2022S WRDS 150B Topics

WRDS 150B 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 2022 Spring and Summer sessions.

2022S Term 1

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

Instructor: Krista Sigursdon

Section: 500

Available times: T/TH 9:00AM

In this WRDS 150B course we deconstruct our scientific and lived understandings of gender/sex and race as categories of difference. Through reading historical, philosophical, sociological and scientific research, we examine two facets of race and gender/sex as well as their interplay. First, we look at sex/gender and race as ways human bodies and behaviors have been organized, thereby informing us of historical origins of racism and sexism. Second, we look at these categories as used today to explain health or other inequities or to demarcate identity, belonging or exclusion. We will draw on Science and Technology Studies to guide our work and will take up examples in Indigenous science, medicine/health sciences, sport, psychology, economics and other areas of everyday life to unpack our very understandings of gender/sex and race. Throughout we will consider how scholars in a variety of disciplines study and write about gender/sex and race. What questions do they ask and what methods do they use? We will learn about a variety of conventions around knowledge making and rhetorical/discursive moves, including what conventions it makes sense for you to take with you into your scholarly work. No prior knowledge of gender/sex, race and science is expected other than a curiosity and willingness to learn and engage.

Instructor:  Darren Fleet

Sections: 501

Available Times:  M/W 9:00AM

In this course we learn the unique features and characteristics of scholarly expression and how to familiarize ourselves with various scholarly genres. Through writing and reading exercises, students will become acquainted with the culture of academic research and learn how to express themselves within a scholarly context. We will exam how knowledge is mobilized through different scholarly forms and practices to produce observations and stories about our world. In particular, we investigate the ways our topic can be interrogated through various academic lenses. Throughout the course, students will engage in peer review knowledge production and learn to identify the distinctions and boundaries of varied research communities.

In The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh argues “the climate crisis is also a crisis of culture, and thus of the imagination.” What does Ghosh mean by this? What are the implications in terms of environmental communication? Drawing upon the Canadian experience, we journey through various genres of scholarship and communication to explore competing visions of the environment. In particular, we pay close attention to how discourses of progress, sustainability, and consumption intersect with broader political and environmental theories of social, political, and cultural transformation. What role does information and awareness play in theories of behaviour change? In what ways do fossil fuels structure the cultural landscape? How is energy production gendered through promotional discourses? How do our values inform our thinking about natural and built environments? Are fear-based messages helpful or hurtful when it comes to communicating ecological urgency? Addressing these questions and others, we critically assess differing theories, perspectives, and concepts about the role that information plays in directing environmental behaviours and understandings.

Instructor:  Laura Baumvol

Sections: 511

Available Times:  M/W  9:00AM

In this section of WRDS 150, we will focus on how various disciplines, such as environmental sciences, natural sciences, and computer science investigate and write about the dissemination of science knowledge to the public. This communication involves the knowledge popularization to a broad, popular audience through a recontextualization process of text relocation from a primary scholarly context (e.g. academic journals) to a secondary popularized context (e.g. mass media, news media, magazines, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, blogs, Q&A websites, etc.).The replacement of the deficit model of knowledge communication to a passive audience by one that includes a two-way interaction between the academic community and non-specialist audiences has promoted dialogue, empowerment, inclusion, and participation through the public engagement with science. The readings in the course, along with the individual and collaborative writing assignments and activities, will allow students to engage in scholarly conversations and explore multiple research genres and methods, types of data, and writing practices.

Instructor: Andrew Connolly

Section: 512

Available Times:  M/W  12:00PM

“I don’t believe it.” That was Donald Trump’s response to a report on climate change prepared by more than 300 leading climate scientists. Trump is hardly the only person in the contemporary world to reject scientific findings. People dismiss evolution, the health benefits of vaccines, even that the earth is a sphere. This rejection of science can seem perplexing, especially for those who understand the rigorous process of producing scientific knowledge and theories. So why is it that some people simply do not believe in science?

This course looks at the ways scholars from various departments seek to answer that question. Some of the scholars develop wide ranging theories about why people believe what they believe. Others focus on specific people and the complexity of their belief systems. Some scholars even raise their own doubts about science and scientific methods. The differences in the approaches each scholar takes to this question sometimes relates to the discipline they are from. These scholars come from Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, and English departments. Each of these disciplines has its own methods and conventions. In other words, a particular discipline influences what scholars ask questions about, how they phrase the questions, how they answer the questions, and how they present their findings. As a result, this course will not only introduce you to the academic study of science, politics, and belief. It will also introduce you to the various disciplinary approaches to research and writing.

Instructor: Mary Ann Saunders

Section: 513

Available times:  M/W 6:00PM

We will focus on transgender studies, a multidisciplinary research field which investigates the increasing visibility and importance of transgender people in contemporary culture. A fundamental premise of trans studies is that ethical research in this area must be attentive to and prioritize the voices and knowledge which trans people have about themselves and their experience. We will, therefore, cultivate such an attentiveness in our course. By studying trans research representing several academic disciplines you will develop a sense of how different disciplines approach this research area, and then apply this knowledge to research and writing projects of your own. What do trans people say about themselves and their lives? How can you, as apprentice researchers, ethically translate that lived experience into research scholarship of your own?

Instructor: Sang Wu

Section: 514

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

This section of WRDS 150 will investigate climate change and other global crises, and issues of responsibility concerning them, in the epoch of the Anthropocene. Coined at the turn of the 21st century, the word is compounded from the Greek anthropos (“human”) and kainos (“new”). The Anthropocene is the new epoch of humans: one in which planetary conditions are shaped by human activity rather than vice versa, humankind as a force of geological agency has overtaken physical geography and natural history, and the familiar distinction between man and nature no longer holds. A closer look at the scientific and semantic implications of the term, however, reveals it to be less straightforward than initially appears. Currently not officially recognized as part of the Geologic Time Scale, what should be understood or measured as the basis for the Anthropocene means different things to different disciplines. How do scholars from fields as diverse as geology, climatology, sociology, history, anthropology, and psychology, engage with the common idea of the Anthropocene? Do studies of pre-industrial greenhouse gas emissions, critiques of environmentally unsustainable trends of industrial, socioeconomic, and technological acceleration in an age of world capitalism, and theories of the end of human history at the limits of human “meaning” and modernity, ask similar research questions despite starkly contrastive methodologies? How are the discursive challenges posed by referring to singular abstractions (e.g., humans as a “species,” the sense of a “universal” history or geostory, the “Anthropocene”) represented across multiple disciplines, reflective of the conceptual difficulties which arise in accessing or preserving a nature no longer distinguishable from the human interventions that create and destroy it? How is our sense of what it means to be natural objects or human subjects, and what it means not to be, informed by how our discourses produce meaning?

Instructor: Adrian Lou

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

Section:  515

Traditionally, metaphor has been understood as a stylistic device that poetically decorates language. Metaphorical expressions (e.g. my love is a rose) are thus thought to be statements that do not reside in the realm of everyday speech. However, contemporary research in cognitive linguistics has shown that many conventional expressions are inescapably metaphorical. Consider, for instance, how we rely on metaphors to talk about abstract concepts, such as love (e.g. you’re breaking my heart), illness (e.g. the patients are battling cancer), and time (e.g. we’re running out of time). In this course, we will read academic articles that evaluate the use of metaphors in biology, healthcare, psychology, Indigenous studies and politics in order to have a better understanding of how metaphors shape the way we think about the world around us. Ultimately, students in WRDS 150 will learn how to read academic papers in a critical way, identify the rhetorical strategies used in academic writing, and write an original research paper that draws upon ideas and concepts from the course.

Instructor: Rohan Karpe

Sections: 520

Available Times:  T/TH 9:00AM -Online

In this WRDS 150 section we explore behaviours, norms, and behavioural change.

We have voluntarily adopted some of these behaviours, norms, and changes; some have been enforced, and still others have been influenced by those around us. These behaviours, norms, and changes appear at personal as well as at societal levels. How do various disciplinary researchers study behaviours, norms, and behavioural change. What research writing practices do they engage in to communicate their findings about behaviours, norms, and behavioural change? Using peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, writing exercises, discussions, and critical feedback on writing assignments, you will be able to construct your own text-based research proposal and research paper on a behaviour, norm that you’re keen to study. Your paper will assist keen readers to change their understanding of your chosen topic.

Instructor: Deo Nizonkiza

Sections: 521

Available Times:  T/TH 9:00AM -Online

Everybody has a story to tell! In this section of WRDS 150B, students examine the questions related to storytelling across disciplines. By examining the way such questions have been explored by scholars from different disciplines, such as Information Communication Technology, Health Sciences, and Engineering, students are expected to learn and familiarize themselves with scholarly practices through this topic of storytelling. Among other things, students will explore the nature of research questions scholars from different disciplines ask, the methodologies devised to answer them, and how they report the results. Through readings and related writing tasks and discussions, students will get used to writing conventions and principles. Students will then develop their own writing strategies which they will apply as they develop their own research projects as the course progresses.

Instructor: Kimberly Richards

Sections:  522

Available Times:  T/TH 12:00PM

Oil is a fulcrum around which many of today’s most pressing social, economic, and political issues can be analyzed and understood. In the twenty-first century, we are finally beginning to realize the degree to which oil has transformed modern life while entangling us in unsustainable colonial systems of extraction and dispossession. The increasing recognition of oil’s central role in modernity is met with the awareness that over the next decade we need to transition to new energy sources and new ways of living that enable us to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Extracting ourselves from our dependence on oil amounts to a social transformation of an unprecedented scale and scope; it entails not only to change the kinds of energy we use and depend on, but also a transformation in values. In this course we will consider some of the social and political challenges of the energy transition we face, and the accompanying cultural transformation.

Instructor:  Michael Schandorf

Sections: 523

Available times:  T/TH 3:00 PM

The idea of competition is so fundamental to Western culture that we often take it for granted as a natural good. Nearly every aspect of our lives involves competition: we compete in school and for jobs, we compete both socially and at work, we compete in games for fun, and when we’re not competing ourselves we spend much of our time enjoying watching others compete. But our obsession with competition has complications. For example, a world divided into winners and losers is an inherently inequitable world: there will always be more “losers” than “winners”. Competition also has interesting relationships with our need for social cohesion. Attempting to disentangle cooperation from competition, in fact, can undermine both: a lack of either can lead to unproductive stasis, and worse, but a complete integration of cooperation and competition can lead to us-versus-them thinking and even war (which American rhetorical scholar Kenneth Burke called “the ultimate disease of cooperation”). This seminar will explore some of the ways that competition has been investigated in recent scholarship, and students will design and produce a research project of their own contributing to that scholarly conversation.

Instructor: Adrian Lou

Sections:  524

Available Times: T/TH 6:00PM

Traditionally, metaphor has been understood as a stylistic device that poetically decorates language. Metaphorical expressions (e.g. my love is a rose) are thus thought to be statements that do not reside in the realm of everyday speech. However, contemporary research in cognitive linguistics has shown that many conventional expressions are inescapably metaphorical. Consider, for instance, how we rely on metaphors to talk about abstract concepts, such as love (e.g. you’re breaking my heart), illness (e.g. the patients are battling cancer), and time (e.g. we’re running out of time). In this course, we will read academic articles that evaluate the use of metaphors in biology, healthcare, psychology, Indigenous studies and politics in order to have a better understanding of how metaphors shape the way we think about the world around us. Ultimately, students in WRDS 150 will learn how to read academic papers in a critical way, identify the rhetorical strategies used in academic writing, and write an original research paper that draws upon ideas and concepts from the course.

Instructor: Deo Nizonkiza

Sections: 525

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

Everybody has a story to tell! In this section of WRDS 150B, students examine the questions related to storytelling across disciplines. By examining the way such questions have been explored by scholars from different disciplines, such as Information Communication Technology, Health Sciences, and Engineering, students are expected to learn and familiarize themselves with scholarly practices through this topic of storytelling. Among other things, students will explore the nature of research questions scholars from different disciplines ask, the methodologies devised to answer them, and how they report the results. Through readings and related writing tasks and discussions, students will get used to writing conventions and principles. Students will then develop their own writing strategies which they will apply as they develop their own research projects as the course progresses.

Instructor: Rohan Karpe

Sections: 526

Available Times:  T/TH 6:00PM -Online

In this WRDS 150 section we explore behaviours, norms, and behavioural change.

We have voluntarily adopted some of these behaviours, norms, and changes; some have been enforced, and still others have been influenced by those around us. These behaviours, norms, and changes appear at personal as well as at societal levels. How do various disciplinary researchers study behaviours, norms, and behavioural change. What research writing practices do they engage in to communicate their findings about behaviours, norms, and behavioural change? Using peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, writing exercises, discussions, and critical feedback on writing assignments, you will be able to construct your own text-based research proposal and research paper on a behaviour, norm that you’re keen to study. Your paper will assist keen readers to change their understanding of your chosen topic.

2022S Term 2

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

Instructor: Connor Byrne

Section: 550

Available times:  M/W 9:00AM

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:  Adrian Lou

Section:  551
Available Times:  M/W  12:00PM

Traditionally, metaphor has been understood as a stylistic device that poetically decorates language. Metaphorical expressions (e.g. my love is a rose) are thus thought to be statements that do not reside in the realm of everyday speech. However, contemporary research in cognitive linguistics has shown that many conventional expressions are inescapably metaphorical. Consider, for instance, how we rely on metaphors to talk about abstract concepts, such as love (e.g. you’re breaking my heart), illness (e.g. the patients are battling cancer), and time (e.g. we’re running out of time). In this course, we will read academic articles that evaluate the use of metaphors in biology, healthcare, psychology, Indigenous studies and politics in order to have a better understanding of how metaphors shape the way we think about the world around us. Ultimately, students in WRDS 150 will learn how to read academic papers in a critical way, identify the rhetorical strategies used in academic writing, and write an original research paper that draws upon ideas and concepts from the course.

Instructor:  William Green
Section:  552
Available Times: M/W  3:00PM

This section is scheduled to be taught online using synchronous and asynchronous components.  Online attendance is mandatory in this course.

WRDS 150 prepares you to understand, and participate in, the discourse practices employed by the university community in disseminating the results of research activities. Research writing exhibits a number of characteristics which are shared across disciplinary boundaries, constituting a distinct genre. This course will provide you with experience in recognizing the genre conventions and expectations of research writing through reading published professional scholarship in a range of fields, and in practicing deploying the rhetorical features of research writing through creating communications which detail the results of your own research project. This section of WRDS 150 focuses on the calculation of time. We will read a range of papers concerning the calculation of time from a variety of fields. Over the course of the term, you will complete a series of assignments, each building upon the next, to complete a research project dealing with the language and rhetoric of papers in a discipline of your choosing.

Instructor:  Nazih El-Bezre
Section:  553
Available Times: M/W  3:00PM

his section of WRDS 150 focuses on the relationship among globalization, identity formation, and the literacy practices needed in the 21st century. In today’s technologically-interconnected world, people, ideologies, food habits, fashion, and movies flow easily through borders with a speed unforeseen in the recorded human history. Due to the shrinkage of our world—which has been called a global village—we are faced with questions concerning the knowledges or literacies required to succeed in a highly competitive world, and the impact of these knowledges on our own identities. The focus on the 21st century literacies operates in conjunction with crucial life literacies, such as health literacy, ecoliteracy, second/additional language literacies, religious literacy, financial literacies, and even food literacy studies. As a result of these multiliteracies, individuals in the 21st century are now required to possess and use a variety of literacy competencies that span across various academic disciplines. Individuals’ literacies are thus multiple, dynamic, adaptable, and multidimensional. Due to the significance of these literacies on identity formation, researchers, including novice university students, explore literacies to improve knowledge transmission at every stage of individuals’ lives.

Instructor:  Connor Byrne
Section:  561
Available Times: T/TH  9:00AM

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: David Newman

Sections: 562

Available Times: T/TH 12:00PM

In a world where innovation has become highly sought after, creativity is the often-hidden engine necessary for innovation to take place. Creativity is now listed as one of the key skills required for employment in the 21stcentury. But what is creativity, how is it understood, and what is the creative process?

Creativity crosses discipline boundaries and can be viewed and understood through multiple lenses. Using scholarship on Creativity as a vehicle, this course will introduce you to different genres and forms of academic writing. Your learning journey will include development of a literature review, followed by a research proposal and onto the writing and rewriting of a research paper. There is a high degree of group work in this section, and the research and writing of your research paper will be a collaborative effort. You will also learn and experience a number of creativity tools over the term.

Instructor: Sang Wu

Sections: 563

Available Times: T/TH 3:00PM

This section of WRDS 150 will investigate climate change and other global crises, and issues of responsibility concerning them, in the epoch of the Anthropocene. Coined at the turn of the 21st century, the word is compounded from the Greek anthropos (“human”) and kainos (“new”). The Anthropocene is the new epoch of humans: one in which planetary conditions are shaped by human activity rather than vice versa, humankind as a force of geological agency has overtaken physical geography and natural history, and the familiar distinction between man and nature no longer holds. A closer look at the scientific and semantic implications of the term, however, reveals it to be less straightforward than initially appears. Currently not officially recognized as part of the Geologic Time Scale, what should be understood or measured as the basis for the Anthropocene means different things to different disciplines. How do scholars from fields as diverse as geology, climatology, sociology, history, anthropology, and psychology, engage with the common idea of the Anthropocene? Do studies of pre-industrial greenhouse gas emissions, critiques of environmentally unsustainable trends of industrial, socioeconomic, and technological acceleration in an age of world capitalism, and theories of the end of human history at the limits of human “meaning” and modernity, ask similar research questions despite starkly contrastive methodologies? How are the discursive challenges posed by referring to singular abstractions (e.g., humans as a “species,” the sense of a “universal” history or geostory, the “Anthropocene”) represented across multiple disciplines, reflective of the conceptual difficulties which arise in accessing or preserving a nature no longer distinguishable from the human interventions that create and destroy it? How is our sense of what it means to be natural objects or human subjects, and what it means not to be, informed by how our discourses produce meaning?

Instructor: Rohan Karpe

Sections: 564

Available Times: T/TH 6:00 PM

In this WRDS 150 section we explore behaviours, norms, and behavioural change.

We have voluntarily adopted some of these behaviours, norms, and changes; some have been enforced, and still others have been influenced by those around us. These behaviours, norms, and changes appear at personal as well as at societal levels. How do various disciplinary researchers study behaviours, norms, and behavioural change. What research writing practices do they engage in to communicate their findings about behaviours, norms, and behavioural change? Using peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, writing exercises, discussions, and critical feedback on writing assignments, you will be able to construct your own text-based research proposal and research paper on a behaviour, norm that you’re keen to study. Your paper will assist keen readers to change their understanding of your chosen topic.

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