Autumn 2021

Course offerings for the Autumn 2021 term include selections in Classics, History, Literature, Music, Social Sciences, and Writing.

Most courses will take place on Zoom and some will take place in a "hybrid" format, with some participants on Zoom and some in person.


The Aeneid and the Times of Augustus, the First Emperor

12 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.
**Hybrid course**

First of the great Roman verse works, The Aeneid celebrates the glory of Rome and its first emperor through an epic description of the founding of the city, following the model of the outstanding Greek epics. Was this poem an original masterpiece, composed by a literary genius during the crescendo of a grand civilization, or only an imitation of lines already laid down? Was Virgil contributing to a great literary cycle, or simply burnishing the reputation of a powerful tyrant? How was this text a chronicle of its time, and how was it a fresh interpretation of past deeds? What was the role of the poet, and of poetry more broadly, at the dawn of the Roman Empire?

This course is full; to add yourself to the waitlist, email or call (514) 935-9585. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.


An American Experiment: Liberty, Equality, and Democracy in the United States? Part One, 1492–1877

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

This course, an introduction to the political history of the United States, will examine the principles upon which the Republic was founded—the inherent equality of all “men” and their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—and the practice of those principles. What did the framers of the American Republic understand by the concept of “liberty”? Who was free in this new Republic? What were the factors that made it so difficult for the country to embrace equality and to what extent do these factors still exist today? When did the United States come to see itself as a Democracy as opposed to a Republic? How did democratic processes further or limit the founding principles? Did the Civil War and the Amendments to the Constitution which followed in its wake represent a re-founding of the United States? Who really won the Civil War? How were these political developments being viewed from what is now Canada?

How the Hudson’s Bay Company Shaped Canada’s History and Relations with Indigenous People

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

In this course, we will discuss the rise and fall of the Hudson’s Bay Company during the first 200 years of its existence, mainly through revisiting the interactions between the British and French leaders and explorers and their Indigenous trading partners. Why was this British company created in 1670 by two French coureurs de bois from New France? Why did the company establish itself so far north? What inspired the explorers to take such risks? How did commodity exchange affect the lives of Indigenous peoples? How did the treatment of Indigenous peoples by the company change as time progressed? How did the company’s activities influence the ultimate borders of Canada? Why was the company’s monopoly withdrawn in 1870?


Reading the United States: Modern America Through its Short Stories

10 weeks, Thursdays, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Does reading a country’s literature give us insight into understanding its people? We examined this question last year by looking at American short stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries. With a similar focus, this course will consider those from the 1940s to the present. Among the questions we will address are: Is there a compelling vision of America and Americans evoked in these tales? If so, how does the short story dramatize it? Through style, language, setting, characterization? Are these stories and their insights into America time-bound or do they transcend the moment in which they were written? Might this literature shed light on the American people, even now?

This course is full; to add yourself to the waitlist, email or call (514) 935-9585. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Write the Beloved Country

12 weeks, Tuesdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
**Hybrid course**

South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission sought to restore justice and promote peace after decades of systemic racism under Apartheid. Similarly, South African novelists have sought to contribute to the national healing process through works of fiction. How do novelists muster the creative energy to write during a time of political turmoil? What are the truths that are better captured in fiction than in nonfiction? How does literature contribute to social healing, particularly in the South African context?

This course is full; to add yourself to the waitlist, email or call (514) 935-9585. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.


A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Symphony, Part One

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

Here’s your chance to discover (or rediscover) the wonders of the symphony orchestra from Mozart to the present day. This course surveys the evolution of the orchestra and its repertoire, with special attention paid to works performed during Montreal’s upcoming concert season, and in seasons past. In addition, a visit to an orchestra rehearsal will be organized, if possible.


From Autocracy to Democracy: The Social Contract in Flux

12 weeks, Thursdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

As with the preceding course, “The Will of the People,” which focused on the historical aspects of the social contract, this course will delve into the philosophic aspects of this relationship. What responsibilities are required of the rulers? What rights and duties do the ruled have? What difficulties arise from competing expectations? What approaches have been attempted to solve these problems?

POSTPONED: Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion, Why it Matters, and What We Can Do About It

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

In the last 25 years, fashion has gone through a more significant change than just the usual cycle of trends. The declining price of clothing and increased speed of bringing new goods to market have created an untenable situation. Let us look at how we can reimagine our love affair with fashion so that it may be sustainable and offer us a brighter future.

As of September 2021, this course has been postponed to a future term.

Land and Ethics

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

What are the ethical implications of our relationship with the land? How do worldviews influence our sense of identity and responsibility in relation to the land? In exploring these questions, we initially draw on sources from the Hebrew Bible. What is the meaning and significance of “land” for the Israelite people searching for the land promised by Yahweh? Are there multiple interpretations of land for the Hebrew people and how might this inform our question concerning the land and ethics? What can Indigenous peoples’ relationship to non-human beings, including land, teach us about ethical relationships beyond human-to-human connections? What does it mean that Indigenous peoples consider land as family and believe that by being placed upon the land or in relationship with the land we have a responsibility to maintain right relationships with creation?

POSTPONED: Longing, Belonging, and Home

8 weeks, Wednesdays, 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
**Hybrid course**

What is the definition of home, and is it possible, through mementos and memory, to transport your home and recreate it in a new location? Whether one moves by choice or is forced to flee (in the case of refugees), one must decide which possessions to take and what to leave in place. Oftentimes these decisions are made quickly (what can you carry on your back?), at other times, with great thought and care. The study of material culture in the form of objects and their significance and value (emotionally and historically), as well as the definition of “belonging”—What does it mean to be a part of a community? What role does nostalgia play?—will be viewed through the lens of contemporary and historical displacements.

As of September 2021, this course has been postponed to a future term.

Revisiting Political Economy: The Ideas and Forces That Have Propelled Capitalism

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

Why is capitalism—the market system—the only viable economic system existing today? What accounts for the great divide between those who believe in a laissez-faire state of affairs and those who promote a managed form of capitalism? How relevant today are the early ideas about the workings of the market system? This course will take us from the views of the classical economists (Adam Smith, Karl Marx), through those of Keynes, to the present age of neoliberalism. What factors led to the golden years of capitalism (les trentes glorieuses)? What events and forces ushered in the neoliberal ideology? Is it possible to have sustainable growth and shared prosperity under a market-based system? What effects will the COVID-19 pandemic have on attitudes toward the role of the state and the public good?

The Wisdom of Dreams

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

Where do dreams come from? Why do we dream? Why are dreams so difficult to understand? What can we learn about dreams and our inner world from the works of creative individuals? What do dreams tell us about life’s great mysteries and the finality of death and dying? How can we apply knowledge from the healing professions to better understand our own dreams? With the help of carefully selected texts, essays, poems, art, music, and videos, we will try to better understand dreams and our inner world.


Memoir Writing: Sharing Your Life Stories

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

What makes a good personal memoir? Where do we begin amidst the chaotic clutter of memories in our heads? How do we focus, shape, and give meaning to our narratives? 

In this writing workshop, we will help you find the stories that you most want to tell and then to write them in clear, vivid, and entertaining prose. Through weekly readings, short written assignments, and in-class discussions, we will delve into our personal treasure troves of memory and consider how to express these, using all the tools of good writing and editing.

This course is full; to add yourself to the waitlist, email or call (514) 935-9585. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.


À quoi tient le fanatisme violent ?

12 semaines, les mardis, 19h00 à 21h00 (dès le 21 septembre 2021)
**en ligne**

La désignation de personnes ou de groupes comme extrémistes ou fanatiques n’est-elle pas formulée par leurs opposants ? Quelle valeur objective doit-on reconnaître à ces qualificatifs ?  

Quels sont les motivations et les facteurs qui amènent des groupes ou des individus à devenir « extrémistes » ou « fanatiques » ? Une indignation profonde devant la situation du monde (théories du complot), l’influence de leaders (populisme), la soif d’un engagement absolu ?

De quelle manière cette « radicalisation » s’appuie-t-elle dans un grand nombre de cas sur une religion ou sur une forme de religion « radicalisée » ?  

L’évocation de la religion ou de certaines idéologies (marxisme, nationalisme, etc.) par les auteurs d’actes violents révèle-t-elle un danger inhérent à la religion ou aux idéologies ?


The Writers' Exchange

6 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. (Autumn 2021)

Do you enjoy writing but lack an audience for your writing, other than the cat? Would you like to meet other writers for stimulation and support? If so, consider the TMI Writers’ Exchange.

We will meet weekly for six weeks to read our writing and get gentle feedback from fellow scribes. Readings are limited to 10 minutes and may include journalism, memoir, short stories, or books. One of the hardest things about writing is sticking with it when you don’t have a deadline. By joining our group, you will have an incentive to come up with new material to delight and inform the other members each week.

Literary Excursions

12 sessions, the last Monday of each month, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

TMI is offering a unique and eclectic reading-discussion experience. This program is a re-imagining of last year’s “Book Circle.” We will include both fiction and nonfiction works. In some months we will invite all participants to speak about their favourite books by a prolific author; in others we will focus on one notable work by a well-known author. The event will take place in the last week of each month. Registrations will be for individual sessions, at a cost of $10 per session to cover administrative costs. Please register early, as places will be limited. 

Self-Appropriation : invitation à l’expérience et à l’affirmation personnelle de soi à la lumière de la pensée de Bernard Lonergan

12 sessions, every other Wednesday, 19h00 - 21h00
**cours bilingue | en ligne**

Since TMI’s founding in 1945, when Bernard Lonergan offered the course “Truth and Reality,” his teachings have been a guiding force at the Institute. This year, TMI will be offering a 12-session bilingual seminar aimed at introducing Lonergan’s thought through personal exercises of self-appropriation. 

Bernard Lonergan présente son grand livre, Insight, comme « une invitation à un acte personnel décisif »... « il s'agit de découvrir, de cerner les activités de sa propre intelligence (et) de se familiariser avec elles… ». Ce cours sera axé avant tout sur le vécu des participants. Les lectures seront tirées d’autobiographies qui illustrent des actes concrets qui permettront aux participants de repérer des actes semblables dans leur propre expérience.

Have questions about our courses?

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