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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 2016-17 Arts & Science Timetable for the schedule information of each offering.

2016-2017 SII 199H1F: Society and Its Institutions (3): 2016 Fall Offerings | View All

Section Title College
L0021 Reading Toronto University
L0101 Living on the Water’s Edge in Toronto  
L0231 Cities and Everyday Life  
L0232 Political Spaces  
L0233 Environmental Change: Producing New Natures  
L0262 Barack Obama as History- Barack Obama in History  
L0391 Sociology of Home  
L0401 How to Study Everyday Life Victoria

2016-2017 SII 199H1S: Society and Its Institutions (3): 2017 Winter Offerings | View All

Section Title College
L0041 Health for the 21st Century Trinity
L0101 Gender and the Making of Mary  
L0201 Debating and Understanding Current Environmental Issues  
L0232 Nature, Conservation and Justice  
L0261 Religion and Violence  
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: Society and Its Institutions (Category 3): 2016 Fall Offerings

SII 199H1F | Section L0021 | University College

Reading Toronto
This course seeks to explore the diverse aspects of Toronto, with a look at the multiple ways of “reading” Toronto, through historical fiction, oral history, and contemporary media. We will look specifically at the material and social worlds of immigrants and First Nations people and their relation to aspects of the colonial and industrial periods of urbanization, from the inception of the city to the present day. Academic readings will supplement the main texts, in contributing to our understanding of the material, social, and cultural life of the city. The course will also help develop students’ academic skills: analysis, research, writing, and presenting.

Instructor: A. Lesk, University College
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

SII 199H1F | Section L0101                                                               

Living on the Water’s Edge 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 categories: 3. Society and Its Institutions

SII 199H1F | Section L0232                                                               

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 Requirement: Society and its Institutions

SII199H1F | Section L0233

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

SII 199H1F | Section L0262

Barack Obama as History – Barack Obama in History
While Barack Obama’s 2008 election was in some ways a dramatic turning point, the course of his presidency has also revealed how powerful the past can be in shaping the present. Looking at Obama’s White House years through the eyes of a historian, we can see how deeply-rooted U.S. experiences with war, economic crises, and race relations (for instance) continue to influence attitudes, decisions, and results – even for leaders who see themselves crusading for “change.” This course will study Obama’s leadership against the backdrop of the broad sweep of American history, considering similarities and differences with earlier presidents (e.g., Lincoln and the Civil War, Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam). In the process, we will highlight how historians and historical research can enrich understanding of the present day in ways that quick-flashing tweets and photo ops cannot match.

Instructor: R. Pruessen, History
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

SII 199H1F | Section L0391

Sociology of Home
Is home a place, or an idea? Is it a collection of rooms, habits, or wishes? Is home private refuge or a place of display and performance? Is home orderly or chaotic, a place to breathe or a place of fear and loathing? Through studying how people make and think about home, sociologists have broadened our understanding of intimacy, aging and the life course, leisure, consumption, and commensality, economic inequality, the social organization of race, class and gender, urban and regional planning, the balance of work and life, migration and dislocation, self and society. In this course, we will read wide-ranging and thoughtful research that deepens our understanding of this taken for granted but intensely important concept.

Instructor J. Taylor, Sociology
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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

SII 199H1S: Society and Its Institutions (Category 3): 2017 Winter Offerings                                                               

SII 199H1S | Section L0041 | Trinity College

Health for the 21st Century
What does good health mean to you and those you cherish? Health has emerged as a central concern for all countries. And the road to getting to good health might not be what you would immediately expect. In Canada we say we are among the best, but are we? What are other countries doing? What’s required to be at the cutting-edge? Good health is not just a matter of good medical science. A number of academic disciplines are involved, interestingly history among them. We need to determine how we got to where we are before we can determine where we need to go. Ascertaining plausible answers will be up to you, not just in this course, but throughout your life. And it’s not only knowledge, it’s also method. In crafting your ideas you will get to dig into various university archives.

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

SII 199H1S | Section L0101

Gender and the Making of Mary
Why the figure of the Virgin Mary is still important? Through selected samples this course analyses how representations and presumed apparitions of the Virgin Mary signal ways in which the body has been experienced, the divine imagined, while at times those representations and apparitions have also been inspirations for revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements across the world. Through the study of images, media clips, literature, anthropological and historical references this course will focus on how the figure of the Virgin Mary may help us to understand not only political, social transformations, but also transformations of gender relations.

Instructor: V. Napolitano, Anthropology
Breadth categories: 3. Society and Its Institutions

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

SII 199H1S | 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: S. Wakefield, Geography
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

SII 199H1S | Section L0232                                                               

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

SII 199H1S | Section L0261

Religion and Violence
In this seminar we will explore the complex roles of religion in cases of extreme violence. Working chronologically backward from the 1990s (Rwanda, former Yugoslavia), we will consider cases from a number of locations and decades in the 20th century (Cambodia in the 1970s, the Holocaust in the 1940s, Armenians in the 1910s, Southwest Africa in the 1900s). Rather than limiting ourselves to the recent past, we will also explore cases from the 19th century (imperialism) and earlier as well as ongoing situations that connect past and present (aboriginal people in the Americas). Students will be expected to do the assigned readings (from personal accounts, primary sources, and scholarly articles), participate actively in discussions, prepare a series of short responses, make an oral presentation individually or with a group, and produce a final paper based on original research.

Instructor: D. Bergen, History
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

SII 199H1S | Section L0391

Material Flows as Moral Practices
In this course we will explore the social practices that govern flows of objects and people, and the contextual forces that shape practices that contribute to those flows, or interfere with them. This includes practices that shape flows by influencing desires (e.g. desire for the latest fashion), and the meaning of objects. It also includes coordinated practices of supplying or provisioning of objects (e.g. as part of humanitarian logistics). During the first part of this course students will read broadly about flows, logistics, and related issues. We will discuss those issues in a seminar format, though some lecturing will occur. Students will then select an object or population flow of interest to focus on for a final project. The object or population flow for the project must be considered morally important in some way.

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

SII 199H1S | Section L0392

Sociology of “Accidents”
Question: What do Princess Diana, film star James Dean, painter Jackson Pollock, writer Emile Zola, singer Marvin Gaye, boxer Rocky Marciano, inventor George Washington Carver, and financier Benjamin Guggenheim all have in common? Answer: they all died accidentally. This course will examine psychological, sociological, and public health approaches to “accidents” – that is, unexpected and unintended injuries (and deaths) – to find out how they connect and where they diverge. We will discuss the problematic idea of “accident proneness” and look at accidents in a variety of venues: in sports, at home, at work, and on the road. We will also consider why both marriage and religious faith reduce the likelihood of accidental injury (and death).

Instructor L. Tepperman, Sociology
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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

SII199H1S | Section L0411

Decipher Puzzles in the Financial Press and Media
Have you ever watched a pundit’s passionate rant over financial crisis on TV and wondered whether he was right or wrong? Did you get the full story after watching movies like Margin Call or The Big Short? What was the efficiency market versus behavioral finance debate all about? Did you wonder why everyone in the financial press seem to be calling for a lower debt/equity ratio on banks in the post-crisis era? Why did some firms boast about their high dividend policies while other perfectly solid firms don’t pay dividends at all? If you find yourself think about those questions often, this is the course for you. We will start from some basic building blocks of finance, such as time value of money and discounting, and proceed to look at some of the important financial controversies you have read or heard in the media. Equipped with the knowledge acquired in the course, you will also have the opportunity to do your own research in order to affirm or rebut claims made in the popular media.

Prerequisite: High School Algebra
Instructor: V. Zhang, Statistical Sciences
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

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