Autumn 2020

Course offerings for the Autumn 2020 term include selections in Literature, Music, Social Sciences, and Writing.

Please note: All Autumn 2020 courses will take place on Zoom. Readings will be available online and by in-person retrieval.


LITERATURE


The American Character: Reading the United States Through Its Short Stories

8 weeks, Thursdays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Irving Howe has written about how some works of literature "become part of [a] National Literature once they manage to shake off provincial self-centredness yet retain the pungency of local speech and the strength of local settings." Is there a definable set of features that enables a work of literature to speak both to the individual and the group? What does it mean to term a work of literature "provincial," "regional," "national," or "transnational"? What does Howe mean by the term "self-centredness"? Are some of these stories more American and/or universal than others? What makes them so?


Imagining the Past: Fiction & Archaeology

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Why do so many of fiction’s archaeologists investigate the supernatural and face danger in exotic locales? What impact do the tropes of detective fiction and adventure have on how the public perceives scientific research? How do the remains of past civilizations inform our understanding of them? With authors such as Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth as our guides, we will investigate the intersection between science and storytelling—between discovering and imagining the past.


Pages in Particular: On the Power of Books

10 weeks, Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Why and how do books make such strong impressions on us? Why have certain books had such a powerful impact on readers in our culture? During the weekly discussions and in connection with the course readings, participants will share their experiences and insights as readers.


South Asian Literature: Beyond Postcolonialism

12 weeks, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

A rich literature has been created by writers from the Indian subcontinent, many now living in the English-speaking world, who explore the South Asian experience while challenging the notion that South Asian literature can only be a product of postcolonialism. Examining the novels of Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, and Arundhati Roy, we will question how these writers conceptualize and represent their changing worlds. What do their ideas regarding identity and gender, family and community, race and class, and history and space contribute to the discussion of these themes in contemporary literature more globally?



MUSIC


Invitation to Music: The Elements of Appreciation I

12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Each week, participants will have a chance to discuss and explore a particular aspect of music, under the guidance of discussion leader François A. Ouimet. During our time together we will discuss the basic constituents of music (how we hear music, what is a musical sound, rhythm, basics of music theory), then we will get acquainted with the family of instruments in the orchestra, with the help of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.



SOCIAL SCIENCES


The Bittersweet Honesty of Rachel Cusk: The Ethical Significance of Attending and Listening

12 weeks, Mondays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

This course will explore how Cusk’s recent trilogy—Outline, Transit, Kudos—relates her narrator’s discovery of a new position from which to pursue her life in the aftermath of personal turmoil. We will consider the following questions, among others: What can we discover about how to live by listening instead of talking? Might it be that we only undergo personal change indirectly, by way of a detour through our encounters with others? How can we distinguish between an attentiveness to others that is masochistically submissive and one that freely and assertively evaluates that which it observes? Does ethical discernment at times entail a dimension of power, even violence, insofar as one might notice what others don't want you to see?


Doughnut Economics: A 21st-Century Rethink of the Dismal Science

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Raworth provides a critical overview of some of the most pivotal ideas in classical economic theory, then suggests seven shifts in our thinking: Change the growth goal; see the big picture; nurture human nature; get savvy with the systems; design to distribute; create to regenerate; be agnostic about growth. How can environmental sustainability and social justice be reconciled with the need for economic development? How can today's challenges—such as climate change, wealth inequality, and financial instability—be met effectively and humanely? How can we place moral values at the hub of the economic wheel? How can classical economic ideas evolve to serve humanity's future?


Indigenous People Indigenizing the Future

12 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

How have Canadian colonialism and its ancillary network of residential schools traumatically derailed and deformed the coherence and continuity of Indigenous culture, particularly in connection with family relationships? How are we to understand the sources of such extreme systemic violence and abuse? What proposals have been offered to address the aftermath of this massive, socio-cultural, and transgenerational trauma and what will it take to truly promote healing and Indigenous self-determination?


Jung's Red Book III: “Scrutinies,” the Final Chapter

8 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Carl Jung concludes his mysterious Red Book with a third volume entitled “Scrutinies.” In this text we will meet several enigmatic and evocative characters, including Philemon (Jung's guide), Salome, Elijah, Hap, Abraxas, and the serpent. A substantial part of this volume concerns the magician Philemon, who addresses the Dead in Seven Sermons while Jung observes. Who are the Dead addressed by Philemon? Has Jung's daring enterprise successfully revisioned Christianity? What values does Jung derive from his encounter with his imaginal life? What does it mean that a leader of the early 20th-century psychoanalytic movement let his fantasy world determine his fate? How can we articulate the relevance of this book for our 21st-century world? What is lost when our world of technology, science, and reason relegates magic and the soul to the irrecoverable past?


A New World? Pandemics and the Possibility of Change

12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

How does plague change the way we see our lives and our relations to others while we are living through it? Have the eruption and ongoing impact of COVID-19 forced us to become aware of aspects of human existence we habitually seek to deny? In what ways has the pandemic exposed our tendency to lose sight of the limits of our freedom, our knowledge, and our love and revealed our inclination to overlook the extent of our vulnerability and interconnectedness? What can we do to ensure that, when this crisis is no longer wreaking havoc, we will not, as is commonly the case after a traumatic event, forget the truths we have found ourselves reluctantly recovering? Can we hope that this current, global challenge will motivate a lasting change in how we conduct our lives and in our readiness to care for each other?



WRITING


Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop

12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Effective writing is both an art and a craft that can be continually developed. This course will give you the opportunity to stretch your writing "wings" by exploring many styles and genres of writing. Through weekly short assignments, readings, and in-class discussions, we will help you develop the skills of observing, thinking, organizing your thoughts into clear prose, and saying what you mean, as well as other habits of good writers.


Writing Effectiveness

10 weeks, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Imagine if writing well were easier and more pleasurable. How much more fruitful and fun would your academic or professional life be if you could write more effectively?

The backbone of this course will be a series of writing assignments—approximately one per class meeting—which will help improve the mechanics, structure, and style of your own writing. We will also spend time developing executive strategies for planning your work, making the most of feedback, summarizing complex ideas, and citing the work of others. We will focus mainly on the essay genre but will also use other genres such as flash-fiction, poetry, and memos as writing prompts.



GATINEAU


Comprendre l'impasse israélo-palestinienne (Gatineau)

12 semaines, les mardis, 19h00 à 21h00 (dès le 15 septembre)

Quelle est l’origine de la situation actuelle dans le territoire de la Palestine partagé par les Nations Unies en 1947? Quelle est l’histoire et quels sont les objectifs du sionisme? Quelles ont été les retombées du processus d’Oslo? Quels sont les rapports démographiques et économiques entre l’État d’Israël et les territoires palestiniens? Quel rôle jouent les pays étrangers et surtout les États-Unis dans la vie politique de cette région, notamment sous l’administration Trump? Pourquoi un certain nombre d’intellectuels disent-ils que la seule voie d’avenir offerte est un seul état binational?



POINTE-CLAIRE


South Asian Literature: Beyond Postcolonialism

12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

A rich literature has been created by writers from the Indian subcontinent, many now living in the English-speaking world, who explore the South Asian experience while challenging the notion that South Asian literature can only be a product of postcolonialism. Examining the novels of Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, and Arundhati Roy, we will question how these writers conceptualize and represent their changing worlds. What do their ideas regarding identity and gender, family and community, race and class, and history and space contribute to the discussion of these themes in contemporary literature more globally?


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