well-being at work in its humanistic and its scientific study. Our aim will be to determine how well these conceptions answer the following two questions:  What is non-instrumentally good for an individual? What makes an individual's life go well?

On our intellectual journey we will examine the notions of pleasure, happiness, and ill-being. We will be concerned to determine to what extent the scientific study of well-being impacts its humanistic study and vice versa, and with how well the theoretical understanding of well-being facilitates practical engagement with it in an engaged learning environment. Through the Experiential Learning component of this course students will gain experience relating their theoretical, classroom learning to real world practices in institutions involving (at least in part) the protection or promotion of well-being. This will provide students with the current state of play in well-being studies.

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

 ARTHUM 2230G - Digital Tools, Digital Literacies

Winter 2023 Instructor: Professor Ruth Skinner (Visual Arts)

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

Fall 2022 Instructor:  Professor Jason Sandhar (GSWS)

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