Course Listings for the Academic Year 2019-2020 

Please note: students are responsible for ensuring that their selected courses meet the program requirements stated in the Calendar. If, however, you feel that you need additional information or guidance please contact us.

Fall Courses

 CLMD 6101T: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Cultural Theory
Instructor: Pascal Gin

This course will address the theory and practice of interdisciplinary studies of culture. Attention will be paid to those themes and issues in cultural theory of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that inform contemporary interdisciplinary work in literature, film, music, art and new media. This course is continued in the second semester.

CLMD 6102F/CDNS 5003: Issues in Transnationalism – Transnationalism and Transculturation
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Instructor:  Catherine Khordoc

Transnationalism and transculturation are terms that are often used in cultural and literary studies. Are they interchangeable? How are they different? Through a variety of readings, and case studies (mostly literary, but also cinematographic), we’ll consider how these terms may be used productively to discuss and analyse contemporary cultural/literary works. We will also take into account how related concepts and movements such as World Literature, postcolonialism, creolization, and translation studies intersect with transnationalism and transculturation.  Students will be encouraged to relate these terms and concepts to their own research interests. We will be reading a selection of Canadian and Québécois works of literature. Québécois texts will be available in translation.

CLMD 6105F/CDNS 5301A: Issues in the Technologies of Culture- Technology and Empire
Instructor: Peter Hodgins

Questions of technology and empire were central to the first three decades of the Canadian Studies research agenda (1965-95). The bulk of that research circled around the centrality of communications and transportations technologies in (a) the history of the spread of settler colonialism from the St. Lawrence basin to the western and northern fringes of what came to be known as “Canada” and in (b) the process by which those same technologies have ironically also led to the purported “Americanization” of Canada. Over the last two decades, however, the rise of identity politics/the politics of recognition have shifted scholarly focus to questions of representation such that even the newer work on settler colonialism tends to ignore the technological factors in the expansion of empire. At the same time as this shift towards representation occurred in cultural and postcolonial studies, new, far more sophisticated models of technology and power inspired by the work of thinkers like Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour have emerged.  At the same time, a new generation of artists, coders and scholars have been exploring the ways in which technology can potentially undo empire.  In this course, we will read the “classic” Canadian theories of technology and empire and critically assess their ongoing relevance in light of these new theories and new technological and artistic practices.

CLMD 6106F/CDNS 5401: Issues in History and Culture- The Heritage of Heritage Concepts
Instructor: Jerzy (Jurek) Elzanowski

While heritage conservation is a highly specialized field, formalized around local, national, and transnational legal and social frameworks (enacted by governments, professional advisory groups, interest groups, and non-profits), there is little agreement across disciplines as to the meanings and implications of the two constitutive terms.  ‘Heritage’ and ‘conservation’ prove ambiguous when considered from the vantage point of different disciplines, languages, and knowledge systems.  This seminar focuses on the polysemic interpretations and uses of key concepts related to heritage—the heritage of heritage terminology—looking closely at how different concepts have been embedded in the field, and how they have changed meaning over time in response to political, ideological, and disciplinary expectations.  Through a collaborative study of the past and present lives of terms such as memory, value, authenticity, and significance, the seminar aims to (re)position normative notions in heritage and conservation, concurrently developing the tools to research and practice ethically, collaboratively, and experimentally across disciplines.

CLMD 6902F/ARTH 5112F/ANTH 5807A Multiple Modernisms: 20th Century Arts in Global Perspective 
Instructor:  Ruth Phillips

This seminar explores the global engagements with artistic modernism pursued by artists outside the West during the twentieth century. Its comparative structure is intended to reveal both common patterns that inform world modernisms and unique features that reflect local experiences and negotiations of modernity.  By adopting a global framework we will expand the times and places of modernist artistic production and problematize art historical narratives which define it as an exclusively European invention of the first half of the twentieth century.  Readings will centre on the visual arts of colonized and Indigenous societies in North America, Africa, India and the Pacific.

CLMD 6903F/MUSI 5200 Ecologies of Music and Sound in Canada
Instructor:  Ellen Waterman

This course offers a situated look at the complexities of ecologies of music and sound—Canadian artists, scenes, and institutions—in terms of the entanglement of people, processes, more-than-human entities and things. It provides an introduction to a variety of approaches to theorizing ecology, music and sound with particular attention to scholarship in acoustic ecology, acoustemology, and ecomusicology. Work by Canadian scholars and practitioners is well represented. We will examine theories of ecology, agency, and subjectivity drawn from new materialism, science and technology studies, and anthropology including intersectional and indigenous approaches. We will articulate these diverse theories with case studies in Canadian music and sound including artistic works and practices, institutions, and spaces/places.

CLMD 6900T: Research and Professional Development- “Interdisciplinary Research Methods”
Instructor: Paul Théberge

Students prepare for their second comprehensive examination and to write and defend the doctoral dissertation successfully. Practices of academic publishing, conference presentations and academic articles; grant writing, ethical conduct in research and private and public sector employment opportunities.

Winter Courses

CLMD 6101T: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Cultural Theory
Instructor: Birgit Hopfener

This course is a continuation of CLMD 6101 in the first semester.

It addresses key theories and practices who have challenged or questioned the canon or Euro-American cultural theory. Attention will be paid to those themes and issues in cultural theory of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that inform contemporary interdisciplinary work in visual art and other artistic genres. The material we address is organized thematically. Among others attention will be paid to discourses and practices of publics and publicness, critical contemporaneity, critical historiography, post-colonial theory, transnational/transcultural subjectivity, media critique, gender and queerness, “traveling concepts” and contextual comparison, the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

CLMD 6103F/ARTH 5112/CDNS 5003: Issues of Cultural Mediation and Representation- Defining Beauty: Towards Indigenous Aesthetics
Instructor: Carmen Robertson

Indigenous aesthetics emerge from deep considerations of cultural epistemologies and ontologies with regard to contemporary Indigenous arts. Abstract theoretical concepts interact with particular Indigenous communities, languages, and cultural practices. In this course we will together develop new understandings of how to consider aesthetics through Indigenous perspectives. Through a series of interdisciplinary readings, observations, and oral narratives, notions of Indigenous aesthetics in relation to contemporary and traditional art expressions will be addressed. The outcomes of research in this course will be a combination of oral and written assignments that focus on building concepts related to Indigenous aesthetics.

CLMD 6104W/ENGL 5610:  Issues in Cultural Politics: U.S. Documentary after 1945
Instructor: Franny Nudelman

In the aftermath of the Second World War, filmmakers, photographers, writers, and performers grappled with violence that was unprecedented in scale; in the decades that followed, documentarians continued to respond to the unanticipated and often incomprehensible crises of their age, and, in the process, created new forms of documentary expression. In this course, we will examine innovations in the field of documentary culture after 1945, including a commitment to activist intervention, immersive technique, and the spoken word. We will take an expansive view of the field, considering a range of documentary texts in relation to documentary practices (interviews, testimony, investigative travel) that produced them. How were the methods and aims of documentarians transformed by changing social conditions, new technologies, and alternative forms of collectivity? Throughout, we will explore the power of documentary to respond to catastrophic events and uncharted social conditions as they unfold.

CLMD 6104Y/ENGL5900Z/LAWS5903W:  Issues in Cultural Politics: Law, Modernity and its Discontents
Instructor: Philip Kaisary

This course considers theorizations and aesthetic reconfigurations of repression and individual fulfillment under modernity. Vectors of repression to be considered may include institutions, race, gender, technology, and industrial and post-industrial capitalism. Art and aesthetics, the discipline of the body, and subcultures will be considered in response as modes of subjectivization or self-actualization. Drawing on a diverse corpus of materials, including film, literature, and critical theory (Frankfurt School), our methodological approach will be comparative, contextual, and interdisciplinary.

CLMD 6105W/DIGH5902W/MUSI5008W: Issues in the Technologies of Culture: Technologies of Image, Sound and Music
Instructor: Paul Théberge

The course is initially framed by a broad understanding of technology as cultural and social practice; issues discussed include technology and its relationship to science, philosophy, objective/subjective knowledge, economy and ideology.  The course then turns to a consideration of the inter-related histories of cinema and sound, music and sound carriers, and computers.  Issues of innovation, representation, textuality, gender, and social networks are discussed in relation to music, sound, image, and digital technologies.  Urban and virtual worlds as visual and aural spaces and spaces of consumption, the construction time and space, and the technologization of the body are also considered.

CLMD 6904W/ENGL 5002W: Special Topics: “How to Do Things with Words”
Instructor: Stuart Murray

The title of this course derives from J. L. Austin’s little book, How To Do Things With Words, which will be required reading. Reading critical speech act theory since Austin (Butler, Blanchot, Derrida, Foucault), we will also address phenomenological texts on bodies and expressive speech (MacKinnon, Merleau-Ponty, Nietzsche, and others), which take up the question of how our speech acts performatively, how it does what it says, and implicates us—and our bodies—in the saying. Thematic content will draw on contemporary debates surrounding free speech and (digital) hate speech—including identity politics, race, gender performativity, pornography, and words that “wound”—from the culture wars and #MeToo to the alt-right and alt-truth. If we can never quite see as another sees—perceive what she perceives—we nevertheless bear witness to the other’s words, gestures, and rhetorical postures. What are the discursive practices of power, and how is some speech policed while other speech is sanctioned or demanded of us?

Interdisciplinary and transcultural in scope, course readings will include select literary texts (novels TBA), digital texts, high and “low” culture, and much in between. Interdisciplinarity and experimentation will be encouraged: students are welcome to develop argumentative literacy in digital or more traditional literary or creative projects, including fine art, photography, theatre, poetry, etc. The strength of this course will be in the diversity of students’ interests across genres, methods, and historical foci.

CLMD 6900T: Research and Professional Development- “Interdisciplinary Research Methods”
Instructor: Paul Théberge

Students prepare for their second comprehensive examination and to write and defend the doctoral dissertation successfully. Practices of academic publishing, conference presentations and academic articles; grant writing, ethical conduct in research and private and public sector employment opportunities.