2022S WRDS 150A Topics

WRDS 150A is offered in a wide variety of topics from departments and instructors across UBC.

Course topics and descriptions are subject to change depending on the instructor and their availability. Below is the schedule for the upcoming 2021S Spring and Summer sessions.

2022S Terms 1 & 2

Below are course descriptions for each topic, as well as instructor and scheduling information.

Instructor: Katie Fitzpatrick

Sections: 001

Available Times:  M/W  12:00-3:00 PM

Today, we often hear that “privacy is dead.” Some blame growing surveillance by governments and by Silicon Valley tech companies, while others blame an increasingly confessional culture, characterized by constant “over-sharing” on social media or on reality television. In this course, we will read scholarly articles from disciplines like law, sociology, and psychology in order to gain a wider perspective on privacy. We will consider, for example, RCMP surveillance of Indigenous movements in Canada and the privacy implications of online learning. In addition to reading and analyzing scholarly articles, students will join the scholarly conversation by producing their own original research related to privacy and/or surveillance.

Instructor: Kirby Manià

Sections: 002

Available Times: T/TH  3:00-6:00PM

This course focuses on scholarly discourse published on the topic of environmental justice (EJ). It will consider discursive practices ranging from critical race theory, ecofeminism, social movement theory, media studies, geography, sociology, political ecology, and economics. Emerging as a movement in the early 1980s in the United States, EJ – now considered a global movement and a matter of global concern – recognizes the unfair distribution of environmental hazards on marginalized populations. Studies have shown that environmental harms disproportionately affect vulnerable social groups (which includes, but is not limited to, people of colour, indigenous communities, immigrants, women, minority groups, low-income communities, and climate refugees). EJ scholars research and monitor cases of socially produced environmental injustice and critically evaluate how multi-scalar policy decisions (such as neoliberal reform) continue to affect at-risk communities. EJ scholarship examines the social mobilization potential of communities against the uneven distribution of environmental hazards (or the lack of the fair distribution of environmental resources), and also considers how grassroots activists – in their campaign for greater recognition and participation in decision-making processes – hold governments and corporations accountable in their calls for justice. We will be tracing a number of scholarly conversations around the globalization of the Environmental Justice Movement (EJM) – looking at literature from the US, Canada, and other parts of the world – whilst discussing terms like environmental racism, climate justice, intersectionality, ecological debt, degrowth, food sovereignty, hydric justice, and environmentalism of the poor.

The course’s discursive approach invites students to engage with scholarly conversations and published research across a range of disciplinary perspectives. The course will entail writing about these research perspectives as well as producing research of your own.

Instructor: Jennifer Gagnon

Sections: 003

Available Times: T/TH 6:00-9:00PM - Online

Video games are neither “just for kids,” nor simple escapist entertainment. Indeed, video games are fast becoming one of the most profitable and innovative forms of creative and artistic expression today. Deeper study reveals that video games as a genre are heavily influenced by social and political understandings of ability, gender, race, sexuality, and identity. Issues related to diversity and inclusion such as who gets to play, whose stories are told, and who is represented, have taken centre stage in explorations of the future of gaming at the intersections of fun, profit, and politics. While video games let the player be in control, not everyone’s stories are represented. This course’s theme will explore how aspects of identity such as gender, race, ability, and sexuality, influence the ways that we experience and respond to the genre of video games as a scholarly research area, media making, and political practice.

In this section of WRDS 150A, we will use a multi-modal approach blending lecture and active learning practices that will involve students in working collaboratively on academic writing for Arts students. We will explore not only the how to, but also the why of academic writing. Students will explore the genres of academic writing by comparing, exploring, and critiquing different discourses of writing in the Sciences, Technology, Arts, and popular media – all through the discourses of video games and diversity. Our work will focus on effective modes of written and oral communication in the Arts to use in presentations, writing, and other ways to communicate academic research to a variety of academic and non-academic audiences. In pursuit of becoming better scholarly writers who can shape material effectively for communication, students will pursue their own literature reviews on the theme of video games and diversity, and will present their work at a class-wide conference presentation to their peers. The literature review and final presentation will provide the opportunity for students to combine their increasingly sophisticated skills as scholarly writers and critical thinkers to communicate their findings in a variety of modes including written reports, research analysis, responding to questions, and visual design of their presentations.

Instructor:  Connor Byrne

Sections: 006

Available Times: M/W 3:00-6:00PM

For this course, the city will be our main object of scholarly investigation, and in order to introduce you to the rigours of academic writing and research, we will read academic research articles from a range of disciplines in order to familiarize you with the conventions and goals of academic criticism: novel, evidence-based research; critical dialogue; argumentation and analysis. As engaged readers and writers, and through a series of scaffolded assignments and workshops, you will become adept at the genre of research-driven writing: summary and citation, literature review, research proposals, conference papers, peer review, and the research paper.

Guiding this work will be investigations of the city—of urban phenomena and experience—carried out by the six research articles that model the kind of research (mainly qualitative, not quantitative) and writing for which this course serves as an apprenticeship. These articles provide a sampling of academic criticism from a range of disciplines—for example, sociology, history, urban design, art history, cultural studies, anthropology, etc.

In response to course material and discussion, you will reflect on your own evolving positions as modern city dwellers and ultimately develop a novel qualitative research project that contributes to scholarly conversations about the city.

Instructor: Krista Sigurdson

Sections: 007

Available Times:  T/TH 6:00-9:00PM - online

This course will aim to explore how different academic disciplines engage with the concept of nostalgia. Nostalgia is a word, or more usually a feeling, that most people have used or felt; however, very few understand its constant presence in everyday life. We will study nostalgia from its earliest appearance in academia as a form of mental illness in the seventeenth century and follow its growing influence over, and manipulation of, contemporary ideas of national identity, consumerism, class, lifestyle choices and the environment. Through the study of academic journal articles from a variety of fields (psychology, sociology, marketing, political science and media) we will examine the research techniques used by different disciplines to study such an esoteric concept.

Instructor: Jennifer Cowe

Sections: 004

Available Times:  T/TH 12:00-3:00 PM

This course will aim to explore how different academic disciplines engage with the concept of nostalgia. Nostalgia is a word, or more usually a feeling, that most people have used or felt; however, very few understand its constant presence in everyday life. We will study nostalgia from its earliest appearance in academia as a form of mental illness in the seventeenth century and follow its growing influence over, and manipulation of, contemporary ideas of national identity, consumerism, class, lifestyle choices and the environment. Through the study of academic journal articles from a variety of fields (psychology, sociology, marketing, political scienceand media) we will examine the research techniques used by different disciplines to study such an esoteric concept.

Instructor: Dylan Cree

Sections: 005

Available Times: T/Th 6:00-9:00PM

The main objective of the course WRDS 150 is to introduce you to various forms of academic research and writing. Accordingly, you will learn to write a summary, a research proposal, and a research paper, all of which will provide you with the kinds of writing skills you will use throughout your academic career. In this particular offering of the course our topic will be approaches in media studies and media criticism. Learning from different schools of thought, concepts and theories related to media and culture you will study the relationships between formal, aesthetic, representational and sensory elements of media texts and their surrounding discourses. Throughout the course, some of our guiding questions will be: how are media and cultural texts made?; how do we critique and analyze media and cultural texts?; and, how is an audience constituted?

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