Ph.D. in Cultural Mediations
Course Listings for the Academic Year 2022-2023 

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 2022-2023

CLMD 6101T: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Cultural Theory
Instructor: Philip Kaisary
Method of delivery:
in-person, not suitable for online students

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 6104F/FILM 5002/DIGH 5902: Issues in the Technologies of Cultural Politics: Digital Humanities, Media & Social Justice
Instructor:  Laura Horak
Method of delivery:
in-person, not suitable for online students

Please also register in CLMD 6104 (screening)

This course will introduce students to the theories and methods of intersectional feminist, Black, Indigenous, queer, and trans digital humanities (Lothian and Phillips 2013; Bailey 2015; Risam 2015; Bailey et al. 2016; Wernimont and Losh 2018). It will bring together the insights of critical race studies, Indigenous studies, feminism, queer, and transgender studies with new digital methods, and explore the ways that scholars are using new digital tools to work collaboratively for social justice. We will investigate the ways that colonialism, race, gender, sexuality, and ableism shape the digital technologies we use our everyday lives (e.g. Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.) as well as how Indigenous, Black, queer, and trans scholars and activists are using digital tools to reconnect with ancestors, reveal unseen patterns governing everyday life in the past and the present, and create new forms of community.

We will examine a range of digital humanities projects through the lens of intersectional digital humanities, examining how they work in terms of: power (e.g. What kinds of power do team and community members bring to the table? Who is not in the room? How is the project governed?); labor (e.g. Who does what kind of labor? How are they recognized? How fairly and quickly are they compensated? How sustainable are these ways of working?); value (e.g. Who benefits?); credit (e.g. Who get credit for their labor? Who is cited?); privacy (e.g. What kind of things should not get put online? What are the appropriate protocols for sharing things with various people?); and harm (e.g. Does the work leave people vulnerable to harm? Does it gravely misrepresent them?). We will also explore the challenges of capturing the complexities of identity in data structures.

CLMD 6900T: Interdisciplinary Research Methods
Instructor:  Pascal Gin
Method of delivery:
in-person, not suitable for online students

The primary goal of this year-long, workshop-based course for second-year doctoral students is to help students prepare for the second comprehensive examination and dissertation research. The class will offer students a supportive space in which to workshop their second comprehensive examination lists and their preliminary dissertation proposals. Students will work together to develop and exchange ideas about their teaching fields and dissertations with their peers and to benefit from constructive criticism. Be prepared to engage with other students’ scholarship fully and constructively as we discuss, develop and refine plans for future research.

The second major goal of the course is to foster practical skills and knowledge necessary for academic success at the doctoral level and beyond. The course will help students master various aspects of the academic profession including: writing OGS and SSHRC plans of study, becoming acquainted with library resources, academic publishing, conference paper presentations, research ethics and other professional concerns. Further topics will be introduced in response to student need. This course is continued in the second semester.

CLMD 6902F/ARTH 5115: Special Topics: Aesthetics of temporalization: Towards a Pluriversal Critical Framework of Contemporary Art and Culture
Instructor: Birgit Hopfener
Method of delivery: 
in-person, not suitable for online students

The seminar explores aesthetic strategies of temporalization in contemporary art and culture such as appropriation, collage, copying, citation, looping, montage, memes, inscribing, intermediality, intermateriality, re-enactment, re-writing, transmission, and seeks to contribute to a pluriversal critical framework to make sense of them. The pluriversal critical framework takes into account the multiple and transculturally entangled temporalities, historiographies and narratives, epistemologies, ontologies, cosmologies, and socio- and geo-political contexts that constitute the heterogeneity of our time. Institutionalized contemporary art history, theory and aesthetics continue to be dominantly rooted in the universalized, self-referential Euro-American modern-postmodern genealogy, its respective temporalities and discourses centered around critiques of “Western representationalism.” Meaning and status of contemporary art have been critically framed and explained through the aesthetic idiom of attacking modernist medium-specificity, and the related temporality of containment through processuality in the 1960s.  Obviously, the Euro-American modernist-postmodernist tradition is only one of multiple genealogies in the production of global visual culture in the 21th century.

The seminar adopts an interdisciplinary perspective and examines what various narratives (e.g. narratives of co-evalness and con-temporaneity, decolonization, change, revolution, dispossession, futurism, pessimism, the digital, the Anthropocene) and their respective linear, cyclical, relational temporal models and regimes, what philosophical concepts of time and their respective histories, and what traditional aesthetics and practices of temporalization can be adopted and (re-)activated to makes sense of aesthetic strategies of temporalization today.

We will be combining close readings of art and visual culture, analyses of aesthetic strategies, aesthetics of material, media and technique with readings of theoretical texts in the discursive fields of critical contemporaneity, global art history and theory, times studies, global culture theory, polyphonic aesthetics, comparative aesthetics, specific regional and cultural aesthetics and epistemologies, and digital image cultures. The seminar seeks to reflect on ways of how to think beyond conventionalized critical frameworks and hierarchies through situated, yet collaborative learning and knowledge production that is interested in “cognitive justice” and a pluriversal world.

CLMD 6903F/ENGL 5610: Documentary and Crisis
Instructor:  Franny Nudelman
Method of delivery:
in-person, not suitable for online students 

This course considers crisis documentary from 1945 to the present. We will study documentary filmmakers, photographers, and writers who respond to the unanticipated and often incomprehensible crises of their age and, in the process, create new forms of documentary expression. Taking an expansive view of the field, we will consider documentary texts that deal with war, forced migration, climate emergency, poverty, gendered violence. We will ask: How do documentarians represent what they cannot yet fully understand? What role does literary and visual culture play in making disruptive change real? How have documentarians helped to define an ethics of witnessing? How are the methods and aims of documentarians transformed by 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 6904F/ENGL 5002F: The Alt-Left Politics of Pleasure: Identity, Consent and Cancel Culture
Instructor:  Stuart Murray
Method of delivery:
in-person, not suitable for online students 

This course explores the perils and possibilities of “pleasure” in a social climate where bodies and pleasures are increasingly sites of suspicion and subject to new normative constraints, regulatory measures, and moral approbation. Our study of pleasure will comprise a sustained critique of identity politics—both alt-right and alt-left—as well as the ways that liberal political commitments to “free expression” have become so highly contested across our contemporary culture wars. Through a reading of key theoretical, literary, and cultural texts, it seeks to better theorize the stakes of identity and informed consent at a time when neoliberalism and hyperindividualism have proven to be morally bankrupt as paradigms of ethical responsibility and free speech/acts.

Specifically, this course hopes to reflect critically on (1) informed sexual consent on campus and in the workplace, (2) the effects of social media and meme culture on identity, (3) cancel culture, and (4) the liberal political investment in “free speech” on campus and in the press. While there has been no shortage of liberal outrage and moral indignation from the Left (it is sometimes ostentatiously “woke”), these made-for-social-media sentiments of fleeting solidarity often conceal the many ways that the Left remains complicit in wider structural inequalities, including racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. If liberal individualism continues to be our basis for understanding pleasure, what might this mean for political action beyond our scripted expressions of outrage or injury? Might we begin to reconceive a politics of pleasure that does not abandon responsibility or consent, but that re-thinks them, first and foremost, as necessarily social and collective endeavours?

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Winter Courses 2022-2023

CLMD 6101T: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Cultural Theory
Instructor: Paul Keen
Method of delivery: 
in-person, not suitable for online students

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

CLMD 6102W/ENGL 5004/MGDS 5902: Issues in Transnationalism: Memory and Migration
Instructor: Sarah Casteel
Method of delivery: 
in-person, not suitable for online students

This class explores the relationship between memory, migration, and aesthetic representation. We will consider the role of particular literary and artistic genres in producing, preserving, shaping, and circulating transnational and diasporic memories. How do writers and artists recover memories that have been disrupted or lost as a result of forced or voluntary migration? How do they negotiate between personal or familial memory and official, state memory? Among the genres we will address are memoir, graphic memoir, historical fiction, photographic portraiture, and landscape art.

CLMD 6105W/MUSI 5008/ DIGH 5902: Issues in the Technologies of Culture: 
Instructor: Paul Théberge
Method of delivery:
 in-person, not suitable for online students

This course concerns itself with the role that the technologies of print, visual and auditory cultures play in changing models of literacy, visuality and aurality.  This year, emphasis will be placed on technologies of music and sound and on digital technologies. The course will be informed by an understanding of technology as a cultural and social practice and will raise questions about the objective and subjective foundations of knowledge.  Examples to be discussed include technology, economy and ideology; the urban and virtual worlds as visual and aural spaces and spaces of consumption; musical instruments as technology; the construction of time and space; the technologization of the body; the inter-related histories of cinema and sound, music and sound carriers, literature, and computers; the scopic and auditory regimes instituted by photography, changing sound carriers, and digital applications and networks.

More specifically, the course survey’s various approaches to the study of technology from the social sciences, anthropology  and cultural studies; issues of class, race and sexuality are also discussed.  For next year, I plan to put more emphasis on notions of the anthropocene, the role of technology in climate change, and hope to make more direct use of readings from Chinese and African scholars.

CLMD 6106W/ ARTH 5112W: Issues in History and Culture:  Transversal Modernism/s
Instructor: Ming Tiampo
Method of delivery:
on-line

Cultural historians have made enormous strides generating a substantial body of scholarly and curatorial work that recovers multiple modernisms around the world, creating an accumulation of previously invisible narratives that can now be used to account for the geographic complexities of the 20th century.

However, in order to truly rethink the Eurocentrism of 20th century, studies in literature, film, art history and music cannot remain additive, but must also interrogate Modernism’s putative centres, demonstrating their fundamentally transcultural and multivalent characters. These centres, such as London and Paris, the products of imperialism and colonialism, were sites of domination, but they also functioned as contact zones, enabling carefully negotiated cultural borrowings, interventions, responses, solidarities, rejections and debates.

Transversal modernism/s proposes a framework for understanding global modernisms as pluriversal, characterized by multiple epistemologies and temporalities that are linked through the former French and British empires in the cities of Paris and London. This comparative seminar will consider different theoretical models for analyzing global modernisms, including worlding, digital humanities, circulation studies, diaspora studies, postcolonial and decolonial perspectives..

CLMD 6900: Research and Professional Development: Interdisciplinary Research Methods
Instructor: Pascal Gin
Method of delivery:
 in-person, not suitable for online students

This course is a continuation of CLMD 6900 in the first semester.

The primary goal of this year-long, workshop-based course for second-year doctoral students is to help students prepare for the second comprehensive examination and dissertation research. The class will offer students a supportive space in which to workshop their second comprehensive examination lists and their preliminary dissertation proposals. Students will work together to develop and exchange ideas about their teaching fields and dissertations with their peers and to benefit from constructive criticism. Be prepared to engage with other students’ scholarship fully and constructively as we discuss, develop and refine plans for future research.

The second major goal of the course is to foster practical skills and knowledge necessary for academic success at the doctoral level and beyond. The course will help students master various aspects of the academic profession including: writing OGS and SSHRC plans of study, becoming acquainted with library resources, academic publishing, conference paper presentations, research ethics and other professional concerns. Further topics will be introduced in response to student need.

CLMD 6903W/ENGL 5900 Special Topics: Co-writing the Climate Crisis
Instructor: Barbara Leckie
Method of delivery:
 in-person, not suitable for online students

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the climate crisis through the lens of co-writing. The idea of co-writing will be treated capaciously: writing through and with other voices, conversations, people, places, and things. It will envision writing as a kind of craft or making in which we think out loud together. With respect to the climate crisis, humans write on and with land and climate; this course will, accordingly, ask if co-writing can broaden our sense of what writing means.The course will approach questions of co-writing via three interconnected categories: conversation; correspondence; and cohabitation. While each of these terms have a bearing on the larger questions of climate and the planetary that the course will address, they will also be approached, more narrowly, in relation to talking, writing, and teaching, respectively. Our discussions will be underpinned by the ways in which ideas of the co-, in general, help us to rethink the individual, the nation, and the land. Overall, we will read the work of Judith Butler, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Achille Mbembe, Anna Tsing, and Sylvia Wynter, among others, to consider more closely how disciplines in the humanities can contribute to climate action.