SII199H1

2017-18 First-Year Seminars | SII199H1: Society and Its Institutions (Category 3)

A few First-Year Seminars give preference during the first round of enrolment to students with membership in the college offering the course - if this is the case, the college name will be listed beside the course title. During the second round of enrolment, first-year students at any college may enroll if space is available.

Refer to the 2017-18 Arts & Science Timetable for the schedule information of each offering.

SII 199H1F: Society and Its Institutions (3): 2017 Fall Offerings

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Section Title College
L0031 Ethics and Choices in Times of Crisis: Collaboration in World War II France Victoria
L0101 Living on the Water in Toronto  
L0141 How To Study Everyday Life Victoria
L0231 Cities and Everyday Life  
L0232 Environmental Change: Producing New Natures  
L0233 Political Spaces  
L0331 Protest Movements and Popular Culture Woodsworth
L0401 How to Study Everyday Life Victoria
L5161 Computers Everywhere: Policy Challenges, Social Issues, Ethical Dilemmas  

SII 199H1S: Society and Its Institutions (3): 2018 Winter Offerings

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Section Title College
L0031 Ethics and Choices in Times of Crisis: Collaboration in World War II France Victoria
L0041 Health for the 21st Century Trinity
L0101 From Socialism to Global Capitalist Integration: The Case of Vietnam  
L0141 Modern Dystopia and Ancient Virtue Victoria
L0201 Debating and Understanding Current Environmental Issues  
L0231 Nature, Conservation and Justice  
L0261 Medieval Medicine  
L0391 Material Flows as Moral Practices  
L0392 Sociology of "Accidents"  
L0401 How to Study Everyday Life Victoria
L0411 Decipher Puzzles in the Financial Press and Media  
L0441 Why We Work: Understanding Work through the Prism of Art and Culture Woodsworth

SII 199H1F: 2017 Fall Offerings

SII 199H1F | Section L0031 | Victoria College
SII 199H1S | Section L0031 | Victoria College

Ethics and Choices in Times of Crisis: Collaboration in World War II France
How do we react in emergencies? Can governments persuade citizens to suspend all of their individual freedoms? What kind of person collaborates with an enemy occupier? What kind of person resists against the odds? The answers may surprise you. This seminar uses the fascinating and well-documented case of World War II France to examine the wide range of individual and collective reactions of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Instructor: E. Jennings, Victoria College and Spanish and Portuguese
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1F | Section L0101                                                               

Living on the Water in Toronto
Toronto is a city with 9 rivers, on one great lake. This course introduces students to anthropology by using a wide range of media, field trips, and independent research to explore how people think about, imagine, and interact with water. We will read innovative, interactive ethnographies and novels about water, but we will also engage in other, non-textual ways of relating to and learning about water, focusing on the Great Lakes. We will examine indigenous scholarship and activism, photography, documentary film (e.g. “Mother Earth Water Walk”), painting (at the AGO and other exhibits), and music. Students will undertake a mini-ethnography of water, as well as short trips to relevant sites in Toronto (may include Taddle Creek (buried on campus), the Toronto Waterfront Development Corp., Friends of the Don East, the Toronto Carrying Place Trail, kayaking the Humber, a water treatment plant).

Instructor: B. McElhinny, Anthropology
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1F | Section L0141 | Victoria College

How to Study Everyday Life
This seminar investigates the academic study of popular culture from a social science perspective, with an emphasis on North America. We look at ordinary events, customs, behaviours, attitudes, and fantasies and place them in a larger social context. What does small talk have to do with being Canadian? What does watching youtube videos do to maintain and reproduce, as well as to challenge, the kind of society where “money makes the world go round”? What messages are intended by the producers of a makeover TV show, and what messages are received by their consumers? What does beer advertising do to us? Other examples are taken from the news media, television, film, popular and classical musical forms, and aspects of daily life such as dieting and sports. Students are encouraged to critique each other’s presentations and assignments. Helping students to acquire university level research, essay writing, and discussion skills is an important goal of the course.

Instructor: I. Kalmar, Classics, Victoria College
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1F | Section L0231

Cities and Everyday Life
Over fifty percent of the world’s inhabitants now live in cities. In Canada, eighty percent of Canadians live in cities with populations of 500,000 or more, and the proportion of urban dwellers continues to grow. Understanding the nature of everyday living within cities is therefore increasingly important. This course examines the links between social, political and economic transformation and the continual building and rebuilding of urban landscapes at a variety of scales. A key focus will be on urban lives and livelihoods, and on the way lives differ by class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Both theories and methods that help us understand urban life will be explored. The course will include one or more of the following sub-topics: (1) urban health and marginalization, (2) housing and homelessness, (3) urban governance and institutions, (4) social justice movements in the city, (5) processes of economic and geographic restructuring and their impacts on work, employment and well-being, (6) urban cultures, identities and diversity, (7) crime, violence and security, (8) mobility, access and transportation, (9) built environments, public space, and civil society.

Instructor: J. Hackworth, Geography
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1F | Section L0232                                                               

Environmental Change: Producing New Natures
Why do we have environmental problems? How do we understand these problems, their origins, and what should be done about them? This course aims to provide background and insight on the dizzying array of contemporary environmental problems by examining their complex origins and implications in some detail. Emphasis will be placed on developing problem-driven, interdisciplinary intellectual tools required to understand phenomena that are produced through novel combinations of biophysical processes and human actions. Consistent themes will include: the human processes that tend to propel these transformations; geographies of integrated social and ecological transformation; challenges to existing institutions and social relations; and strategies in environmental governance. Case studies will draw on a wide range of issues, storied around the shifting relationship between the urban and the natural, including the emergence of long-term nuclear wastes; persistent synthetic organic compounds; an altered global climate; issues of climate and environmental justice; rethinking of the urban nature divide; accommodating urban wildlife in the face of habitat fragmentation and large scale landscape transformations more generally.

Instructor: S. Ruddick, Geography
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII199H1F | Section L0233

Political Spaces
Is space political? In what ways? What are the implications of thinking about politics geographically? How do political conflicts both invoke and transform space and place? What kinds of alternative political relationships to space and alternative mappings can we imagine? This course will attempt to answer those questions while exploring a wide range of possible contexts in which political spaces are evident. These may include: conflicts over the intimate spaces of the body, identity, and the home; the racialization and gendering of space; the politics of cities and urbanization; the boundaries of public and private space; struggles over land, property, resources and ‘nature’; the political geographies of labour, citizenship and migration; globalization of economic markets and alternative economic political and social cartographies; borders, geopolitics, and the territorial politics of empire; and the geographic projects of colonialism, post-coloniality, modernity, and modernization.

Instructor: R. Silvey, Geography
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII199H1F | Section L0331 | Woodsworth College

Protests Movements and Popular Culture
“Millions of people take to the streets of major cities around the globe to protest the Iraq war in 2003.” “More than 35 cities and towns across Canada hold rallies to stop the war in Afghanistan.” “The Arab Spring calls for democratic change as demonstrators filled Egypt’s Tahir Square in 2011.” “Black Lives Matter protests sweep American cities in 2016.” “The Women’s March on Washington draws over 500,000 and five million worldwide in 2017.” These and other headlines confirm that protests, recently almost all orchestrated through social media, continue to form an important aspect of popular culture, but these protests are only the latest stage in the evolution of an organized, citizen initiated campaign for social, economic and political justice that can be traced back to the Civil Rights Movement and Peace Movement of the 1960s.

This course examines how various forms of popular culture, such as films, music, art, literature, TV, internet sites and social media, reflect and promote protest movements, past and present.  Special emphasis will be placed on the interplay of popular culture with the peace movement/anti-war protests and the civil rights movement/anti-discrimination protests, as well as with the environmental movement/anti-pollution protests and the indigenous rights movement/anti-colonialism protests. 

The course, based on a variety of interdisciplinary readings and various forms of popular culture, is taught in an interactive seminar format and will assist students in developing skills in academic research and writing, as well as in presentations and discussions.

Instructor: T. Socknat, Woodsworth College
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1F | Section L0401 | Victoria College
SII 199H1S | Section L0401 | Victoria College

How to Study Everyday Life
This seminar investigates the academic study of popular culture from a social science perspective, with an emphasis on North America. We look at ordinary events, customs, behaviours, attitudes, and fantasies and place them in a larger social context. What does small talk have to do with being Canadian? What does watching youtube videos do to maintain and reproduce, as well as to challenge, the kind of society where “money makes the world go round”? What messages are intended by the producers of a makeover TV show, and what messages are received by their consumers? What does beer advertising do to us? Other examples are taken from the news media, television, film, popular and classical musical forms, and aspects of daily life such as dieting and sports. Students are encouraged to critique each other’s presentations and assignments. Helping students to acquire university level research, essay writing, and discussion skills is an important goal of the course.

Instructor: I. Kalmar, Spanish & Portuguese, Victoria College
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1F | Section L5161

Computers Everywhere: Policy Challenges, Social Issues, Ethical Dilemmas
Almost all aspects of modern life have been changed significantly by the widespread availability and use of computers. This is true at various scales of computation and communication, ranging from large-scale computational engines to corporate networks to desktop and laptop computers to the internet to tablets and mobile phones.

This first-year seminar reviews technical achievements and interprets their significance in the light of policy, social, and ethical controversies and choices for individuals and for society. Topics will include digital divides, intellectual property, data privacy, system security, safety, identity, community, and effects on work and leisure, war and peace, learning, and health. Each topic will be addressed in terms of issues for individuals, groups, and society; and the resulting controversies and choices. Students will be required to research one or more topics; to think about them critically based on an analysis of relevant literature; to submit one short and one longer paper; and to do two short oral presentations, one likely in the form of a debate. Choice of topics for written and oral submissions will be driven by student interest.

It is intended that the student population include a mixture of individuals from various Arts and Science disciplines.

Instructor: R. Baecker, Computer Science
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S: 2018 Winter Offerings

SII 199H1S | Section L0041 | Trinity College

Health for the 21st Century
This will be a course on the increasing inter-relationship between knowledge/science, the institution which generates it (the university), and government. To inform public policy increasingly governments are reaching into academia as a source for scientific evidence or for expert opinion to write reports or chair expert committees.

This course will have two foci. The first will delve into British and Canadian academic and government activities in a field at the cutting-edge of population health, the determinants of health. It will look at important work done by a Canadian (and former faculty member of U of T) who had close ties to two British academics each of whom wrote a seminal government report.
The second will take the exploration of science one step further in that today it is not only used as a means to an end (e.g., to inform policy on health determinants), it also becomes the end itself. In this application we seek new knowledge because that new knowledge actually becomes a new and commercializable product. This means that knowledge is now a commodity that can be packaged bought and sold like any other commodity and this has important ramifications for universities and our economy. This section will explore the importance of scientific research and its commercialization to the new economy and in this an additional component (business) to the triumvirate in the class title. It will look at activities in Canada and important reports that have come out of Britain as well as other countries.

Where appropriate, the course will draw upon guest speakers, archival, and library resources from within Trinity College and the U of T. Student assignments will look at actions that can strengthen the outcomes in each of the focus areas.

Instructor: L. Boehm, Trinity College
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S | Section L0101

From Socialism to Global Capitalist Integration: The Case of Vietnam
The seminar focuses on the dynamics of sociocultural and economic transformation in Vietnam as a case study of an Asian developing country and in the context of globalization. It examines the historical background to the rise of socialism in Vietnam, the Vietnamese socialist experiment, the policy shift towards integration with the global capitalist system, and the impact of this shift on culture, society, and the economy. The transformation in Vietnam will be examined with some references to the analytical literature on development, globalization, and sociocultural dynamics.

Instructor: H. Van Luong, Anthropology
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII199H1S | Section L0142

Modern Dystopia and Ancient Virtue
Since the early 20th century, fiction writers and film makers have invented a new genre: the dystopia, depicting a bleak world in which evil is in control and the individual seems powerless. Dystopian works both offer a dark prediction about the future and an ugly mirror on trends that already exist: state control and surveillance, concentration of political power in a corrupt elite, environmental disaster, inhumane exploitation and violent spectacle. They raise the question: what does it mean to be a morally good person in a totally corrupt society? What form would courage, justice, and the other traditional virtues take, and what would be required to attain them? What sources of strength might help individuals to survive, trust each other, and behave well under extreme conditions? In this course we will explore some ancient philosophical ideas about moral virtue and right action, and will ask how far they could still apply in a dystopian world. Ancient works to be read, at least in part, include Sophocles’ Antigone, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Epictetus’ Discourses, and Plato’s Republic; dystopias will include The Time Machine, We, and The Man in the High Castle, and the films Soylent Green, Blade Runner, and Brazil.

Instructor: R. Barney, Classics
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S | Section L0201

Debating and Understanding Current Environmental Issues
The course examines current environmental issues for which there is no easy answer or consensus position. For instance, to help solve climate change should we generate more electricity from nuclear power-plants, which have no greenhouse gas emissions? Or instead, should we phase out nuclear plants because of possible accidents, costs and radioactive wastes? The seminar examines the scientific and political aspects of such issues and debates the pros and cons of each.

Instructor: K. Ing, School of the Environment
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S | Section L0231

Nature, Conservation and Justice
Every day we read about climate change, species extinction, environmental degradation and the need for nature conservation. It is increasingly becoming apparent that the environmental problems that we face today arise from a deeper crisis relating to human ways of viewing and connecting to nature. This course asks how we can rework human ways of relating to nature, while querying the idea of “nature” and questioning the dominant approaches to nature conservation. It asks how can concerns for nature and for other species be balanced with that for human livelihoods and well-being? How can inequalities with regards to the distribution of environmental goods and bads be reduced? How are citizens and communities in the different parts of the world struggling against environmental injustice and to protect their local environments? How do these place-based movement demand justice and what visions do they articulate for a more just and sustainable world? How do indigenous worldviews offer conceptual resources for rethinking nature and our ways of relating to nature? The course will explore these questions using lectures, class discussion, videos and student presentations.

Instructor: N. Singh, Geography
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S | Section L0261

Medieval Medicine
This course focuses on the theories and practices of medicine in Europe, c.500-1500, by examining surviving evidence from the period, including (in translation) pharmaceutical recipes, diagnostic guides, doctor’s records, treatises on anatomy, surgery and gynecology, commentaries on Hippocrates and Galen, laws and regulations for physicians, university lectures, disputes in court records, satirical writings against physicians, and so on, as well as visual evidence of artifacts, surgical instruments, manuscript illumination/diagrams, hospital sites and design. Proceeding chronologically, the course engages with such topics as: the heritage of ancient writings (Hippocrates, Galen) for early medieval medicine, the impact of Christianity on medical thought, traditions of simple and compound drugs, physicians of barbarian kings, monastic medicine, Anglo-Saxon charms and recipes, clerical attitudes to medicine, the school of Salerno, the impact of Arabic authors and traditions, the rise of universities, scholastic methods and medical texts, challenges to ancient authority from anatomy and chemistry, advances in surgery, the regulation of medical practitioners and pharmacists, responses to the Black Death.
One text book is required and available at Campus bookstore.
Wallis, F. 2010. (ed.), Medieval Medicine: A Reader. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-0103-1.

Instructor: N. Everett, History
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S | Section L0391

Material Flows as Moral Practices
In this course we will explore the social practices associated with flows of objects and people, including objects within people (e.g. blood donation, kidney transplants, etc.). We will take a sociological approach, which means that we will attend to contextual forces that shape practices, and flows. For example, we will consider forces that influence desires (e.g. desire for the latest fashion), and the meaning of objects. Sociologists are also interested in social organization, so we might also consider how practices of supplying or provisioning of objects (e.g. food) are organized (e.g., in disaster relief). During the first part of this course students will read broadly about practices related to objects (e.g. rituals), and the flow of objects (e.g. logistics), and related issues. We will generally discuss the readings in a seminar format, though some lecturing will occur, especially early on. Students will then select an object or population flow of interest to focus on for a final project that will be presented in class.

Instructor W. Magee, Sociology
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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SII 199H1S | Section L0401: How to Study Everyday Life | Victoria College - see above.


SII 199H1S | Section L0441 | Woodsworth College

Why We Work: Understanding Work through the Prism of Art and Culture
Why do we work? What does work mean to the average person? These questions are not as straightforward as they appear. We work for the bulk of our lives and most of our days are spent with co-workers who are neither family nor childhood friends, but we often fail to realize how self-defining work really is. This speaks to work’s centrality but also to its invisibility in reflective discourse. Through “popular” representations of work, however, (such as in story-telling, cave paintings, hieroglyphs, music, writing, painting, television, film, video games, etc.,) we can begin to better understand the meaning of work and how this has changed over time. Readings in anthropology and employment relations plus film and art criticism will help us explore these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective; assignments will encourage students to reflect on their own experience of work. Developing strong analytical and communication skills is an important goal of the course.

Instructor: R. Gomez, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, Woodsworth College
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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