Fall 2022

Course offerings for the Fall 2022 term include selections in Art History, Classics, History, Literature, Music, Social Sciences, and Writing.

Courses may take place in person, on Zoom, or in a hybrid format where participants can choose whether to participate in person or on Zoom for the same course. The location listings on this page will remain up-to-date.


The Portrait: How Do We See Ourselves?

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

The person portrayed, and the portrait are two entirely different things.—José Ortega y Gasset.

What do portraits tell us about artists, people, places, and historical periods? What can we learn from them? How have they shaped how we see and understand ourselves?
This course will examine the changing face of the portrait in art history. We will look at how and why the portrait’s meaning and function have changed over the years and why artists are still drawn to this genre. What is the meaning of “likeness”? How do artists go about trying to convey immaterial qualities such as the spirit, the soul, and the character of a being? How do they infuse portraits with originality?


After the Athenian Empire: Ancient Greece in the Time of Plato

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

The end of the fifth century BCE saw the Athenian Empire vanquished and democratic Athens  subjugated by tyrants put in place by its enemy Sparta. Across the country, Sparta, Thebes, Athens, and other Greek cities kept warring, while Plato established philosophy on firm footing that would sustain it for millennia. In the same period, the renewed Athenian democracy had put to death its talkative philosopher Socrates. What led up to Socrates’ death? What was really happening across Greece during that period? How did Plato’s philosophy relate to these tragic events? Was Socrates a true philosopher, or only Plato’s mouthpiece?



AT CAPACITY: An American Experiment: Liberty, Equality, and Democracy in the United States? Part Two, 1878-2022

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

Having fought a civil war to see if, as Lincoln put it, a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the notion of human equality could long endure, the United States came in the decades following the war to experience both the failure of reconstruction and the rise of inequality. 

This course is full. To join the waitlist, please email info@thomasmore.qc.ca.


AT CAPACITY: The Beat Generation

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

Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel On the Road precipitated what was called the “rucksack revolution,” defining the values and culture of the 1960s and the youth movement of that time. By focusing on the writing of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Corso, Snyder, Ferlinghetti, Di Prima, and others, we will ask the following questions: What were the values and aesthetics of this literary movement? What is their connection to jazz and bebop? How did the political poetry of Allen Ginsberg come out of this movement, and how did it shape the politics of protest of the 1960s and 70s? What are the many meanings of the term “beat”? How did the beats influence popular culture? Does the “message” of beat literature still speak to our time?

This course is full. To join the waitlist, please email info@thomasmore.qc.ca.

Literature and Tourism: A Quest for Alternate Worlds

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

What do reading and travel have in common? How has the figure of the tourist been represented in literature and popular culture? In what ways have tourism and literature been influenced by each other? This course will consider these questions by examining literary works that engage with tourism from the late 19th century to the present.

Literature of Migration and Diaspora: South Asian Writers in 21st-Century USA

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

Even 20 years after 9/11, we hear the echoes of that cataclysmic event. South Asian diasporic literature in the USA, with its portrayals of ethnic vacillation and Islamophobia, shows how different transnational elements may merge in a poetics of cultural translation. How do writers relate to concepts of national identity and nationalism?

Proust’s Madeleines: In Search of Lost Time

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is on many readers’ lists of books to read, but it is a daunting task to approach. Join a group of peers to journey together through Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove, the first two volumes of this novel, which include the famous madeleine episode.

The Year Without a Summer: The Environments of British Romanticism

12 weeks, Wednesdays, 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
**Atwater or Zoom**

The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 triggered worldwide climate catastrophes. During the following “year without a summer,” several writers and thinkers produced some of their most groundbreaking work. This course will address texts that centre natural disasters from the British Romantic period, as well as other major upheavals of the time, such as the repercussions of colonialism, the Enclosure Acts, and the Industrial Revolution. Today we face similar environmental changes, scientific and sociological transformations, and political turmoil. What impact did climate catastrophes have on the literature and science of the Romantic period? How do early theorizations of the anthropocene compare to new understandings? How do poets lyricize nonhuman victims of climate change? In what ways do global events inform local literature?


A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Symphony, Part Three

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

Here’s your chance to experience the wonders of the symphony orchestra from Mozart to the present day. Every week we will study works being performed in upcoming concerts, both symphonic and chamber music This course surveys the evolution of the orchestra and its repertoire, with special attention paid to works performed during Montreal’s concert season. Time permitting, we will also explore the instrument families of the symphony orchestra: strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion. We will also discuss the history of conducting. And, if possible, a visit to an orchestra rehearsal will be organized.

Saturday Afternoons at the Opera

6 weeks, Saturdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

This course on opera will be held in conjunction with HD simulcasts from New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Starting this fall, we will enjoy 10 operas which will include new productions of Cherubini’s Medea, Puts’s The Hours, Giordano’s Fedora, Wagner’s Lohengrin, Blanchard’s Champion, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Die Zauderflöte.


Rethinking Our Place in Nature

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

We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well—for we will not fight to save what we don’t love.—S. J. Gould

In this course, we will consider the dominant values and narratives that drive our current relationship with the earth and the consequences of continuing to hold on to them. How do our ways of thinking of ourselves in relation to nature influence the way we interact with the non-human world? Does nature have intrinsic value regardless of its utility for humans? Should we hold dominion over nature? What are our rights and responsibilities toward other animals, species, and ecosystems? What are the ethical frameworks that have led to our current environmental crisis? What alternative ecological, Indigenous, legal, and environmental frameworks could provide us with ways to develop a more nurturing and reciprocal relationship with nature?

The Wondrous World of Fairy Tales

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

While fairy tales have often been dismissed as children’s literature, morality tales, or escapist fantasy, they also lend themselves to serious study by academics, depth psychologists, and to a fascinating exploration by the curious common folk. Where do fairy tales come from and what do they tell us about human nature? Why do Jungian analysts and others feel fairy tales contain a rich storehouse of archetypal wisdom about the human psyche? Do they mirror the collective challenges of the societies and individuals that produce them? On what grounds might we consider that these stories were meant to transmit insights about the psyche and possibilities for self-transformation?


Writer’s Room: An Introduction to Creative Writing Workshops

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

Are you interested in developing your creative practice in a workshop setting? 

In this 12-week workshop, we will explore four different disciplines of creative writing: playwriting, poetry, short fiction, and hybrid forms, focusing on creating and workshopping students’ new work. Students will read contemporary works in all 4 genres and will be given prompts for innovation in their creative writing.

The emphasis of the course will be on reading and creating in a multitude of literary disciplines while exploring a generative “writers’ room” environment where students will exchange with each other, offering and receiving feedback on their creations.


From Autocracy to Democracy

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

We will discuss the rise of demagogues in the 20th and 21st centuries and explore the fundamental question of whether democracy as we know it is dying or whether it is evolving into a new system. We will read excerpts from works of philosophers as well as excerpts from Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy and Madeleine Albright’s Fascism. We will discuss populism as an instrument affecting the change of system.

From earliest records until today, tension has existed between strong national leaders and those they govern. Evolving alongside other ideas, like that of a divine contract, social contract theory is based on an agreement between rulers and the ruled. These agreements have been subject to change over time and are often in flux.


Les valeurs occidentales

12 semaines, les mardis, 19h00 à 21h00

Les « droits de la personne » adoptés dans certaines instances mondiales telles que l’ONU semblent marquer une universalisation des idées du Siècle des Lumières européen : or ils semblent niés par certains pays, pourtant membres fondateurs de ces instances. 

Les « valeurs » nées en Occident, et imposées ailleurs notamment par la colonisation, n’ont-elles pas bénéficié d’une diffusion superficielle, fragilisée par les renversements politiques? Le retour de plusieurs pays à une forme anti-occidentale de pratique de l’islam ou à des « valeurs asiatiques » ne relativise-t-il pas les revendications d’une civilisation occidentale, issue de la pensée grecque, de la chrétienté, de l’humanisme ou de la modernité séculière? 


Lonergan’s answer to Kant’s question: Que pouvons-nous connaître?

6 weeks, Mercredis 7:00-9:00 (chaque deux semaines)

Following last year’s course on self-appropriation, which focused on Part I of Lonergan’s Insight (insight as activity), this course addresses Part II (insight as knowledge) and explores Lonergan's relationship to Kant and his famous question "What can I know?" Some of the questions we will investigate are “What is a fact?” “How can we define a human being?” “What is the relationship between faith and love?” and “Is the universe intelligible?”

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at info@thomasmore.qc.ca