List of Courses

This list displays all active courses at Quest, i.e., courses to be offered in the next 2-3 years. To view a more precise schedule, students can reference Self-Serve for the current term, or the course slates found on the Student Portal for future terms. Students should speak with their Academic Advisor/Faculty Mentor to plan their course selection and academic progress.

Courses are listed by number and can be searched by level and by division (Arts & HUManities; INterDiscplinary; LANguages; LIFe Sciences; MAThematics; PHYsical Sciences; SOCial Sciences).


In this course, we shall investigate three central philosophical questions: What is truth? What is beauty? What is goodness? Perhaps surprisingly, there are clear and concise (if complex) answers to each of these questions. We shall approach these questions by studying two of the greatest philosophical works ever written: Plato’s Republic, and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Since this is a Texts course, we will focus on the close reading, articulation, and evaluation of logical arguments.

From werewolves and unicorns to falcons and hounds, this course investigates the symbolic use of animals in medieval texts and images. In the European Middle Ages, the natural world was seen as a great book that could be “read” in order to reveal hidden lessons about morality and behaviour. In other words, medieval people studied animals in order to learn about themselves. The ways that writers interpreted and used these symbols, however, varied tremendously based on the social/historical context and the genre of the text in question. Throughout the block we will study the use of animal symbols in several different literary and sub-literary genres including bestiaries and encyclopedias, hunting treatises written by medieval Kings and Dukes, a romance written by one of the earliest female writers in the European tradition, and historic cookbooks. You’ll also develop the skills you need to begin reading Middle English from manuscript sources and decipher a simple medieval text in its original form.

This course will take as its center Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterwork, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). While we will consider the historical context of the both novel’s production and the events behind the narration, the focus of the course will be on a close reading of the novel, so that we may appreciate its style, narrative techniques, and resources (myth; magical realism). The saga of the Buendia family offers the read not only a glimpse at the cyclical nature of (Latin American) history, but also at one of the richest narrative worlds of the twentieth century.

As the most famous author in the world, William Shakespeare symbolizes creative ingenuity and invention. Yet his (currently) most famous play is a flagrant rip-off: not only was Shakespeare not the first person to tell the tale of a prince who feigns madness, he was not even the first to stage it. As far as we know, the story of Hamlet (aka Amleth) was first told among by the people now referred to as the Vikings; and it is continually reborn today in new plays, films, and other media. So if the most famous example of creative achievement in history is effectively plagiarized, what does this tell us about our concepts of creativity and creative practice? If we aspire to be as creative as Shakespeare, does that mean we should copy him? But. isn’t “copying” the antithesis of creation? And if Shakespeare did indeed plagiarize his most revered play, why wasn’t he shamed out of London and forced into retirement a la Shia LeBoeuf? And how did Hamlet come to symbolize creative genius?

This course uses Hamlet as a focal point for investigating the concept and practices of “creativity,” and in particular what creativity was, and is, in drama and theatre. Instead of asking what Hamlet means, we’ll ask how Hamlet means. By engaging with both Hamlet’s textual ancestors and descendants, we will investigate what makes the story so durable, what makes each version interesting, and most importantly, what creative process actually consists of, other than the ability to spontaneously produce masterpieces. To test these new creative skills, we will produce Hamlets of our own.

General Humanities-Text awarded as a transfer credit

What is film? What is Chinese film? What is the relationship between national film and transnational cultural flows in Chinese and global contexts? This humanities foundation course center around these 3 questions to guide students through the interdisciplinary field of film studies, film theory and film scholarship.

You will learn to become a film scholar in this class by examining the texture of films (form, style, narrative, and genre); tracing important political and aesthetic movements in 20th century Chinese history and Chinese film history; discussing most influential critical writings and philosophies about film; and engaging in depth with critical discourses of nationalism and transnationalism about Chinese film.

Antirequisite: Dimensions of Music

The main question for this course is: ‘What is the phenomenon of music, and what can examining it tell us about music, ourselves, and society?’ In this course, students engage contested ideas of what music and musical experience is through examining and participating in different approaches to the scholarship of musical experience. Issues examined include: the roles of historical ideas such as genius in our experience of music today, the role of culture in musical experience, linkages between music and the emotions, biological investigations of musical experience, musical performance, the relationship of musical analysis and experience, how music in commodity form affects experience, and the phenomenology of music.

Prerequisite: Algebra Q-skill

There was no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a course about it. This claim, borrowed from the opening of Steven Shapin’s The Scientific Revolution, highlights a central tension in the history of science. Historians of science often reject the view that there was an abrupt shift in the practice of science, or even that anything like a unified science existed to be revolutionized in the first place. On the other hand, the modern sciences seem distinctive enough as to require their own history, and the period from about 1500-1700 is still seen as crucial to that history. In this course, we explore the question of whether or not there was a Scientific Revolution, and, if so, what it was by using historical methodologies. Students trace the origins of foundational theories, analyze the rhetoric of scientific debates, and even recreate crucial experiments in order to understand better contemporary debates about the Scientific Revolution.

About morality, Socrates said: “We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live.” In this course we will examine historical and current readings centered around three major debates in ethics: consequentialist vs deontological approaches to deciding whether an action is right or wrong (do you decide by examining the consequences of your action or by relying on a set of moral principles?); the meta-ethical debate on whether moral value is relative (are morals “just” a product of culture, or is there some way that morals might be universal and/or objective?); and the question of how to best set up a just society (are morals on the societal level best understood in terms of rights or in terms of fair distribution of resources?) Students will have the chance to think about larger philosophical questions, but also to think about current ethical issues. We will tie the moral theories we read to current-day events, for example, ethical issues arising in the context of politics, medicine, education, civic responsibility, the environment, war, and technology. Throughout, we will work to sharpen reasoning and argumentation skills and more generally to develop an understanding of what it means to inquire philosophically.

A preeminent scholar in Cultural Studies, Stuart Hall, stated that the field lies at “the dirty crossroads where popular culture intersects with the high arts, that place where power cuts across knowledge, of where cultural processes anticipate social change” (2006). An interdisciplinary field from its founding, Cultural Studies examines forces that shape peoples’ lived realities. This course will trace several works in Cultural Studies that span continents and times, in order to consider the field’s methodologies and theoretical frames. We will read several monographs and make ourselves familiar with grounding theories that span studies of jazz music to contemporary practices of incarceration. Authors that we will examine include Raymond Williams, Paul Gilroy, Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Lisa Cacho, and Glen Coultard.

This course introduces students to the perspectives and methods of performance studies and performance-based research. Many people conceive of performance narrowly, as when actors pretend to be someone they are not within a clearly signalled fictional framework like a play or a film. But how do we know they’re “pretending”? What makes this distinction clear to us? Aren’t we often “pretending” in real life? Performance studies uses performance as a lens to view the world and understand human behaviour. It encompasses all kinds of performance, including those prevalent in daily and professional life, athletics, sacred and profane rituals, and political events. This course introduces students to performance as a way of understanding and knowing human behaviour.

General Humanities-Scholarship awarded as a transfer credit

Antirequisite: Fate and Virtue

In this course, we will study a work of the first and greatest poet (Homer), two of the greatest philosophers ever to put pen to paper (Plato and Aristotle), and other texts from the ancient world. We will examine the question “How should we live our lives?” with a particular focus on the themes of fate and virtue. And we will discover why every generation before ours has struggled with these authors, and develop our own relationship to their ideas.

“Passing” typically refers to a social strategy through which members of a subculture or a minority assume the guise, habits, or traits of members of a dominant social group. In this course, we will consider literary and non-literary examples of sexual, ethnic, and class-related passing. After studying several famous examples of passing in the early modern period (e.g., transvestitism in Shakespearian drama; the case of the “Lieutenant Nun”), we will consider more modern manifestations of the phenomenon, not only in documentary works (Paris Is Burning; Black Like Me), but also in fiction and theater (Passing; The Great Gatsby; Six Degrees of Separation). “Passing” is not, however, a course about strategies for getting ahead; it’s about the (in)stability of our identity categories. Part of the course will involve reflection on what it means to pass for who you are.

In this course we look at the “F-word”-Feminism. What is the meaning and practice of feminism? What has feminism produced and do we still need feminism or are we in a post-feminist era? Drawing on the interdisciplinary approaches in Cultural Studies, this course will examine feminism as theory and practice. We begin the course by looking at the debates that framed feminism as a social movement from the early 20th century. We continue the ways in which feminist movement critically intervenes in analyses of institutions, policy and every-day culture. We will conclude the course with considerations of contemporary debates concerning feminism’s relevance through recent transnational feminist theory and practice. This course will introduce students to analyses of identity (gender, race, class, sexuality, ability and nation) that are situated in cultural theory and offer practice in employing theoretical approaches to examining our identities, lives and the ways in which we shape our community and world.

How can historians recover the mental worlds of those who neither read nor wrote? Is it possible to give voice to those who are truly oppressed? What outlets for expression or resistance do the oppressed have available to them? What social and cultural hierarchies exist within such groups? This project-based course addresses these questions from a historical perspective through the examination of peasants in two very different times and places: medieval England and nineteenth- and twentieth-century India. We begin the course by exploring the methodological challenges of recovering peasant cultures and the techniques historians have developed in order to meet them. We continue with attempts to reconstruct the practices and beliefs of medieval English peasants using fragmentary, mediated evidence. The course concludes with an investigation of the culture of modern, Indian peasants and their encounters with the globalizing, homogenizing forces of colonialism and capitalism.

Are artists creative geniuses? Craftspeople? Inventors? Outsiders? To what extent is art about self-expression? In this class we will investigate the shifting nature of artistic personas from the middle ages to today by analyzing artists’ portraits, biographies, patronage contracts, and instructional manuals. This course will include a number of practical projects that will help you to experience how art-making practices can shape identity. These will include: copying and using model books, fresco painting, the creation of perspective machines, using found objects, and automatism. No artistic skill required.

This course focuses on cultural practices surrounding the creation, consumption, and regulation of representations of violence, crime, and horror. We will ask, why do people seek-and also seek to suppress-theatrical and cinematic representations of horrible acts? If such practices are harmful, why do we enjoy them? Where do different culturally and historically situated communities draw the line distinguishing what is inappropriate for public performance? And, what are the most effective tactics for staging horrific acts and events-and what “effects” are thus achieved?

This course focuses on the cultural practice of theatre-and more specifically, the practices of interpreting dramatic literature and live performance, and their relationship to each other. For example, is a live performance a representation of a written script-or vice versa? Methods of interpreting and engaging with other kinds of literature may not prove helpful when confronting drama, and our naturalized habits of viewing performance from may lead to misinterpretation or confusion when we try to watch something from another time or place. This course equips students with a set of tools, skills, and vocabulary to analyze plays and performances. We will study plays and performances from different eras and areas, emphasizing different ways of interpreting drama and theatre. We will use each different play to explore different ways of reading, analyzing, and critiquing plays, always resisting the idea that there is a “right” way to analyze a play or a “correct” interpretation of a work of art, and challenging the impulse behind the question, “What does it mean?”

General Humanities-Culture awarded as a transfer credit

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Humanities course or tutor permission.

This course examines the lazy, the exhausted, the enervated, as well as those who, like Melville’s scrivener Bartleby, “prefer not to.” Working under the assumption that laziness is a particularly modern phenomenon, we begin our study with works like Keats’ “Ode to Indolence,” as well as descriptions of the indolence of the Spanish (Larra’s “Come Back Tomorrow”). We then move on to do-nothing clerks and government officials (such as Bartleby, or the nameless protagonist of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground), before considering the idle heroes of Huysman or Goncharov (Against Nature; Oblomov), as well as James’s scared bachelor (“The Beast in the Jungle”). After a detour through Walter Mitty’s brain and a visit to Vladimir and Estragon (Waiting for Godot), we look at some contemporary representatives of the do-nothing, by the likes of Ben Lerner, Adam Wilson, and Upamanyu Chatterjee. Unlike the protagonists of the texts we will be reading, students in this seminar do a considerable amount of work.

English-language poetry is one of the glories of our common heritage. In this course students learn about the essential building blocks of poetic language–such as the types of metaphor, the uses of imagery, English accentuation and meter, and stanza form. We read, recite, memorize, and compose poems in order to comprehend and interpret them. Each student picks one poet of his/her choice to concentrate on for a class presentation and paper. Although this class assumes no prior knowledge, it moves quickly with the objective of giving students the tools to become self-assured readers.

Hailed as one of the most important contemporary novelists and the first Nobel laureate as an African American Women, Toni Morrison writes with elegance, persuasion, compassion, and love that grip our heart. The themes and visions in her work are epic, yet her sentences and words are gritty and fragile. To encounter her storytelling is to ultimately embrace the listener’s own identity in the human world.

This Humanities concentration course centers on close-reading of Morrison’s major novels such as The Bluese Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Jazz, Beloved and etc, and explores 3 important theoretical questions: What is women’s writing? Why do we care about race? How does storytelling relate to narratology?

There will be research projects of literary and cultural criticism as well as creative projects to reflect on our own relationship to gender, race, and storytelling. This course especially welcomes avid readers and thinkers who cherish words in beautiful yet difficult novels that enchant us in challenging ways.

What makes a woman “beautiful”? How are beauty ideals defined and circulated within a culture? How do artistic and literary evocations of beautiful women project and shape broader cultural values about gender? This course uses the cultural environment of Renaissance Italy, particularly within the city of Florence, as a vehicle for exploring big questions about the aesthetics of femininity and the cultivation of feminine virtues. Our primary focus will be the study of representations of women by great artists like Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, which we will discuss in relation to several important literary trends of the Renaissance including etiquette and conduct guides, neo-Petrarchan poetry, neo-Platonic texts, and erotic literature. Topics will include theories of the gaze, the symbolic functions of fashion, cosmetics, and feminine adornment, rituals of marriage and motherhood, and the classicizing nude.

What is the loaded meaning of the word “queer”? How and why does queer theory emerge as an

importantly interdisciplinary critical lens in the fields of Gender and Sexuality studies in connection

to Literary Studies, Film studies, Race and Ethnicity studies, and etc.? How and why do we account for LGBTQ+ lives in academic terms, cultural representations, and social and political engagement? With these questions in mind, this seminar-style concentration course intends to engage with recent trends in feminist and queer studies in order to 1) map out the critical terrain of queer theory, 2) to explore cultural/political/artistic representations of queerness, and 3) to imagine queer possibilities through creative expressions. This journey of intellectual, critical, and imaginative intervention compels us to “queer” theory itself through questioning and querying.

We will ground our discussions through reading feminist and queer theorists, such as Eve Kosofsky

Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, Jose Esteban Munoz, Gayatri Gopinath, David Eng,

Roderick Ferguson, Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith and etc. and touch upon themes and notions of

gender, sexuality, Trans critique, queer of color, queer migration and diaspora, queer art and

performance, queer family, queerness and neoliberalism, nationalism and state power, legality,

transnationality, queer body, intersectionality, homonormativity, and queer activism and resistance.

This constellation of themes and notions is also fleshed out through reading, viewing, and critiquing

literary, visual, and cultural productions of LGBTQ+ representations.

This course is guided by student centered learning and research. Beyond assigned readings and

viewings, there are individual research project, group presentations, and individual creative project to

help us read, think, reflect, experience, write, and create actively. Students need to zoom in clear

reasons and goals of what they want to accomplish pertaining to the specificity of this topic before

the course and be ready to invest in the ownership of this course as an active learner as we traverse

together through theory, cultural politics, and creative imagination.

What is history? What do historians do? In this course, we critically examine history itself: what it is and why historians do it. We seek to understand the assumptions historians make about the limits of our knowledge of the past. Topics include analyzing the questions historians ask, investigating the sources they use, and examining the ways in which historians borrow from, and contribute to, other disciplines. Students also consider a broad range of historical schools, beginning with Herodotus and working through Rankean empiricism, Marxism, the Annalistes, microhistory, cultural history, and others.

Prerequisite: Foundation Humanities Texts course or Culture course

In popular culture, medieval Europe is understood in two almost diametrically opposed ways. On the one hand, it is imagined as a time in which courtly knights risked their lives on behalf of noble ladies; on the other hand, “medieval” is used a shorthand for cruelty, brutality, and the abuse of the weak by the strong. Both views are simplistic, but both are also rooted in aspects of genuine medieval life. In this course, we consider both the chivalric society imagined by courtly literature and the feudal society desired by medieval lords, along with the relationship between the two. We investigate topics such as the relationship between fictional portrayals of knighthood and the self-images of genuine knights, clerical and monastic attempts to use ideology to curb feudal violence, and the influence of such elite discourses on the peasantry . We read both medieval texts such as Chretien de Troyes’ Cliges and Geoffroi de Charny’s Book of Chivalry and modern scholarship such as Stephen Jaeger’s “Courtliness and Social Change.”

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Scholarship course.

By the end of the fifteenth century, the world was, for the first time, joined in global networks that encompassed Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. As these networks grew and strengthened, natural knowledge, which had often been embedded in local contexts, increasingly circulated globally. Ancient traditions confronted new discoveries, and cultures worked to assimilate foreign knowledge and make it useful and comprehensible. At the same time, states used these networks in attempts to dominate people and space, and natural knowledge could be a powerful tool for imperial projects. In this course, we investigate the global circulation of natural knowledge in the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries from the perspective of the history of science, working to understand the rise of modern science in a global context through research into case studies that engage with contemporary historical conversations.

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Culture course.

The origins of modern democracy and global capitalism are deeply tied to the institution of slavery. Slave-produced sugar and cotton provided crucial raw material for the mills of early industrial economies, and it was quite possible to champion universal freedoms while profiting from the labor of slaves, or owning slaves oneself. This course examines the connections among slavery, democracy, capitalism in the Atlantic world from the early seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth century. Students will engage in a series of projects that take expanding perspectives on the slave system. We begin with the experiences of slaves themselves and the structure of slaveholding societies. We continue by examining the relationship between slavery and the emergence of democracy through the lens of developing notions of rights and citizenship. Finally, we conclude by investigating the importance of slavery to the emerging system of global capitalism.

Ethnography of Squamish will consider dilemmas, practices and implications of ethnographies of the unceded Coast Salish territories both historically and in the contemporary moment. Reading several works by scholars that have shaped-negatively and less so-the perceptions and experiences of the people and their land, we will contemplate the roles of ethnography and the academic in struggles and studies. As such, the goal of the course is to provide space for students to be cognizant of the their inheritance from past academic work, reflect on the impacts of academic research and to shape ethical practices in contemporary research.

This course, taught in France, explores the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of modern France from 1870 (the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War) to the end of the twentieth century. What better way to understand the bohemian life of the Belle Epoque than to walk up to the top of the Butte Montmartre? What better way to understand the impact of urban transit than to experience the Paris Metropolitain in all its crowded glory? What better way to understand the crisis of the Great War than to journey to the fortress city and ossuary of Verdun? What better way to understand the centrality of art and culture to the French than to take in the museums of Paris? Participants in this course will learn about-and experience-the history and culture of modern France.

Prerequisite: Enrolment at Quest in 3rd year or later, or completion of the Humanities Foundation (Texts, Scholarship, Culture), or permission of the instructor.

Ancient philosophy is framed by three principal questions: how do we know (analytics); what is there (metaphysics); and how should we act (ethics). In this course, we shall look at one or more selections from thinkers such as Plato (427-347 BCE) and Aristotle (384-322 BCE). These thinkers decisively influenced philosophical thought, and gave us arguments and answers that have stood the test of time; they shaped the fundamental categories and conceptual language that we use to understand the world around us. Possible topics include the nature of the soul and its relation to the body, the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, causal explanation in natural science, and what it means to live a good life.

Prerequisite: Any Mathematics course.

This is not a typical class in formal logic or informal argumentation. It is more like a cross between Spherical Trigonometry (high-powered mathematics) and Phenomenology (high-powered philosophy). The paper we are going to study is one of the most important and influential that has ever been written: `On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem,’ by Alan Turing (1936).

This 36-page paper proves something very interesting and important. We usually think we have made progress in solving mathematical or logical problems when we come up with a method (or algorithm). When you were young, you learnt a method to subtract one number from another. Later, you learnt a method to solve for the unknown in a quadratic equation. But what Turing shows is that there is a large class of mathematical and logical problems that cannot be solved algorithmically. By this, we mean not merely that we do not know what the method is, but that no method will ever be found!

This result has profoundly changed our understanding of logic, mathematics, and computation. It means there is no universal method for classifying a theorem of first-order logic as being either true or false (though there is always an answer). It also means that a computer cannot write down the vast majority of numbers, even given infinite resources and infinite time.

Prerequisite: Enrolment at Quest in 3rd year or later, or completion of the Humanities Foundation (Texts, Scholarship, Culture), or permission of the instructor.

Modern Philosophy is not a common set of views or interests, but an approach to philosophical questions characterised by the development of powerful logical techniques to achieve definite answers. It emphasises precision and thoroughness about narrow topics as opposed to vague discussions about broad topics, and in the last century has become the dominant force within Western philosophy. In this course, we will explore select problems in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, or philosophy of science, in the analytic tradition.

Through fields of study including phenomenology (the study of experience) and philosophy of education, this course examines relationships between experience, education and place. The course begins by examining the nature of experience through phenomenology, asking questions including: What is experience? How do we make sense of the world around us? How do our past experiences affect our perceptions and decisions? These insights are then explored in the context of the philosophy of education and curriculum design, asking questions including: How do we learn? What is the purpose of education? Underlying these explorations are different senses of the word ‘place,’ including the affect of place on experience, the place of education, and the influence of place on learning.

Prerequisite: Enrolment at Quest in 3rd year or later, or completion of the Humanities Foundation (Texts, Scholarship, Culture), or permission of the instructor.

About ethics, Socrates said: “We are discussing no ordinary matter, but how we ought to live.” Ethics is a branch of philosophy concerned with how one ought to live and related questions: what is the nature of the good life; what values should one hold; how should one act; what is the role of virtue and vice; what is happiness? In this course, you will read a selection of modern texts that will encourage you think analytically about these and other ethical issues.

The purpose of this field class in Art History is to teach students how to respond intelligently to a work of visual art or architecture, and ultimately how to make a cogent interpretation of it. The course takes place in two parts. We first meet for 9 days on campus in an intensive study of theory, and in preparation of particular works that we will then go see in situ. After a travel break, we reconvene in Paris for the last two weeks. The rationale for a field excursion is simple: by walking out the door, we have access on foot to a gothic cathedral in five minutes, and the newest Frank Gehry building in a 20-minute metro trip. The Louvre-the world’s largest art museum-is likewise only a 15 minute walk away. By preparing the background ahead of time on campus, we will arrive in Paris knowing what works we want to see, and what we are looking for.

In this class, we explore the fundamentals of live performance and the director’s creative approach to the play and its staging. This demanding class involves a lot of physical practice, script study, and hands-on rehearsal to ensure group bonding and personal expression. The ultimate goal is to produce a one-act play festival and thus understand the whole process of theatre production. This course is all about hard work, expression, creativity, risks, as well as care, respect and love. Theatrical production provides opportunities to explore countless questions, such as, what does it mean to collaborate on a complex project? What IS “collaboration”? What factors are involved in the organization and division of labour in a complex aesthetic production? What creative and technical processes are involved in the live performance of written texts? What kinds of learning are enabled by staging a live performance? Of what does creative agency consist, and how is it developed and expressed through a collaborative process? In addition, each play we select and produce will pose its own Big Questions.

Note: there is an additional fee of $100CDN

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Humanities course.

Plays explore all kinds of questions-from mathematics to family heritage, from gender to the environment. In this course, you will write one or more scripts (for example, a one act play, film, or series of short plays), with the option of having them directly engage your question. You will polish a 10-minute segment to be performed for the Quest Community in a staged reading. We explore play form, structure, dialogue, character, re-writing, scenes and monologues. Scriptwriting engages with many big questions, including, what is creativity-and how can it be learned? Of what does dramatic literature consist-what are its fundamental elements? How do dramatic texts represent reality? How do they seek to intervene in it?

Plays can be live, virtual, international, and/or local. They can be performed in a theatre, a forest, a living room, or on a mountain. In support of your writing process, we will read/screen a small selection of plays exploring diverse aesthetics, central questions and audience relationships, including Waiting for Godot, Oedipus Tyrannus, Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Harlem Duet.

A practical investigation into devised performance: creating theatre by collaboration rather than performing a script. Students will learn and practice skills in collaborative creative process, including improvisation, building ensemble, creating a physical vocabulary, and transforming written narrative into drama. This course will focus on developing a script based on Nikolai Gogol’s The Nose for live performance. The performance will reflect and incorporate both personal and cultural resources in a work of live art that responds to Gogol, or uses Gogol to speak to a contemporary audience.

Note: There is a $50 field trip fee to observe professional-quality performance creation in Vancouver or for a guest workshop on creative technique.

There is a $50 materials fee for props, costumes, technical equipment, etc.

Comic performance exists throughout humanity, yet in spite of its broad appeal and high level of technical, philosophical, and ethical complexity, it has mostly been overlooked and ignored by “official” culture. Historically, when intellectuals have considered creative arts at all, they have privileged writing over performance, and tragedy over comedy. Comedies and comic performers rarely win the most coveted awards in their disciplines, and historically, comedians often literally were, or symbolically represented, social outcasts. While times have changed, it’s still probably safe to say that few parents hope their children will go to university to become comedians. Yet here we are.

This course challenges the notion that comedy is trivial. Students will explore comic performance in theory and practice, investigating a range of historical and contemporary forms and techniques and learning to practice comic performance as a means of pursuing rational inquiry, articulating critical insights, and developing confidence, self-efficacy, and resilience.

Prerequisite: Any foundation Humanities course.

A practical investigation into the art of adapting stories for live performance. Students will learn and practice creative skills for transforming literary and narrative sources into theatrical forms. This course focuses on skills for collaborative creative process, including improvisation, building ensemble, creating a physical vocabulary, and transforming written narrative into drama. This course will emphasize process and skill-building, although there will be opportunities for showing work to invited audiences. The primary resource and target of creative inquiry will be the works of the 19th century Russian author Nikolai Gogol.


There is a $50 field trip fee to observe professional-quality performance creation in Vancouver or for a guest workshop on creative technique.

There is a $50 materials fee for props, costumes, etc.

Pandemics make for great stories. The Black Plague produced Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, the possibly world’s first quarantine bubble literature. When a plague outbreak in the early 17th century closed the theatres in London, a bored Shakespeare set to work on the play that would become King Lear. And who can forget Love in the Time of Cholera?

The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Whether you’re a performing artist who has been forced to put your profession and livelihood on indefinite hiatus, or a bored amateur with historically unprecedented access to both emerging media and an equally bored audience, this unique situation has provided both opportunities and motives to explore new forms of storytelling and performance. Thanks to digital media, connections between storytellers and their audiences are not limited by time and space, and the means of production and dissemination are increasingly within the grasp of ordinary people.

The digital revolution creates space to explore other paradigm shifts, too, and in this course we will challenge the long-standing assumption that the storyteller is to the audience as the producer is to the consumer. Using the digital platform Twine, we will test a different, interactive model, in which the storyteller and their audience collaborate together. While no two readers of the same book will experience it in precisely the same way, they will experience the same plot – but digital, interactive storytelling opens up the possibility for each “reading” to produce a substantially different, and unique story.

This is not exactly a new problem – game designers have confronted it for years, and streaming services like Netflix have also experimented with introducing elements of the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” approach to televise shows. However, new media and open source apps have developed to the point that you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to struggle with the problems implied by inviting the reader to become a co-author.

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Humanities course.

This course explores the role of song in societies past and present, the techniques and creative process of songwriting, and the process of recording in a digital studio. The practice of songwriting – setting text to music – spans human history and cultures. This course examines song throughout history from plainchant to 19th century art song to Bob Dylan to Jay Z from historical, textual, and analytical perspectives in order to learn about the creative process and develop compositional approaches to songwriting. Through working in the digital studio, students extend the compositional process from the composition of a melody and chordal accompaniment to the creation of completed recordings. Rudimentary background in music theory highly recommended.

In this course, students develop musical improvisational abilities through the application of music theory to specific musical genres. The primary musical genre explored in this course is jazz, but there will be opportunities to examine and undertake improvisation in genres ranging from the baroque era to jam bands. In addition to applied improvisation, students examine larger questions about improvisation, including: what is improvisation? Is improvisation different from compositions? How does improvisation relate to other social practices? It is highly recommended that students have some background in music theory rudiments and some ability to play an instrument.

Prerequisites: a Culture and a Scholarship Foundation course.

The 20th century witnessed events from world wars and revolutions to technological developments, to the questioning of human nature, to the development of a global economy. The big question asked in this course is: How do the arts participate in social, cultural, ethical, and political changes? More specifically, we’ll be looking at the role of music in the major changes of the twentieth century. Even more specifically, we’ll examine popular and concert music in the West through several lenses, including musicological and historical inquiry, close listening, composition, and musical analysis. Musical genres under examination range from jazz, popular music, experimental music, and music for the concert hall.

This travel field* course focuses on the music and culture of the Mississippi River Delta, through an in-depth examination of both the rural Delta and the metropolitan areas of Memphis and New Orleans. We will read, write, and listen to the musical histories of this region, and then put our newfound knowledge into practice by visiting important historical sites in these three locations, listening to the contemporary music culture, and observing and experiencing a bit of what everyday life means in the modern-day Delta through sights, sounds, and tastes.

Note: This course has an application process for registration. Contact Jeff Warren for details.

*This course has additional fees: Amount TBD

This course analyzes the relation between politics and performance to uncover the ways arts-practices respond, embed and evoke issues of power and bring attention to varied notions of justice. We will challenge ourselves to move, make, talk and write, and as we do, we will explore some central concerns in feminist movement, examining theories and practices of feminist art making over the last century in multiple disciplines and methods, including dance, photography, sculpture, film/video, performance, and other media. We will explore experimental and interventionist productions, including institutional critique, through which feminist arts practices comment and challenge art world structures of education, circulation, and collection, and in the world at large. Through rigour and commitment to play and practice, we will bring our imagined and creative works into material and embodied reality and consider new ways of knowing. Be prepared to read, write and move in this class.

This course is an examination of violence and trauma, and their relation to, incorporation in, and treatment within modes of academic study, performance and visual arts. We will read prolific and contemporary texts that address treatments of violence, trauma, and memory. Simultaneously, we will also consider the relationship between trauma and modernity. Themes of discipline, subjectivity, migration, and exile will be considered as we engage with artists and scholars who consider the complexity of understanding and conveying the trauma of violence.

This course will focus on the study of dance practices in and across cultures, including cross-cultural studies of dance; multicultural approaches to dance history; ethnological, ethnographic and cultural studies approaches to dance analysis; and analysis of the different roles and functions dance plays in cultural systems. This analysis will guide our examinations of dance; aid in honing our skills for viewing, understanding, verbalizing and writing about performance; and help situate our own work (choreography/written discourse) within broad analyses of culture. We will locate dance-making and history-writing within larger political and cultural discussions.

This class is suited for students from any discipline who are interested in the idea of time travel as it manifests in various cultural and artistic forms. Looking at how the past and the future can be used as materials in an art practice, this class will offer an overview of the basic philosophical principles of time travel, and an expanded framework for investigating the concept of time in cultural production, with an emphasis on media arts. Various examples of time travel will be explored in cinema, photography, and video art, with specific attention paid to art practices that involve artifact, fiction, looping, and narrative layering to evoke experiential shifts in time. We will look at a range of approaches used by contemporary artists and filmmakers such as archives, storytelling, re-enactments, alternate histories, video experiments, and conceptual time machines. Students will be given written assignments and studio exercises to respond to works presented in class and will produce a final original artwork in the form of a moving image, which will employ an established time travel device.

Make and study beautiful illustrated books that tell stories through text, image, and the material form of the codex. From papermaking and calligraphy to painting and binding, this course explores art books as sophisticated intellectual technologies as well as tools for artistic expression. Over the course of the block we will explore the history and development of the illustrated book including the invention of the codex, medieval manuscripts, pop-ups, and graphic novels. You will learn how to make ink, write with quills, and bind, design, and illustrate your own books.

If you were to design your own museum, what would you display-and how? Museums and galleries are storehouses of wonder, full of artistic treasures, important cultural artifacts, and even the occasional “oddity.” In this class you will visit exhibition spaces and learn strategies for making your experiences of art more meaningful. You’ll also construct your own Cabinet of Curiosities or Micro-Museum to practice your curatorial skills, exhibit treasures, and tell your own story.

What does it mean to testify to historical events? How does one textually represent presence? And how do the multiple dialogues that are often part of the testimonial genre engender belief in the truth claims of testimonial narrative? Using theoretical approaches that emerge from anthropology, cultural studies, literary theory, and philosophy we consider examples of testimonial, the testimonial novel, and testimonial filmmaking. Works confront topics as diverse as the conquest of the Americas, the institution of slavery, the Holocaust, and dictatorial abuses in Latin America.

The key to a classical education is having exposure to the classical world. Few experiences are as enriching to the mind as visiting the legendary sites of the Aegean, and having the opportunity to read, write, travel, and learn in the cradle of civilisation. Under the guidance of an experienced tutor, this journey can be one of the most rewarding parts of the university experience. Imagine having for your classroom one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; or participating in a lecture on Aristotle amongst the ruins of the Athena Temple at Assos, where Aristotle himself walked.

Participants in this course will learn about the philosophy, literature, history, architecture, and culture that laid much of the foundation for Western civilisation. Students will begin the course at Quest, preparing for their sojourn in Aegean region of Turkey. The overseas component of the course will comprise a series of presentations and discussion.

The foundation of a liberal education is exposure to ancient ideas. Few experiences are as enriching as visiting the legendary sites of Rome and Pompeii. This journey can be one of the most rewarding parts of the university experience. Imagine having for your classroom the Colosseum; visiting the famous Sistine Chapel; walking down the wonderfully preserved streets of Pompeii. In this course, you will learn how to travel as an educated person travels; to engage with an ancient culture without being a tourist; to experience some of the greatest art, architecture, literature, philosophy, and history the world has to offer.

NOTE: There is a field trip fee for this course of $4000 CDN.

The Cornerstone block is the first course that all students take upon entering Quest. The purpose of Cornerstone is twofold: to introduce students to Quest, and to investigate a significant question through a variety of academic perspectives. The question for Cornerstone is: what is knowledge? By investigating this question, we explore the unexamined principles and assumptions that underpin our views on science and culture. When we classify something as knowledge, we are implicitly appealing to a system of values: what is knowable is worthwhile, if not for its own sake, at least for its utility. For example, we believe that astronomy expands what we know, but astrology does not. But why? To respond that the former is science while the latter is nonsense merely reiterates the view that the one is knowledge and the other not, and so fails as an answer. We make progress on this question by investigating three sub-questions: (i) what assumptions do we have about knowledge; (ii) what is scientific knowledge; (iii) what is knowledge itself? In answering each of these, we are better able to say what knowledge is.

All scholars read and write, make presentations of their findings, and engage in other rhetorical pursuits to participate in academic and public conversations. These conversations require that they make different kinds of compelling arguments-written, verbal, and visual-to particular audiences. Rhetoric at Quest is primarily designed to help students at all levels become better participants in these scholarly and community interactions.

Please speak with your Advisor and with the Quantitative Reasoning Coordinator (Chris Stewart) if you are interested in being registered in this course.

The ability to understand and analyze the implications of quantitative information is essential for engaged participation in today’s society, and rhetorical arguments are enhanced by the clear and accurate presentation of quantitative information.

This course is designed for those who would like to develop their understanding of, and confidence with, elementary quantitative skills used in the sophisticated contexts of adult life.

During the course we will examine all the skills included in the Q Skills Program (Number, Graphs, Algebra and Measurement) and apply them to a variety of situations. Although taking this course does not guarantee completion of all Q Skills strands, there will be opportunities to write the Q Skills Diagnostics.

In order to allow time for sufficient interaction with peers and the course tutor, it is expected that you will be available for the majority of the time between 9 am and 4 pm each day of class.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands. At the end of their Foundation Program, Quest undergraduates work with a faculty advisor to submit a statement of their “Question”: a two-page proposal describing a topic of special interest to them. The Question guides students’ attention in a sustained and rigorous intellectual inquiry during the final 16 concentration blocks. The proposal may take the form of a statement or a question or even a set of related questions. For example, one student might be interested in the broad thematic question, “What is honour?” Another might choose a specific policy topic like, “How does politics influence the treatment of global epidemics such as malaria, SARS or AIDS?” With the Question program, students construct a major that suits their curiosities, rather than refine their interests to fit into a set major.

Prerequisite: Completion of Touchstones

The Keystone course is required of all graduating students, and provides students with a capstone experience during which they will polish, prepare, and reflect: 1) students put the finishing touches on their Keystone projects; 2) students prepare and deliver a public presentation about their Question and their Keystone work to the University community; 3) students take some time to reflect more broadly on their education-both prospectively and retrospectively-in hopes of understanding how a liberal arts and sciences education has changed them, and how they will integrate that learning into their future plans.

GIS is computer software used to analyze digital layers of map embedded with a wide variety of geographic information. The information on each layer could be economic, social, geological, ecological, or biological. By combining and comparing different layers, students are then able to answer a variety of questions. For example, a student can assess the effects of climate on social and economic conditions among different regions; the relationship between solar radiation inputs on incidents of a certain type of disease across Canada; the feasibility of developing a new ecologically-sensitive mountain biking route in Squamish; or the potential threats of development to ecologically sensitive areas and endangered species. Through this introductory GIS course, students learn fundamental GIS skills in Arc GIS as well as develop creativity and problem solving skills in their chosen field.

Sex, gender, sexuality: what do they mean? This is an interdisciplinary course taught from biological, and psychological perspectives. What is sex, and how is it determined across the major domains of life? How do humans and other vertebrates expresss gender and sexual orientation? How might we deconstruct our normative understandings of orientation, gender, and even sex, to make room for new ideas? This course includes challenging primary readings and other materials to facilitate our understanding of sex, gender and sexual orientation.

THIS COURSE IS TAGGED RHETORIC INTENSIVE – See Portal > Registrar’s Office for details.

Integration. Natural resources. Management. What do these terms mean? Together, what does Integrated Resource Management (IRM) mean.if anything? Through a variety of exercises and field trips we will explore what IRM is and what makes for good IRM practice and policy, with a focus on examples in BC and Canada. We will emphasize specific topics such as: values and utility; common resources; First Nations rights and access; cumulative effects; and climate change. Many exercises will focus on effective negotiation skills and interpersonal relationships, as these are essential to IRM. (You will be amazed by how many important decisions are made or not made as a result of people having their feelings hurt!)

PREREQUISITES: Students must have completed either a Humanities or the Social Science Foundation and Question block.

NOTE: By the first day of class each student must submit a written proposal of their own directed learning plan for the course which has been signed by their mentor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Directed Studies in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences allows students to explore in-depth topics through autonomous study and guided peer review with the mentorship of a Humanities or Social Sciences faculty member. Regular one-on-one meetings with the faculty member and peer groups are required. Students will be expected to apply their rhetorical, research, analytical, and empirical skills when appropriate. Directed studies are interdisciplinary opportunities to learn with and from peers in a format that is not otherwise offered as a standalone course.

This is a concentration-level course and is not intended to take the place of a regularly offered course.

PREREQUISITES: Students must have completed a Life or Physical Science foundation and Question block.

NOTE: By the first day of class each student must submit a written proposal of their own directed learning plan for the course which has been signed by their mentor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Directed Studies in Life and Physical Sciences is a research-based class that allows students to explore in-depth topics through autonomous study and guided peer review, with the mentorship of a Life or Physical Sciences faculty member. Regular one-on-one meetings with the faculty member and peer groups are required. Students are expected to practice rhetorical, research, analytical, and empirical skills. Directed studies are interdisciplinary opportunities to learn with and from peers in a format that is not otherwise offered as a stand-alone course.

This is a concentration-level course and is not intended to take the place of a regularly offered course.

This is a course in theoretical computer science that looks at some major problems in the field. We will begin with a question that is fundamental to all computer science: what is the nature of computation? The answer is that computation is equivalent to effective calculability in lambda calculus. This answer will lead us to study general recursive functions, and from there to Lisp, which is a functional programming language that grew out of lambda calculus. Lisp will provide a springboard for studying several other serious problems, possibly including: (i) whether the extensions of P and NP are equivalent (whether every problem that can be quickly verified by a computer can be quickly solved by a computer); (ii) what limitations does the Halting Problem put on effective calculable; (iii) do super-recursive algorithms disprove the Church-Turing thesis; (iv) what are the limits of artificial intelligence to solve certain computational problems; (v) how does the quantum theory of computation address problems of computational complexity; (vi) what philosophical dimensions of computational complexity. Please note: this course is theoretical in focus, and is not a course in programming.

Wide-ranging and migratory species use multiple habitats throughout the year. This can lead them particularly vulnerable to habitat change, jurisdictional challenges, as well as to uncertainties in estimating population sizes. The first part of the course will investigate the causes of imperilment and conservation strategies for migratory species. The second part of the course will focus on specific techniques to help monitor and conserve wide-ranging and migratory species. Strategies may include tagging programs, bycatch reduction techniques, protected areas as well as well as international agreements such as RAMSAR and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Readings will include texts in population ecology, biogeography, conservation biology as well as policy. This course will focus primarily on birds, mammals and fish.

This course explores the fundamental concepts and techniques used to design, implement and test computer programs. Students will use the Java programming language to explore commonly implemented algorithms and learn how to write understandable and efficient programs. Topics covered in this course will include object-oriented programming, data structures, arrays and recursion. This course is appropriate to everyone who wants to create software. No prior computing experience is required.

Prerequisites: Completion of all Q-skillsStatistics, the most pervasive application of mathematics in modern society, is a standard research tool in such diverse fields as biology, psychology, medicine, business, and politics. Its apparent invincibility belies the ease with which it can be abused to assist corporate, political, and even scientific agendas. In addition to critiquing existing uses of statistics, students develop an ability to use them responsibly to reflect information implied in data. Specific topics include: descriptive statistics, distributions, hypothesis testing and confidence intervals, regression and correlation, and analysis of variance.

Prerequisites: There are no course prerequisites for this class. However, you must: 1) be an intermediate/advanced on piste skier, 2) possess a full set of backcountry touring equipment and know how to use it all, 3) be able to properly execute a basic transceiver search (find one beacon in 3 minutes), and 4) be in good shape with the ability to hike in challenging conditions for the entire day. All of these requirements will be assessed once registration has taken place.

This class focuses on the sociology of sport within the context of the winter hazards associated with ski-touring. We will examine the socio-cultural patterns, structures, inequities, and organizations that shape understandings and experiences of sport and extreme sports, not always in similar ways for all people. The class engages a long-standing and robust multidisciplinary framework stemming from cultural anthropology, sociology, and psychology. The central guiding academic conversation which will integrate classroom-based learning, academic snow science literature, and backcountry skiing-related experiences is the thread of who chooses to participate in extreme sports, how we can explain those seemingly personal choices within a greater field of social forces, institutions, and representations, and how we can interrogate our own understandings and embodied experiences in the backcountry. In order to facilitate this exploration, roughly half the course will take place in off-piste ski environments.

Additional Fees: Course fees will apply.

Prerequisites: Enrolment is subject to a risk management evaluation and will be assessed once registration has taken place. Squamish is an easy entry point to the alpine environment – either in the form of roadside climbing on the Chief, or alpine mountaineering on Sky Pilot. This course explores individual, group, and societal responses to the risks inherent in alpine recreation, particularly climbing and mountaineering. Students will acquire some conceptual tools for understanding risk as a phenomenon, and will explore how aspects of human cognition, group dynamics, and environmental stress affect decision-making under conditions of risk and uncertainty. The course will also consider the broader social, political, and legal context of risk as recreation, closing by pondering whether or not there ought to be a right to rescue in the wilderness. Throughout the course, classroom discussions will be interwoven with field experience in the alpine, and students will directly experience the challenges associated with evaluating risk in wilderness settings, while also acquiring the skills needed to move safely and thoughtfully through alpine environments.

Additional Fees: TBD

Prerequisites: Any Earth. Oceans and Space course and Biodiversity of British Columbia (LIF 2210).

This course will examine different types of impacts (both positive and negative) related to outdoor recreation and tourism activities, with a particular focus on economic, social, cultural and ecological impacts. (Ecological impacts will be further subdivided into soil, water, wildlife and vegetation.) Students will obtain an understanding of how to identify and monitor impacts, mitigate negative impacts and maximize positive benefits associated with recreation and tourism. We will explore how these impacts may be reviewed and measured through readings, lectures, assignments, field trips and substantial field work. Squamish provides an ideal ‘living library’ in which to explore this complex and multi-faceted subject. Impact identification, monitoring, and mitigation are critical skills for developing and maintaining a sustainable recreation and/or tourism industry. Through extensive fieldwork, students will develop field skills within the physical, ecological and social sciences.

Prerequisite: Statistics 1, AP Statistics, or Instructor’s Permission

Data are crucial to most scientific research across a wide range of disciplines. This course aims to provide students with the necessarily statistical tools and skills to analyze a wide variety of data types using R (statistical analyses) and GitHub (version control and collaboration). We start with the fundamentals of statistics and learn to use R. More advanced topics on how to analyze e.g. count data or binary data using generalized linear models will be done in ‘project form’; start with defining a question, design a study, collect and analyze data and present the results. Special attention will be given to data visualization, as this is the start of data analysis and the end point (figure in a paper or presentation). Over the last decades data sets have became increasingly large and readily available over the Internet. We will explore how to tackle ‘big data’ questions. At the end of the course the students will be proficient at using R, have learnt how to design, execute and present a research project and most importantly, know how to approach solving new statistical problems in the future. For well-prepared students, review material in the first week of the course will be replaced by advanced material on a case-by-case basis to ensure that all students are challenged throughout the course.

Why do we ski? Who participates in this sport and why? How do skiing and the areas where it occurs fit into larger societal power structures, inequalities, and patterns of global capitalism? How are these complex dynamics influenced by the winter hazards and environments where many go in search of untracked snow? This course will integrate classroom-based examinations of the often overlooked dynamics that underpin this leisure pastime and backcountry skiing-related experiences to explore our understandings of who chooses to participate in these activates, how we can explain those seemingly personal choices within a greater field of social forces, institutions, and representations, and how we can interrogate our own understandings and embodied experiences in the backcountry through the explanatory frameworks of the sociology of sport and political ecology. There will be an additional course fee for this class. All participants must be intermediate-advanced skiers and can expect a skills prerequisite to ensure this level of ability.

Prerequisite: Any foundation Life Sciende or Humanities course. Recommended: Poetry (HUM 3013)

What is the biology of poetry? What is the poetry of biology? We will explore these questions by first testing the premise that studying scientific research can enrich the interpretation of the literal and figurative meaning of a work of poetry. We will then develop a systematic method for conducting such an analysis, and place it in the context of the burgeoning fields of geopoetics, biopoetics, and ecopoetics. Next, we will test and refine our new method by applying it. Finally, we will attempt to create and justify our own scientifically grounded poetry, and compare our intent with a reader’s interpretation. You can expect to be moving fluidly from reading and interpreting poetry, to reading and interpreting scholarship about poetry and poets, to analyzing and synthesizing scientific research. Bring your flexible and versatile brains to this ultimate exploration of the arts and sciences.

If you had an intelligent agent who always tied your shoes for you, would you ever have learned how to tie your shoes yourself? What about if that same agent did all your arithmetic and all your writing, and eventually shaped all your decisions? The promise of AI is fraught with ethical questions that strike at the very heart of what it means to be human and to act as a moral agent in society. It reveals a fundamental tension between what AI can do and what AI should do.

This course investigates this tension using an interdisciplinary approach. We shall explore AI both from the perspective of computer science, where you will learn about neural networks and deep learning; and from the perspective of philosophy, where we will discuss how we ought to act. Our goal is to think deeply about human values in a technological world, and to inform our discussions about ethics with knowledge of how AI actually works.

You do not require a background in philosophy or computer science to take this class. But you should be willing to read and think about both technical and philosophical works, and be comfortable with elementary algebra. Any other background will be provided. By the end of our class, you will discover whether you want an intelligent agent that ties your shoes.

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of British Columbia.

Land use is considered to be the major threat to species in the immediate future; however climate change is also having short and long term impacts on species. Both factors can interact to increase overall impacts to species, communities, and ecosystems. At the same time, there is uncertainty in what changes will occur under climate change, and how to mitigate those changes. Despite uncertainty, decisions must be made. This course is primarily case-study based. Students will be required to act as terrestrial ecologists working under a variety of stakeholder umbrellas (government, industry, consulting, academia, NGO, First Nations), which means understanding the key issues, limitations, and responsibilities encountered in each position. They will engage in a decision-making process within a multi-stakeholder team to resolve a topical wildlife issue resulting from climate change and land use impacts.

Prerequisites: Foundation Biodiversity of British Columbia course.

This multi-disciplinary course will explore the complex roles that Salmon play in the ecological, cultural, economic, and political contexts of Clayoquot Sound. This largely place-based inquiry will include hands-on scientific field and lab exercises to replicate landmark studies highlighting the ecological significance of salmon. Additionally, through close readings of texts and in-person interactions, the class will spend time with a variety of relevant stakeholders to better understand the various ways in which diverse area inhabitants understand their relationship to Salmon and Salmons’ place in the cultural, political, and economic frameworks of Clayoquot Sound. This course will include an extended off-campus field component in Clayoquot Sound.

Note: This course has a field trip fee of $1850CDN

Prerequisites: Must have completed Question (IND 2300) or tutor permission.

Squamish is one of the fastest growing communities. This growth brings tremendous opportunities, such as the opportunity to assess the health of the community by conducting an Asset Map. Asset maps are a community development tool that engages organizations and stakeholders to identify and evaluate resources through an engaging process. Through the identification and mapping of resources and strengths, the community will be in a place to discuss and address community needs and thereby improve social and health programming. This class will plan for, conduct, and present an asset map for Squamish in collaboration with the District of Squamish, Sea to Sky Community Services Society, The Howe Sound Women’s Centre, Squamish Helping Hands Society, Squamish Senior citizen home society, and other local organizations. This hands-on and practical course will guide students through the literature to engage with the community, facilitate workshops, and collect data to produce a community asset report and map for Squamish. The first and fourth week of this class will be held on campus. The second and third weeks will be downtown, where we will be hosted by Sea to Sky Community Services Society.

The world that we live in is magnificently complicated. The role of the scientist is to ask important unanswered questions, then to systematically build and organize knowledge in ways that can shed light on phenomena that we wish to understand better. How do we know we have found an answer to our question? A mathematical model is a representation used to gain an understanding of a system, to study its different components, and to predict future behaviour. In this introduction to modeling, students will become familiar with the formulation of a well-defined problem, the identification of key quantities, the collection of reliable data, the formulation in terms of mathematics and solution, the comparison of results with data, and the communication of results. Aimed at all people interested in doing science.

Place-based education is an approach to connecting curriculum to students’ lives through their bodies, imaginations, and emotions, while learning with the multi-species world. Guiding theoretical questions throughout this course are: What exactly is place? What does place-based learning look like on unceded Indigenous territory? How do we educate children in the age of the Anthropocene? And how do we create social and ecological change within education? This course is intended for prospective educators, those interested in learning about decolonization as it relates to people and place, students curious about ecological identity development in children, and those wanting social and ecological change in education. We will closely examine recent literature in place-based education, literature in educational philosophical thought, and ecological intersectionality. Students will have an opportunity to explore and become intimate with ‘place’ and practice ecological teaching methods. Students will learn to think critically about education in general and outdoor education in particular, while exploring pedagogical techniques for imagination and hope.

Prerequisite: Tutor permission.

Welcome to the study of Chinese, the most commonly spoken language in the world. In Chinese 1, students develop elementary-level skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Mandarin Chinese in everyday communication settings. Fundamentals of pronunciation, grammar, and Chinese characters are introduced, since Chinese is an idiographic language. Students also venture into the exciting world of Chinese culture. Chinese 1 is for students who have had no prior exposure to the Chinese language.

Prerequisite: Tutor permission.

Spanish 1 is designed for students with no formal training in Spanish. If you have studied Spanish before, please speak with the tutor before enrolling in Spanish 1.

Spanish 1 is an intensive, integrated-skills approach language course designed for students with no formal training in Spanish. Instruction is entirely in Spanish, and is focused on developing proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture. Success in this course requires a significant time commitment outside of the classroom. Success in this course also requires open-mindedness because learning a language is an invitation to a new way of thinking. Topics covered include: greetings and self-description, vocabulary related to everyday life, elementary cultural topics, adjective-noun agreement, present tense conjugation, cardinal numbers, and elementary pronunciation. By the end of this course, successful students will be able to communicate in rudimentary ways and understand simple, adapted speech and texts. A minimum grade of C in this course is required in order to take Spanish 2.

The study of Latin unlocks the literary, philosophical, scientific, and religious texts that continue to have an incalculable influence on our civilization. The aim of this course is to teach you how to read Latin as quickly and enjoyably as possible, within the context of Roman culture. The dialect of Latin we shall learn was spoken and written in Rome from the Late Republic to Early Empire (around 75 BCE to 300 CE).

In addition to learning Latin, you will gain a more complete and deeper understanding of your own language, and of the importance of language as a tool, not only for expressing complex ideas, but also for creating them. You will also gain insight into the origins of the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and others). And you will learn that you use Latin every day, without even thinking about it. Perhaps most importantly, you will be following the educational ideals of Winston Churchill: “I would make them all learn English, and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin.”

The study of Ancient Greek unlocks the literary, philosophical, scientific and religious texts that continue to have an incalculable influence on our civilization. The aim of this course is to teach you how to read Greek as quickly and enjoyably as possible, within the context of Greek culture. You will gain a more complete and deeper understanding not only of some of the greatest thinkers in history, but also of your own speech, and of the importance of language as a tool not only for expressing the complex ideas, but for creating them. As a bonus, you will also gain insight into scientific and medical terminology, be able to get around the subway in Athens, and participate in Greek soccer chants! And you will learn that each of you uses Greek every day, without even thinking about it. Perhaps most importantly, you will be following the advice of George Bernard Shaw: “Learn Greek; it is the language of wisdom.”

Prerequisite: Chinese 1 or tutor permission.

Chinese 2 is a continuation of Chinese 1 and provides further instruction in higher levels of grammar and Chinese characters. In Chinese 2, students continue to develop the four areas of communication: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Prerequisite: Spanish 1 or tutor permission.

Spanish 2 is an intensive, integrated-skills approach language course designed for students with the equivalent of one block/semester of college Spanish. Instruction is entirely in Spanish, and is focused on developing proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture. Success in this course requires a significant time commitment outside of the classroom. Success in this course also requires open-mindedness because learning a language is an invitation to a new way of thinking. Major topics covered include: vocabulary related to daily life in Spanish-speaking cultures, the past tense, commands, and the subjunctive. This course fulfills one block of the Quest University language requirement. A minimum grade of C in this course is required in order to take more advanced Spanish courses at Quest University.

Prerequisite: Spanish 2 or tutor permission

In this course, we will explore the diversity of Hispanic cultures in the Americas, Spain, and Africa. Students will discuss current events, literature, art, music, history, and film, in order to increase their proficiency in the Spanish language. Themes covered in the course will vary, but a goal of the seminar will be to familiarize students with some of the features of, and issues within, Hispanic cultures.

*This course is not meant for native speakers of Spanish, or students who have placed into literature on the Spanish placement exam. Instead, those students should consult with Spanish faculty about fulfilling the language requirement.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands

How does evolution happen and how do we know? What and how can we learn about events that happened millions of years ago? How is evolution relevant to climate change, disease transfer, and antibiotic resistance? Students will answer these questions and many others by studying the major lines of evidence for evolution, including the fossil record, natural selection, DNA replication and cell division, gene expression, mutation, heredity, and the formation of new species. Emphasis will be split between learning core concepts and applying those concepts to real-world examples. Students will practice the scientific method, write and communicate science, read and critique scientific literature, and conduct laboratory studies.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands

The natural world is a complex and captivating place. From the ocean to the alpine, the forest to the field, this course will introduce students to the organisms and ecosystems that surround us. While accessing the wide variety of habitats found near Squamish, we will explore the causes and consequences of biological diversity, by documenting patterns in the field and linking them to underlying processes. We will immerse ourselves in the empirical and theoretical science that strives to make sense of this ecological complexity. Students are challenged to collect and analyze data, and to engage their curiosity and creativity to test hypotheses about natural phenomena across organismal, population, community, and ecosystem scales. We will practice the scientific method, write and communicate science, read and critique scientific literature, and conduct field studies.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands

Biology is the study of life, but what is life? What are its origins? How does life persist and perpetuate itself, and what is the future of life? These deceptively simple questions underpin the Life Sciences, and provide us with an opportunity to investigate both historic milestones and cutting edge innovations across all scales of inquiry, from molecules to biomes. To examine how living things work, we will consider the key processes of birth, metabolism, reproduction, and death, and the physiological and behavioral mechanisms by which they are achieved. Students will practice the scientific method, write and communicate science, read and critique scientific literature, and conduct field and laboratory studies.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands

How do you know that you’re healthy? How do you respond when you are told to try the latest health claim? Do you jump in or do you evaluate the science behind it? This class introduces students to the art of critically evaluating scientific evidence in a world inundated with information and opinions. Today more than ever we consult Dr. Google, but what does the science tell us? How can we use science to inform life long decision making about our health and wellness? In this course, students: 1) discuss perceptions of health and wellness across individuals, communities, and populations, 2) recognize and evaluate health claims, and 3) design and participate in the research process. Along the way, students practice mindfulness and self-care, and will have multiple opportunities to develop skills for staying grounded in challenging situations. This course is evidence based, timely, and allows students to develop strategies that will benefit their university education and subsequent life.

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of BC or tutor permission

Additional fees may apply

Patterns of biodiversity vary across large latitudinal, elevational, and area gradients, with regional and local patterns driven by microhabitat variation and nterspecific interactions. How do light, temperature, and circulation establish these large-scale patterns? How they interact with competition, predation, and parasitism in establishing local patterns? What are the consequences of biodiversity for ecosystem productivity and resilience in the face of disturbance, invasion, and climate change? In this course we test the predominantly terrestrial theories of biodiversity in the marine environment, where the phyletic diversity is oddly higher but the species-level diversity is oddly lower.

This course includes a week-long field trip to a marine research station to quantify local diversity and test theoretical hypotheses. Students should be prepared for physical exertion under variable weather conditions. Marine Biodiversity complements Marine Ecology (population and community dynamics), Marine Zoology (animal adaptations to the sea), and Coastal Field Ecology (cross-boundary coastal ecosystem subsidies).

Prerequisite: What is Life? or Biodiversity of British Columbia or tutor permission

Additional fees may apply

Coastal environments are characterized by stark physical boundaries between land and sea. In this advanced ecology course, students will examine recent scientific literature exploring the tremendous degree to which energy and biomass move across these boundaries, with consequences for ecosystem function, and implications for ecosystem serves and conservation planning. This course develops skills in formulating hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and synthesizing empirical observations with the primary literature.

This course includes a week-long backpacking trip along the Juan de Fuca Trail on the outer coast of Vancouver Island, where we develop skills in planning and conducting field expeditions. Students should be comfortable with wilderness camping, and be prepared for substantial physical and mental exertion in challenging terrain under variable weather conditions: a pre-course selection process may be applied to maximize individual and group safety for this course.

Coastal Field Ecology complements Marine Zoology (animal adaptations to the sea), Marine Biodiversity (causes and consequences of diversity patterns in the world’s oceans), and Marine Ecology (population and community dynamics). This course has a field trip fee of $500.00

Recommended: The Practice of Statistics.

The pursuit of knowledge across the sciences requires key skills in research methods and presentation. In this course, students will develop these skills by critically reading and analyzing scientific literature, proposing interesting research questions and hypotheses, transforming these into appropriate and rigorous surveys and experiments, and collecting (or simulating), visualizing, and analyzing pilot data. These skills are applied to writing and presenting and critiquing research proposals in standard professional scientific format. From this course, students learn the basic survival skills necessary to be an introductory researcher in their chosen fields.The skills developed in this course can be applied to quantitative research in any discipline, but the focal case studies and methods will be based in the life sciences.

Recommended prerequisite: Statistics 1

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of BC And Evolution or tutor permission.

Why do fish school, or elk herd? Why do meerkats cooperate posting sentries to warn other meerkats of danger and is human cooperation any different? Behavioral ecology seeks to understand how animal behavior evolves in the natural world. This field links the study of behavior with the ecological stage it plays out on and evolutionary forces influencing it. During this course, we will discuss topics such as: the economics of resource exploitation, interactions between predator and prey, competition and cooperation, sociality, sexual selection, parental care, and communication. We will apply ecological models and game theory to explain the evolutionary development of behavioral adaptations and test these predictions using computer simulations and experimental data. We will also address special topics in animal behavior such as the evolution of cognition, intelligence, and consciousness. Students interested in ecology, conservation biology, and evolution or that simply want to understand life better should consider this course.

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of BC or tutor permission.

Plant Biodiversity addresses our understanding of the causes and consequences of botanical diversity. An initial review of basic plant biology underpins questions such as: What determines plant biodiversity at local, regional, and global scales? How are plants adapted to cope with environmental stressors? Are diverse plant communities more resilient to climate change than species-poor communities? What are the consequences of changes in plant biodiversity for the functioning of ecosystems? Students emerge with a foundation in plant biology, taxonomy, and floristics across many of British Columbia’s ecosystems. This course relies heavily on field and lab studies, including a multi-day off-campus excursion.

Antarctica is the most extreme and isolated continent on Earth. It is also a hotbed for scientific discovery and biodiversity, a model for global geopolitical cooperation, a beacon for intrepid explorers, and an important regulator of global climate. Quest students will experience this environment first-hand and, using a multidisciplinary approach, be immersed in the lore, science, and politics of this vast and important continent. Our platform for 21 days is the ice-strengthened R/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov, upon which students will cross the Southern Ocean from Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands to the western Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea regions.. Once in Antarctic waters, we will study the local environment via ship, shore, and Zodiac excursions. This is a rare opportunity to experience a world so far removed from our own, it is like a different planet.

Note: Additional Fees Apply – Amount TBA

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of BC.

Recommended: Statistics 1.

How do new species arise and why do they (not) persists? Understanding the mechanisms determining species diversity requires a multidisciplinary approach. The theory of Island Biogeography, one of the most influential biological ideas of the 20th century and at the interface between community ecology and evolution, provides a great starting point. First applied to islands, the fundamental ideas underlying the theory have subsequently been applied widely. During the course key aspects of the theory such as speciation and niche partitioning will be investigated in depth. Furthermore, we will contrast it against partly overlapping and alternative theories such as the Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Adaptive Radiations.

Prerequisite: What is Life? or Biodiversity of British Columbia or tutor permission

Additional fees may apply

Life arose in the ocean, and almost every one of the ~32 known animal phyla live there today. Yes the liquid sea is a foreign environment: its homogeneously dark and cold depths are punctuated by blistering sulfuric vents, while nearshore habitats experience rapid and extreme fluctutations in temperature, salinity, pH, nutrients, and toxins. How have organisms adapted to this seemingly alien and hostile environment? What unique structural and physiological solutions have emerged to the challenges of locomotion, foraging, and reproduction? How have certain terrestrial organisms managed a eturn to the sea? To study these extraordinary animals, we will integrate across the zoological sciences to explore anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, behaviour, evolution, ecology, and conservation.

This course includes a week-long field trip to a marine research station to hone natural history and quantitative skills in studying animals up close in their natural environment and in the lab. Students should be prepared for physical exertion under variable weather conditions. Marine Zoology complements Marine Ecology (population and community dynamics), Marine Biodiversity (causes and consequences of diversity patterns in the world’s oceans), and Coastal Field Ecology (cross-boundary coastal ecosystem subsidies).

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of BC

Indigenous Peoples around the world have built and maintained cultural relationships with plants for millennia. Ethnobotany is more than simply the study of plant use; it is the study of the interrelationships between people and plants. In this course, students will learn about plants as foods and medicines and will explore the cultural and the spiritual significance of ethnobotanical knowledge in different Indigenous cultures. Students will experience a combination of classroom activities, guest speakers, and field trips; and together, we will draw on local knowledge and global topics of interest. Major themes will include the roots of ethnobotany as a discipline (both academically and culturally), local Squamish Nation ethnobotanical knowledge, ethnobotanical case studies from other First Nations across British Columbia, ethnobotanical restoration and cultural knowledge renewal.

Prerequisites: Biodiversity in B.C., Foundation Ecology or tutor permission

Found on every continent and in every habitat, birds are among the most familiar animals in our day to day lives, yet they are also among the most remarkable; their incredible migrations, complex breeding strategies and amazing adaptations are fascinating in their own right, and also offer limitless possibilities to study broader questions in ecology. This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of avian biology with an emphasis on field-based research. Topics will include bird diversity, distribution, ecology, mate choice, and migration, as well as practical techniques used to study birds in the field. Classwork will combine seminars with discussions of published research in avian research and work with museum collecitons. Frequent excursions into the various habitats around Squamish and a self-directed field study will familiarize students with the identification, behaviour, and ecology of birds. Students will need a pair of binoculars. Expect extra costs associated with field and museum excursions.

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of BC.

The study of amphibians and reptiles is called herpetology, from the Greek word “herpes” meaning “creeping thing”. This name aptly reflects that amphibians were the first vertebrates to “creep” out of the water onto land, a highly significant evolutionary step. Over the past 350 million years, amphibians have evolved a remarkable diversity of adaptations to life on land, but currently one third of the 7000 amphibian species worldwide are threatened with extinction. This course will explore why amphibians are at risk and the conservation efforts underway to recover them. Field exercises will focus on developing the skills to inventory species, identify important habitats and improve our understanding of amphibian behaviour and ecology. We expect the course will contribute valuable information and educational material to aid in the conservation of local species. The course may include a multi-day field trip.

Prerequisite: Foundation Biology of BC.

This course starts with the art of beekeeping. By engaging with this age-old practice, we will gain an intimate insight into the honeybee and her habits. While she may at first appear to be just a typical invertebrate, our investigations will reveal her as a complex organism with sophisticated biology, behaviour, and social interactions; with other bees, with nature, and with humans. Honeybees are one of the most successful and broadly introduced species in the world; yet they are facing devastating declines, with potentially catastrophic implications for humanity and our food systems. Honeybees can teach us a great deal about decision-making, communication, crisis, and survival. By wrestling with the problems of the hive, perhaps we can catch a glimpse of the answers to some of life’s other pressing questions.

Additional Course Fee: $100 CDN

Prerequisites: Biodiversity of British Columbia (LIF 2210) and Evolution (LIF 2110); all Foundation Life Science are recommended.

Marine ecosystems cover some 70% of the Earth’s surface (and more of its biosphere volume), and have curiously different environments and ecologies from the ones we are familiar with on land. We will engage with some of the major debates and emerging concepts about the dynamics of marine ecology. At the population scale, we will ask how reproduction differs, and why Allee effects and metapopulations are so common in the sea. At the community scale, we will ask why food webs are larger and more complex, why there is negligible pollination or vector-borne disease transmission, how competition and mutualism operate between plants and animals, and how chemosynthetic communities compare to photosynthetic ones. We will compare the relative importance of top-down vs. bottom-up factors regulating marine communities, and examine how individual species affect the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Along the way, we will take virtual trips to polar, temperate, and tropical ecosystems to assess their similarities and differences.

Prerequisites: Biodiversity of British Columbia (LIF 2210) and Evolution (LIF 2110); all Foundation Life Science are recommended.

Biological invasions are one of the major agents of anthropogenic global change, affecting ecosystem function, goods, and services in all habitats around the world. They also manifest ecology and evolution on steroids: although most potential invasions fail, the successful ones can be dramatic, with faster and more intense interactions than we typically see in a native ecosystem. To explore this phenomenon, we will ask four key questions: What are the causes of invasions, What makes some species better invaders, What makes some communities more invadable, and Why do most invasions fail.but some are so so high impact? In pursuing these questions, we will critically examine the evidence for current hypotheses in invasion biology, such as biotic resistance, invasional meltdown, enemy release, and homogenization. Finally, we will consider the vexing problems of how to prevent and control invasions, logistics of re-introductions, and ethics of assisted migration.

Prerequisite: Concepts in Spatial Ecology rely heavily on quantitative thinking. Biodiversity of British Columbia is required and one concentration level course with a quantitative focus is recommended for this course.

Spatial ecology encompasses the fields of landscape, population, and community ecology, as well as biogeography, and seeks to understand the relationships between ecological processes and patterns across space. In this course, we will explore how and why space matters in an ecological context. Students will engage with concepts of scale, spatial autocorrelation, pattern and process as they relate to metapopulation dynamics, dispersal, competition, and predation. New understanding of these topics will allow for discussions on disease spread, habitat loss and fragmentation, and impacts from climate change. Students will conduct a spatial statistical analysis, in R and/or GIS (geographic information systems), to answer a question in spatial ecology.

Prerequisites: Biodiversity of BC

Ecologists have been detecting wildlife responses to climate change for some time and the evidence is mounting. Species distribution change has been detected across the globe in an increasingly large suite of taxa. The timing of biological events, such as migration and reproduction, is also shifting and food supply is out of sync with demand. All of this change is leading to establishment of novel communities: groups of species that have not previously been in contact. Such change and perturbation allows us to better understand our natural systems, making it an exciting time to study ecology! Students will examine these topics by linking ecological theory at the species, population, community, and macro level with published research at the forefront of this rapidly evolving field. By the end of the course, students will be well prepared to engage in discussions (or action) on the future of wildlife management and conservation under climate change.

Wildlife managers use the best available science to sustain wildlife populations and their habitat while allowing for consumptive use, as appropriate. A key role of the wildlife manager is to determine population size and set appropriate harvest quotas, to monitor and investigate changes in population size, and to apply conservation actions as needed. We will engage deeply with population ecology theory to understand how medium to large mammals and game species are managed and conserved. From this science-based perspective, we will discuss current hot topics in wildlife management.

Prerequisite: Biodiversity of British Columbia.

Biodiversity varies hugely across the planet, with extreme high diversity in the tropics. However, science lacks a fundamental understanding of why it varies so much. This course provides students with a first-hand experience of tropical biodiversity, from the Peruvian Andes deep down into the Amazonian lowlands. Students will experience the challenges of studying very complex tropical ecosystems and how to tackle these through discussions of core ecological and evolutionary principles and applying these to real world situations. Besides experiences and studying of diversity, we will encounter different threats to it and try to find solutions to stop this. This course takes place in Peru and students should expect challenging but very unique environments to work in and basic living quarters at times.

Additional Fees apply and students must arrange own flight: Amount TBD

Humans are the only species on earth with the capacity to use up the finite resources of the planet, and to be aware of it. What choices are we making in our use of water, air, and soil? Of animals, plants, and minerals? What does it mean to live sustainably? Can we feed ourselves without starving the oceans? In Topics in Sustainability, we investigate a specific question concerning the sustainability of human life on earth – from the perspective of ecology. This block’s focal topic is fisheries – the challenges associated with achieving and maintaining sustainable harvests, and the consequences of failing to do so. We explore in depth the meaning of sustainable management and ecological limits, and consider how human impacts affect ecosystem function. We also dissect management theory and tools, and use case studies to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the management frameworks currently in place, including spatial and temporal restrictions, harvest limits, and aquaculture, within the context of ecology and socio-economics. Looking forward, students then synthesize their knowledge and experiences to craft a roadmap of creative and realistic solutions for sustainable fisheries in the future. NOTE: Field trip costs will be incurred.

Prerequisites: Biodiversity of BC

Although the importance of long-term data collection that allows assessment of environmental impacts from climate change and human development is well recognized, long-term monitoring data is lacking. In this course, students will participate in a long-term monitoring program that has been designed and maintained by Quest students to examine why and how we monitor biodiversity, what we monitor and how we know if something has changed. Students will contribute to this Quest student legacy by collecting and analyzing annual and multi-annual data from the program and conducting independent interdisciplinary projects to further the monitoring program objectives. Students will create science communication outcomes to broaden the impact of the project to local, regional, or global audiences and examine how a student and/or citizen scientist driven approach can lead to sustained efforts in long-term monitoring. Developing an understanding of biodiversity monitoring theory as well as skills in research study design, field logistics, data analysis and science communication, students will gain a real-world perspective on the challenges and opportunities of biodiversity monitoring. Students should be comfortable with wilderness camping and be prepared for substantial physical and mental exertion in challenging terrain under variable weather conditions: a pre-course selection process may be applied to maximize individual and group safety for this course.

Note: There are additional fees for this course: $500 field trip fee and personal equipment (~$100) will need to be purchased. Any unused fees from the trip will be credited to students’ accounts after the course.

**A $200 non-refundable deposit will be due Feb 28, 2019 – anyone registered who has not paid the fee will be dropped from the course. The remainder of the field trip fee, $300 (non-refundable), will be due March 28, 2019 – anyone who has not paid the fee will be dropped from the course.

Prerequisites: Two of the following three foundation courses – Evolution (LIF 2110); What is Life? (LIF 2310); Science, Health & Wellness (LIF 2410)

This course is recommended for students with an interest in genetics and medicine. It endeavours to give a rigorous scientific background of the latest techniques coming out of the genomic revolution for the treatment of diseases, primarily inherited disorders and cancer. The course will build on a basic knowledge of the human genome project and molecular genetics to explore the latest techniques in deciphering the human genome and how these techniques are being exploited to ostensibly generate improved therapies for disease. Topics covered will include gene therapy, small molecule therapy, antibody therapy, and a critical review of the increased emphasis on individualized medicine. The course will not just focus on the scientific nitty-gritty of these topics but also on the historical context and the myriad of ethical issues and challenges to policy development that these therapies invoke. Particular emphasis will be placed on discussing the challenges of informed consent, incidental findings and privacy as a result of the push for genetic information and open access. This course will include a laboratory component.

NOTE: There is a materials fee of $20.

Prerequisites: Two of the following foundation courses – Evolution (LIF 2110); What is Life? (LIF 2310); Biodiversity of BC (LIF 2210)

THIS COURSE IS TAGGED RHETORIC INTENSIVE – See Portal > Registrar’s Office for details.

This course will equip students with an understanding of plant development and genetics along with classical and current experimental techniques to allow them to ask topical questions surrounding the safety and utility of genetically modified organisms. The course will be divided into two units, plant development and plant genetics & biotechnology, with a concurrent block long student-directed research project on a specific application of genetically modified plants.

This course will undertake a rigorous study of the scientific literature to inform key ethical questions surrounding the use of plant biotechnology. As such, this course will lend itself naturally to an interdisciplinary approach and demand students to challenge themselves to consider varying and polarizing opinions under the dispassionate lens of scientific evidence. This course will thus illustrate how literacy in science can equip individuals to better ask and answer questions about their values and their planet.

Prerequisites: What is Life (LIF 2310)

Cancer is a leading cause of death in North America, and despite almost a century of modern medical research and billions of dollars spent, there is still no “cure” for cancer. Through the primary scientific literature, this course will explore the cell and molecular biology, genetics, and physiology of cancer to understand how cancer arises, why it is so deadly, and why it is so difficult to treat. Through Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies, we will examine the medical, scientific, political, and economic impacts that the modern “War on Cancer” has had in North America. This course will include a laboratory component.

This course takes a top-down approach to understanding brain function. Though the primary level of emphasis in this course is behaviour, students will learn the basic structural and functional aspects of brain cell function to provide a necessary foundation. In addition, students will learn the basic approaches used to understand brain function, along with their limitations.

Prerequisite: What is Life (LIF 2310) and Foundation Evolution (LIF 2110) or any course in cellular and molecular biology.

This course examines brain structure and function, with an emphasis on understanding the biological mechanisms that ultimately underlie behaviour. Specifically, the focus is on the cellular, molecular, and systems levels of analysis, using animal models to discuss experimental approaches that are ultimately aimed at explaining human behaviour.

Prerequisites: Science, Health & Wellness (LIF 2410); recommended Statistics 1 (IND 3146)

Epidemiology is the study of health and disease across populations. It looks at when and where diseases occur in order to prevent illness. It is the main scientific method used in public health to identify disease risk factors, study outbreaks, to inform evidence-based medicine, and to inform public health policies. Using a variety of examples, students learn how to measure health, design health studies (descriptive, observational, and experimental), and interpret data. Upon completion, students will be disease detectives and able to critically examine health literature and design their own health study.

Prerequisites: Foundation Evolution (LIF 2110) and What is Life? (LIF 2310).

Food and nutrition underpin social, economic, environmental and institutional successes of human society. Students begin with a foundation in the basic scientific principles of human nutrition, then later apply these concepts to current nutrition issues. Some of the questions addressed include: If we are what we eat, what should we eat? Which nutrients are required for health, which foods are rich sources of these nutrients, and how does your body extract the energy and nutrients it needs from the food it consumes? What are the physiological consequences of different diets? Of different lifestyles? What are the ecological, political, and economic consequences of the food choices we make?

NOTE: There is a $15 materials fee.

Prerequisites: Foundation Evolution (LIF 2110) and What is Life? (LIF 2310)

This course is an introduction to the study of human anatomy and physiology. We examine how structure and function are inextricably linked in the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. How do these systems work together to keep a human alive and healthy? We primarily study the human body in the “normal” healthy state but consider how anatomy and physiology are altered by a number of clinical conditions. This course involves a large component of hands-on learning using models and cadavers as well as observations and experimentation with live humans. Human Anatomy & Physiology A, B and C can be taken in any order.

Prerequisite: Foundation Evolution and What is Life?

What physics was to the 20th century, biology will be to the 21st. The identification of DNA as the molecule of heredity in 1953 opened the door to an explosion of knowledge about the functioning of all living things. Genetics will play a role in solving many of the world’s problems, offering strategies for improving global health, nutrition, energy sources, and global climate and environmental change. A basic understanding of molecular genetics is required to make sense of many of the recent and exciting developments in the field of biology, and is necessary to pursue health sciences in any depth at a more advanced level. Molecular genetics investigates the molecular mechanisms of how genes manifest as functional units. This includes understanding DNA and gene architecture, gene expression, and mechanisms underlying gene transmission and inheritance. This course will focus on eukaryotic systems, particularly plants and humans, and will scale from the single gene unit to a systems approach looking at gene networks and population genetics, including an introduction to bioinformatics, biostatistics and computational biology. This course includes a laboratory component.

How are public health policies created and implemented? What do good public health policies entail? This course begins by learning about the Canadian health care system. We then examine public health policies in Canada and elsewhere with a focus on key concepts, strategies, challenges and their outcomes. Examples include historic achievements (e.g. vaccine-preventable diseases, tobacco control, maternal and infant health) as well as new and cutting edge policies.

What are the determinants of health in a given population? What is the role of social, environmental, economic and political factors in health and health care? Do these factors contribute to health disparities across regions and socioeconomic groups? This course provides an introduction to the determinants of health. An emphasis is placed on the social determinants of health, including: socioeconomic status, education, race, gender, access to health and social services, neighbourhood environments, social relationships, and political economy.

Prerequisites: Foundation Evolution (LIF 2110) and What is Life? (LIF 2310).

This course is an introduction to the study of human anatomy and physiology. We examine how structure and function are inextricably

linked in the urinary, digestive and reproductive systems. How do these systems work together to keep a human alive and healthy? We primarily study the human body in the “normal” healthy state but consider how anatomy and physiology are altered by a number of clinical conditions. This course involves a large component of hands-on learning using models and cadavers as well as observations and experimentation with live humans. Human Anatomy & Physiology A, B and C can be taken in any order.

We know that daily physical activity is good for us, but do we understand why? How does regular exercise contribute to physical and mental health and increased quantity and quality of life? How can exercise be used to treat and even prevent disease? How much physical activity do we need? Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Throughout this course we will focus on assessing the available evidence to find answers to these questions and more. Topics of interest will include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression.

Understanding why people choose to engage in certain behaviours and activities underpins public health practice and policy. In this class, we explore methods used to promote and evaluate behaviour change across scales and organizations. We will apply our knowledge to identify real-life problems in order to design appropriate health promotion programs and the criteria for evaluating their outcomes. Behaviour change theory goes beyond public health and has been applied to many other fields. Most recently, it has been used to address environmental issues, sustainability, and our changing technological landscape.

Prerequisites: Foundation Evolution (LIF 2110) and What is Life? (LIF 2310).

This course is an introduction to the study of human anatomy and physiology. We examine how structure and function are inextricably

linked in the integumentary, lymphatic, nervous and endocrine systems. How do these systems work together to keep a human alive and healthy? We primarily study the human body in the “normal” healthy state but consider how anatomy and physiology are altered by a number of clinical conditions. This course involves a large component of hands-on learning using models and cadavers as well as observations and experimentation with live humans. Human Anatomy & Physiology A, B and C can be taken in any order.

Prerequisites: Foundation Evolution (LIF 2110) and What is Life? (LIF 2310).

Every day, our body is invaded by bacteria, viruses, and other would-be pathogens that, unchecked, would use our body’s resources, weaken, and kill us. The immune system is an impressive collaboration of specialized cells that continually evolve mechanisms to recognize and defend our body from invaders. In this course, we will meet these sentinels and soldiers of our body that keep us healthy and disease-free. Focusing on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of immunity, we will investigate how the body fends off an infection, how vaccines work and how to develop new ones, how organ transplants were made possible, and what happens when the immune system is deregulated, leading to such chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

How do we evaluate the effectiveness of health practices? Which foods are healthy? What forms of exercise best improve overall health? Advising individuals on health practices can be a challenging task given the ever-changing landscape of health and wellness trends. Indeed, bold statements on the putative benefits of specific practices can make it difficult to discern fact from fiction. This course will be aimed at discussing the merits of various health practices by critically evaluating the available evidence surrounding their use. By employing an evidence-based approach, students will engage in discussions on a wide range of topics from nutrition, treatment and prevention of disease, and exercise. The overarching goal of the course will be to engage in critical thinking as a means of evaluating available evidence relating to health practices in the context of health promotion.

Prerequisites: Evolution (LIF 2110) or What Is Life? (LIF 2310)

Why do we age? This course will build on a basic knowledge of genetics and molecular biology to explore aging. We will start with the molecular mechanisms that underpin aging, considering the role these processes play in normal development and hence why aging is programmed into the genome. We will investigate diseases characterised by early-aging (progeria syndromes) as well as those that carry age as the primary risk factor (dementia, cancer) and ask how understanding these diseases can help us understand how and why we age. We will also discuss our relationship with aging and death, the socioeconomic impacts of an aging population as well as the current hot topic of doctor-assisted suicide. Finally, we will debate and discuss the recent surge in immortality research initiatives by companies such as Google. Students will present a major written research project on an aspect of aging-related research of their choosing in a public symposium for the Squamish community. This course will include a laboratory component.

Prerequisites: Number and Algebra Qskills.

How can thinking like a mathematician help us make good financial decisions? In this course we will discover the mathematical structures behind savings and investments, debt and mortgages, inflation, and exchange rates. We will analyse, interpret, calculate and reflect, then consider how to communicate and justify our findings. And we’ll see that the same mathematical models apply to other scenarios – the mathematics which allows us to plan for retirement can also save us from a caffeine overdose!

The purpose of this course is to explore advanced mathematical thinking through basic mathematics. I hope to convince you that mathematics exists simultaneously as both a formal system (truths, objects, relationships, procedures) and as a mental activity (questioning, reasoning, creating structure, justifying). Problems are at the heart of mathematics but the Great Secret among mathematicians is that we love to make up new, interesting problems as much as we love to solve them. A great amount of intuition and creativity goes into posing and solving problems, and these qualities are as important as formal techniques. In this course we will approach interesting problems in geometry, origami, puzzles, number theory, algebra, and more, with the purpose of learning and critically examining thinking mathematically.

Puzzles, riddles and games have been essential in the development of mathematics. In this course we will look at many such puzzles, often encountering seemingly paradoxical results. We will explore questions about probability, self reference and infinity, ultimately answering questions such as: What does it mean for one kind of infinity to be larger than another? Is there just one or many possible mathematical universes? This will lead us to a better understanding of the nature of mathematics, truth and reality.

Learning a language — studying vocabulary, and grammar, and using those building blocks to express complex ideas — is a familiar process. How does one become fluent in the language of mathematics? In this course we look at the basics that will enable us to feel comfortable engaging in math, and to think like a mathematician: conscious problem solving, and logic; building a “number sense”; and basic mathematical models (translations of problems into the language of mathematics).

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands.

The Spirit of Calculus is an introduction to the tool that made mathematics the foundation of our scientific view of the universe. A culmination of efforts to grasp continuously changing quantities, the calculus provides us with the capacity to capture and analyze intuitions of motion and change. The key to the problem, the ability to describe and use the infinitely small, has far-reaching effects and applications in the physical and social sciences, engineering and economics. The course culminates with an unexpected grand synthesis of the mathematics of speed and areas in the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Students will be required to demonstrate proficiency in working with algebra and multiple representations of functions to be admitted to the course. Information about the assessment will be emailed to enrolled students.

Prerequisite: Calculus 1: The Spirit of Calculus.

The Practice of Calculus emphasizes how the central ideas of the calculus work themselves out in various disciplinary contexts. Students begin by extending our ability to integrate functions, then apply their new powers to explorations of applications in physics, biology, chemistry, economics, and several other fields. When standard techniques fail, students explore the use of infinite series to manipulate functions otherwise beyond our reach. Finally, students examine the fundamental tool of modeling in the sciences, differential equations.

Prerequisite: Calculus 2: The Practice of Calculus.

A key to discovery in science is often the transition from describing how things change to how they behave. Focusing the calculus on this problem in celestial mechanics led to the field of differential equations, the language of the mathematical physical sciences. Recently, technology has expanded our modeling tool set in various ways, opening up the study of chaos theory. Emphasizing the core concept of modeling, students explore the analytic, computational, and visual aspects of differential equations and their discrete analogues.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands.

Mathematical applications in the sciences often require the manipulation of many variables at once. Information concerning these variables, coded in matrices and vectors, can be manipulated to produce powerful results in disciplines as diverse as medicine, population dynamics, and meteorology. Students explore some of these applications as motivations for topics such as solving systems of linear equations, matrix and vector operations, linear independence and vector spaces, eigenvalues, and other topics.

Prerequisite: Linear Algebra.

The solution of the cubic equation in the 16th century enabled algebraists to reach unprecedented heights. However, the cost of progress was admitting into mathematics strangely behaving objects such as negative and complex numbers, and eventually quaternions and more. Students analyze the properties of these objects (categorized as groups, rings, and fields), and study applications to symmetries, crystal structures, calendars, etc. Finally, students apply Galois theory to explain why the three classical Greek construction problems (squaring the circle, trisecting the angle, and doubling the cube) are unsolvable.

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Math Course and completion of Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands.

How can mathematics improve society and empower us to live more effectively and equitably? We tackle this Question from the perspective of Discrete Mathematics, applying mathematical structures such as graphs and block designs to solve real-world problems, and communicate solutions with rigour and concision. Specific topics include: graph theory, combinatorics, coding theory, scheduling theory, classical game theory, and combinatorial game theory. Students will complete a personal project, where they will select a societal issue or injustice that lights a fire in their heart, and apply mathematical techniques to propose a solution.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands.

An algebra-based course covering the scientific practices pertinent to the theme of solar energy. Quantitative analyses will address the thermal kinetics and nuclear-fusion processes in the Sun, the electromagnetic foundations of the electrostatic and chemical potential energies in semiconductors and other photovoltaics, and the physical chemistry and efficiency of heat engines. Emphasis will also be placed on the communication of the data and results from laboratory exercises.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands.

Students begin by focusing on the practices of geological inquiry while exploring content related to rock composition, mountain building, erosion, and long-term Earth cycles. They continue briefly into the methods of extracting economically valuable resources (e.g., petroleum or minerals) from rock formations. Environmental problems related to resource extraction are then considered, and methods of environmental science are presented. The course then moves to a substantive treatment of climate science and ends with special topics that may vary between different instructors. Core points of emphasis throughout the course are quantitative analysis of geological and environmental data and the creation of cogent arguments that use technical information. This course fulfills the Earth-Oceans-Space Foundation requirement.

A calculus-based study of motion and mass from the perspective of force, momentum, and energy. Angular motion, universal gravitation, orbits, and solid-body rotations are also covered. This is a calculus-based study, so knowledge of integration and differentiation is assumed. Data collection and computer simulation are important aspects of the course. Computer programming in Python will be taught in the course, so no knowledge of computer programming is assumed.

Prerequisites: Physics 1

A calculus-based study of static and moving electric charges using the concepts of fields and the integral form of Maxwell’s Equations. Data collection and other laboratory exercises concerning analog circuitry are an important aspect of the course. Offered every year.

Prerequisites: Physics 2

A calculus-based study of heat in systems. Examples of ideal gases and physical chemistry will be studied in terms of the relationships among macroscopic state variables and microscopic explanations including relativistic binding energy, chemical potential, and information entropy. Data collection and other laboratory exercises are an important aspect of the course. Offered every other year.

Prerequisites: Advanced Energy & Matter, Linear Algebra

Studies of time-dependent one-dimensional systems and time-independent one- and three-dimensional systems using vector–operator algebraic formalism. Examples include atomic orbitals and molecular rotations. Offered every other year.

Prerequisite: Physics 2

A calculus-based course covering modern physics. The wave nature of light is studied in theory and in laboratory exercises and applied to the wave nature of matter. The quantization of angular momentum is studied in nuclear, electronic, and molecular systems. Offered every other year.

Prerequisites: Physics 2 and Multivariable Calculus or tutor permission

An introduction to classical mechanics as described using vector calculus, the calculus of variations, and numerical methods. Topics include coordinate transformations, non-inertial frames, damped & driven oscillators, and the normal modes of coupled oscillators. Offered every other year.

Prerequisite: Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph, Number & Measurement Q-Skill Strands.High School chemistry or approval from instructor.

What does quantum mechanics have to say about the electron? How does this view of the atom help us understand the periodic table of elements, chemical bonding and the world? Can the atom be divided into parts smaller than the protons, neutron and electron? Chemistry 1is a course in the composition of matter, chemical bonding and simple reactions.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 1.

The study of thermochemistry is the exploration of the heat exchanges that take place during chemical reactions. This course reviews concept of chemical kinetics (the mechanism by which chemical reactions take place, including calculation of the factors that affect their rate), chemical equilibrium, phase diagrams and the properties of solids, gases and liquids.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 1.

Organic Chemistry 1 is an introduction to the chemistry of hydrocarbon compounds. The course begins with the nomenclature of organic chemistry, and a review of the structures, properties and reactivity of the common functional groups (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, arenes, alcohols, ethers, esthers, thiols and sulfides). Aromaticity, chirality and stereoisomers, and spectroscopy are studied.

Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry 1.

This second part of the introduction to the chemistry of hydrocarbon compounds reviews the nomenclature, structures, properties and reactivity of additional common functional groups (benzenes, amines, aldehydes and ketones, enols, phenols, carboxylic acids, and alkenes).

Prerequisites: Chemistry 1 and Organic Chemistry 1.

This course focuses on the structure and function of the macromolecules that make up biological systems (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and membranes). By investigating the fundamental chemical properties of these macromolecules, we develop an understanding of how they are synthesized and broken down, how they interact with each other, and how they contribute to the workings of a cell. Topics will include: molecular mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription, and translation; gene expression; protein structure; membrane properties; biochemical signaling; experimental techniques for the study of macromolecular structure and function.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 2 and Organic Chemistry 2.

This course focuses on the chemical processes by which cells derive energy from their surroundings and use this energy to make the building blocks of life. The major metabolic pathways involved in the synthesis and breakdown of high-energy molecules are investigated, along with the mechanisms of regulating these pathways in the body. In addition, we examine the inner workings of enzymes, the remarkably proficient catalysts that carry out the chemical reactions of life. Links between errors in metabolism and human disease are also explored.

Prerequisites: Algebra, Graph & Number Q-Skill Strands

When resources are scarce, individuals and societies must choose how to use them – and who gets them. Economics is the study of such choices, and Political Economy grounds that study in historical, political, and philosophical context. In this course, we will ask many questions about the distribution of a society’s resources, as well as the role that markets and money play in that distribution. We will study the creation of money, what can and cannot be done with money, and how monetary policy can affect a country’s economy. We will also examine what markets are, how they work, and when they fail, as well as address the successes and failures of market systems, in theory and in practice. As we do so, we will consider the effects that government can have on an economy, when government can limit failure, and when government is limited itself. We will conduct our studies by drawing upon relevant theory, as well as examples from numerous countries at various points in time – including examples from the most recent economic crises – as we study the choices societies have made about how to best manage their resources, the political and philosophical influences behind those choices, as well as their consequences.

Democracy and Justice examines the theory and practice of politics from a variety of perpectives and disciplines. It considers the ways in which leading thinkers have responded to the particular political problems of their day, and how they have contributed to a broader conversation about human goods and needs, distributive justice, democracy, and the relationship of the individual to the state. It also helps students learn about current issues and structures in politics.

Prerequisites: Graph & Number Q-Skill Strands.

The aim of Global Perspectives is to orient the student toward contemporary problems around the world. Themes may include intercultural communications, globalization and development, international relations, and global social issues such as AIDS, poverty, and environmental degradation. The course helps the student become more conscious of how people can converse across cultures and ethnicities, step outside of their own experiences, and appreciate the positions of citizens from a variety of origins.

Please note that different classes have different subtitles that indicate the topic of the course.

Prerequisite: Graph & Number Q-Skills Strands.

Self, Culture, and Society will explore how our sense of self is affected by social and cultural forces. In this course, we will learn theoretical and experimental approaches to understanding the question of who we are. We will draw from the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and geography to investigate how we shape and are shaped by culture and society. Through examination of the interrelations between the individual, group, systems, and institutions, we can better understand the behaviours and actions of our everyday lives. Students interested in Questions within Social Sciences are encouraged to find out which block of SCS will best prepare them for future Concentration courses in their areas of interest.

Prerequisite: Foundation Political Economy.

Microeconomics is the study of the ways in which individuals and small groups of individuals make choices about their needs and wants. In Microeconomics – Experiments and Modeling, we will examine key economic theories that underlie commonly utilized mathematical models of individual behavior, engage with the mathematical models themselves, and compare theoretical predictions with empirical data. As we do so, we will study experiment design and implementation, allowing us to better understand one means of testing our models of behavior. Building on the concepts and techniques introduced in Political Economy, topics will include supply and demand in more depth, consumer theory (a mainstream economic model of utility (happiness) maximization by an individual), game theory (the study of strategic behavior between individuals), and a crash course in experimental economics (a field of economics with a goal of scientifically testing theory). The course also examines policy issues from a microeconomic perspective.

Prerequisite: Foundation Political Economy.

Macroeconomics is the study of aggregate behaviours of economies. Drawing on the concepts and ideas introduced in Political Economy, topics include: the measurement of national income; economic growth; cycles of boom and recession; unemployment; inflation; budget deficits and surpluses; the role and structure of the banking system; interest rates; and the use of monetary and fiscal policy to stabilize the economy. Macroeconomics is an essential tool for informed citizenship and active public engagement. Macroeconomics involves a considerable amount of class participation and discussion on central issues facing the economies of North America and beyond.

Prerequisite: Foundation Political Economy.

THIS COURSE IS TAGGED RHETORIC INTENSIVE – See Portal > Registrar’s Office for details.

Economics as a discipline often assumes people are rational and self-interested. Yet, when we look at the world around us, we see these assumptions violated, or at least they appear to be violated. In a course on Behavioral Economics, common economic assumptions are relaxed to allow for some behaviors that consistently appear in reality, such as over-optimism, procrastination, altruism, spite, that standard economic theory has difficulty explaining. In this course we will identify common irrationalities in the lives of well-loved literary characters, analyze our own behavior and that of the world around us, propose experiments to test for anomalous behaviors and their causes, design models to capture empirical findings, as well as discuss policies that encourage or discourage irrational behavior. We will also consider ways in which individuals, businesses, nonprofits, governments, can utilize the findings of Behavioral Economics, for better or for worse.

Prerequisites: Markets: Theory & Practice.

One of the following are recommended but not required: Behavioral Economics; Microeconomics; Poverty, Inequality & Development; or Statistics.

What is women’s work? What work is counted and what work isn’t? Whose work is counted and whose work isn’t? How/is that work valued? What affects the amount and type of work women do, and the allocation between work that “counts” and work that doesn’t? Drawing from the fields of Labor Economics, Economic History, and Feminist Economics, this course aims to provide students with measurement techniques, theoretical frameworks, and empirical strategies to start to answer these questions – and to consider how we might change the answers to these questions.

This course offers a critical introduction to the history of modern racial thinking in Western society, with particular emphasis on Canada and the U.S. Our examinations are organized around themes of power and resistance with respect to formations of slavery and colonialism. We will explore these themes as they have been taken up by scholars and activist academics in the overlapping fields of Black Studies, First Nations/Indigenous Studies, and Geography.

Prerequisite: Foundation Political Economy.

THIS COURSE IS TAGGED RHETORIC INTENSIVE – See Portal > Registrar’s Office for details.

Why are some countries rich and some poor? What has been done about it? What can be done about it? What should be done about it? In this course, we draw from the fields of Economic History, Experimental & Behavioral Economics, International Finance, Growth Theory, and Development Economics in an attempt to answer the questions posed. Students examine the theories behind and the implementation of official and unofficial policy, as well as grassroots efforts, directed towards decreasing poverty, lessening inequality, and encouraging development.

How do we make sense of the context-dependent peculiarities of and disparities in the distribution of health and illness in a particular place? This class endeavours to unpack this question by situating health and health care in South Africa within economic, political, demographic, historical, and sociocultural dynamics. We will examine the historical roots and contemporary realities of health and health care, paying particular attention to rural dynamics, histories of Apartheid and power, South Africa’s integration within contemporary global economic systems, internal inequalities and economic disparities, and political and ideological dimensions of health care delivery. In this course, students will familiarize themselves with various theoretical and categorical lenses surrounding health, health care delivery, the political economic of health, and the spatial dynamics of health, illness, and health care. These lenses will the serve as a basis through which to explore the situated, place-specific dynamics of health, illness, and health care delivery in South Africa.

Prerequisite: Minimum B- mark in the affiliated course, “The Politics of Health in South Africa,”

This travel class “Experiencing the Politics of Health in South Africa” will spend the block in South Africa, providing students with experiential learning opportunities to examine the multiple political, economic, sociocultural, structural, and spatial forces which differentially shape health, morbidity, and mortality for different bodies in South Africa. The course will highlight the successes and challenges of rural health care delivery in north-eastern South Africa, the variegated histories of health and illness in the country, the delivery of vaccines and related immunological health delivery issues, and the nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Visiting urban, peri-urban, and rural settings, students will learn from and with leading South African and international scholars, health practitioners, and academic researchers. Earning a minimum of a B mark in the affiliated October course, “The Politics of Health in South Africa,” is a prerequisite for participation.

Due to in-country vehicle logistics and safety concerns, this class is capped at 10 students and will be subject to a significant course fee. In addition to the course fee, you will be responsible for your round-trip airfare to Johannesburg. The course fee covers all lodging, food, travel, and activities. A $250 non-refundable good faith deposit is due by the final day of the April block. The remainder of the course fee (TBD) will be due September 1. Failure to meet either deadline will result in being dropped from the class.

We cannot really understand our own government without understanding the governments of other countries. What are the different ways individuals and groups participate in politics? Why are some states stable democratic systems while others are not? What relationship does a country’s political organization have with its economic performance and social stability? Can we really say that one government is “better” than another? This course provides students with the necessary tools to make informed judgments about “the government.”

What are the differences between liberals and conservatives? What is a fascist or a socialist? What does it mean to be an environmentalist or a feminist? The course examines the meaning of these terms in light of their historical development. It focuses on the political theory behind each ideology and it also touches upon the relevance of political ideology to contemporary (largely Western) politics.

What role has media played in politics and how has this changed? In the last forty years, the mass media has been transformed by new technology and by the corporations and governmental agencies that own and control it. Media and Politics examines the influence of corporate control on print and broadcast journalism, the role of advertising on the political process, and the significance of government regulation on the media. Students also briefly consider the rise of the Internet, the Web, the blogosphere, and alternative media on democratic politics. Throughout, students discuss how media shapes public opinion. Most examples and readings come from North American media.

Students delve into what makes Canada Canadian through the investigation of a variety of perspectives, theories, and academic disciplines. Rather than defining Canada as “not American”, this course seeks to look at what principles lie at the core of Canadian history, anthropology, politics, and economics and to link these to our culture, art, and geography.

Individuals identify themselves politically in a variety of ways?for instance, through gender, class, race, and generation. In this course, however, we examine three specific means by which individuals believe themselves to be political actors?ethnicity, religion, and nationalism. We ask a variety of questions here: What are the foundations of political identity? How do people forge identities? What is the relationship between political identity and the state? How do culturally powerful minorities assimilate or resist assimilation in a nation? Are there economic and religious factors that cause identities to form? Can differences in identity lead to political conflict? When do they lead to political conflict, what kinds of conflict occur, and how are they negotiated peacefully? In answering these questions we will examine cases from many different areas of the world. Students will also have the opportunity to choose projects consonant with their questions and representative of particular global issues.

Political ecology is an interdisciplinary framework that examines the complex intersections of political, economic, and socio-cultural dynamics of environmental phenomena. This course will blend foundational insights from human geography, cultural anthropology, sociology, and cultural ecology to problematize human-environment interactions through a consideration of Marxian political economy and critical engagements with history, multi-scalar power relationships, socio-cultural dynamics, and human agency. Employing this multi-disciplinary lens, we will examine a diverse set of phenomena, including the discursive (re)presentations of nature and science, struggles over land rights, vulnerability, conservation, the neoliberal governance of nature, environmental NGO movements, and land-based development.

This course has a $1200 field trip fee.

“Security”: Be it of nations, humans, or states, security is a concept that gives rise to an expanding range of government activities across the world. Almost two trillion US dollars are spent on military forces annually, nuclear arsenals are built and maintained, infrastructures of espionage and surveillance are constructed, and rights are curtailed or ignored in the name of ‘security’ – and there are demonstrable threats to security, however defined: Terrorism, war, pandemic disease, and even climate change. There is also ample room to be critical of ‘security’ as a rhetorical device to close down political debate, however, and of the power structures that are created and perpetuated by doing so. This course explores selected topics in security studies in depth; topics may include terrorism and counterterrorism; intelligence and surveillance; the paradox of Weapons of Mass Destruction; or the study of classic works in strategic thought.

This course examines the many facets of government in Canada. Themes discussed include Responsible Government and its conventions, the constitution and the Charter, cabinet government and the power of the Prime Minister, political parties, the electoral system, the senate, provincial and municipal jurisdiction, and civil society actors. Students will draw on material from both textbook readings and the broader scholarly literature on Canadian politics to engage with topics through discussion, simulations and small group activities.

Note: Additional Fees TBD

Why do we ski? Who participates in this sport and why? How do skiing and the areas where it occurs fit into larger societal power structures, inequalities, and patterns of global capitalism? How are these complex dynamics influenced by the winter hazards and environments where many go in search of untracked snow? This course will integrate classroom-based examinations of the often overlooked dynamics that underpin this leisure pastime and backcountry skiing-related experiences to explore our understandings of who chooses to participate in these activates, how we can explain those seemingly personal choices within a greater field of social forces, institutions, and representations, and how we can interrogate our own understandings and embodied experiences in the backcountry through the explanatory frameworks of the sociology of sport and political ecology. There will be an additional course fee for this class. All participants must be intermediate-advanced skiers and can expect a skills prerequisite to ensure this level of ability.

Prerequisite: Any Foundation Social Science Course

How do psychologists understand human social behaviour and cognition? In this course we will survey the theories, methods, and findings of social psychology. In doing so, we will critically assess the basis and nature of social psychological knowledge and consider its implications. Among the topics that may be addressed: social perception and cognition, the self, social influence, conformity, attitudes and persuasion, prejudice and discrimination; implicit attitudes and bias; group conflict; interpersonal relationships; prosocial behaviour; and aggression.

This field potentially provides a unifying theory of psychology. To do so, students must confront one of the areas that humans most dislike to investigate–the beastly side to our natures. Students look at our most intimate moments through a lens of selfish genes. The course begins with a brief introduction to the important theories in psychology and evolutionary biology. The course then considers substantive topics that can be addressed through the lens of evolutionary psychology, namely: mating strategies (long and short term), sexual jealousy, cheater detection, sexuality, kinship, cooperation, pregnancy, sickness, parenting, spatial memory, landscape preferences, and aggression and violence. As an emerging field, evolutionary psychology addresses new ways to study areas typically found in cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and linguistics.

Prerequisite: Statistics 1 (IND 3146)

In this course on research methods in psychology you will learn about scientific tools to become an effective critical consumer of research. There’s lots of good psychological science out there. But there’s also misuse of good science, some bad science, and over-reliance on non-science out there as well. The point of this class is to help you become a critical consumer who can spot good versus bad science and evaluate the validity of different scientific claims that you might encounter in the media, in casual conversation, or in a psychology research article or textbook.

This is a course that aims to provide you with information on the application of psychology, both as a science and profession, to legal settings. Some of the topics we will cover include eyewitness testimony, forensic assessment, law enforcement psychology, psychological theories of criminal behavior, and the roles and responsibilities of forensic psychologists will be covered.

How do psychologists understand sexuality and the role it plays in our lives? In this course we will explore psychological theories, methods, and findings related to human sexuality, including sexual expression, identity, and behaviour. In doing so, we will consider the values, biases, and attitudes that inform people’s views on sexuality and their behaviour toward others. Throughout the course ideas about, and the lived experiences of, human sexuality will be examined in relation to historical, social, and cultural contexts. In examining human sexuality, we will also critically assess the basis and nature of psychological knowledge on sexuality and consider its implications in the larger world. Among the topics that may be addressed: sexual development, sexual attitudes and stigma, sexual health, sexual agency and desire, intimate and sexual relationships, reproduction, sex work, sexual harassment, consent and sexual assault, and media influences on sexuality. Note: This course will include frank discussions of sexuality and sexual behaviour, including sensitive topics such as sexual harassment and assault. Students should keep this in mind when deciding whether to enroll.

This course aims to provide you with information on how we learn and retain knowledge by identifying and studying the methods to help us do so. We will examine this key element of the course through the lens of social, emotional, and cognitive processes involved in learning. We will discuss the major theories, empirical research, and research methodologies in Educational Psychology. Some of the topics we will cover include self-regulated learning, culture, learning disabilities, socio-emotional development, learning and motivation, and emerging educational technologies. By the end of this course, my goal is for you to have a broad knowledge of the field and its relevance to educational practice. I also hope you will think critically about our educational system and the ways in which knowledge from psychology might help to improve it.

Psychology has long sought to influence people’s lives. In this course we will explore some of the ways in which psychology has done so, through a series of case studies of psychology’s engagement with particular social issues. Through these case studies and student directed projects, we will consider how psychologists construct knowledge about social issues and the impact this knowledge has for both society and individuals. By way of the longstanding relationship between psychology and the public – including widespread public discourse about psychology – we will consider how society and social issues have become widely psychologized; that is, understood in psychological terms. We will interrogate how particular forms of psychological knowledge are taken up, transformed, circulated amongst individuals in ways that shape self-understanding. Throughout we will consider the ethical and epistemological issues that arise in studying and producing knowledge about human beings and the social issues that structure our lives. Possible case study topics include: feminism and psychology, intelligence testing and eugenics, race science and implicit bias, policing, (dis-)ability, politics and propaganda, capitalism and inequality, neurodiversity and advocacy, neo-liberalism and self-help, and (de-)colonization and indigenous psychologies.

This course serves as a critical introduction to the understandings (both theoretical and embodied), manifestations, and consequences of race and ethnicity in diverse international settings. What is race? What is ethnicity? How do these ideas function in material and discursive contexts? What are the (dis)similarities of the phenomena of race and ethnicity across the globe? How do race and ethnicity impact our own identities and experiences? By critically examining the social constructions of race and ethnicity in countries including Canada, South Africa, the United States, Brazil, and parts of western Europe, students will gain a deeper insight into the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional dimensions of one of the most profoundly consequential ideological social constructions of modernity.

The personal is (still) political. This course critically examines politics at many levels – from deep power relations to highly visible institutions – through the lens of gender. At the same time, it explores the political implications of social constructions of gender. Feminist and queer perspectives in political theory, comparative politics, and international relations will be brought to bear in an effort to understand and undermine structures of gender discrimination in society.

Prerequisite:Any Foundation Social Science Course

How do psychologists understand gender and the role gender plays in our lives? In this course we will survey psychological theories, methods, and findings related to gender, including debates over gender similarities and differences. In doing so, we will critically assess the basis and nature of psychological knowledge on gender and consider its implications. Among the topics that may be addressed: intersectionality, the emergence of gender identity, sexism, masculinity, emotions, gender and work, relationships, cognitive abilities, biological and evolutionary theories, and feminist psychology.

“When words gather together with energy, other places, other people, and other voices stir in a parallel life.” So anthropologist and novelist, Kirin Narayan, begins her superb book, Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekov (2012), that will serve as an entree into this course’s objectives to get us thinking AND writing about how anthropologists and other social scientists struggle (sometimes with great success) to represent the human condition in all its myriad manifestations. Pivoting around Narayan’s book, this course will not only explore key genres and eras (and errors) in ethnographic writing – from those well-known in the cannon such as Clifford Geertz, to those on the horizon like Yarimar Bonilla – it will also challenge students to engage in the craft itself through writing experiments (both as laid out by Narayan and what we come up together in class) and reflections upon those experiments. The end goal is to come away with a profound grasp on the complexities involved in writing about the distant and near – those “other places, other people” Narayan evokes – and to see how our voices, “gathered together with energy.stir in a parallel life” with them.

Prerequisites: Two foundation Social Science courses.

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the Urban Geographies of the Global South, with a specific focus on African cities in general and those in South Africa in particular. However, Urban Geographies of the Global South are very broad and as a result, there is a focus on selected themes which may include; urban planning and its challenges, urban service provision, protest movements, urban informality and urban planning, migration and urban inclusion and exclusion, issues and complexities around integrating the city of the Global South. These themes are intended to ground the students` understanding of complex urban patterns, processes and problems in urban environments with which they are not familiar. It is for this reason that, emphasis in this course is on African cities in general and those of South Africa in particular, which are regions with which I am familiar. Beyond this, the study of the urban geographies of Africa and South Africa in particular (which has an enduring imprint of apartheid planning), should assist the students to relate this, to other cities around the world. In this sense, the specificity of apartheid city and spatial planning and its impacts, which reverberate to this day, can be an important point of reference and/or comparison with other parts of the world, in terms of how race, inter alia, structures cities in other parts of the world. This provides an arena for critical thinking and could provide a firm foundation not only for those intending to work in city planning, but also others interested in advanced research in Urban Studies. On this basis, the course assists students to become conscious of and appreciative not only of urban geographical processes, but, also how people in urban environments different from their own, live, interact and organically mobilise. In the end, this should broaden the world view of students and contribute towards a global view of urban Geography in general. This is important to emphasise, given the accelerated rate of migration and globalisation, whose impact have a global reach. It is for this reason, that the course will conclude with a class debate on the triumph of neoliberal capitalism, urban regeneration and the fate of the urban poor in the city of the Global South. This should show that, while the discussion in the course is on the city of the Global South, people, events, goods and capital are inextricably linked, now more than ever before. This contemporaneity, provides a site for students to critically engage at a deeper and complex level with Urban Geographies of the Global South in particular, but also link these with global capitalism and its consequences on places, spaces, people and the environment.

Social sciences are set apart from the humanities and the life sciences by our ability to tackle human issues using scientific methods. Whereas a biologist might study bacteria using scientific methods, and a philosopher might use introspection to investigate the human condition, social scientists use scientific methods to understand the human world. In this class, students learn how to think like a social scientist. Students learn quantitative research methods, how to design elegant experiments, carry them out through data collection, analyse this data, and present their results.

Social sciences are set apart from the humanities and the life sciences by our ability to tackle human issues using scientific methods. Whereas a biologist might study bacteria using scientific methods, and a philosopher might use introspection to investigate the human condition, social scientists use scientific methods to understand the human world. In this class, students learn how to think like a social scientist. Students learn qualitative research methods, like ethnography, focus groups, interviews and surveys.

Emerging out of the feminist theorizations of the later 20th century, theories and empirical studies of masculinity have recently established an important new critical lens through which to understand the experiences, actions, perceptions, and emotions of diverse boys and men. This course, which focuses on the North American context, explores various discursive constructions of masculinity, the ways in which boys and men experience and embody their masculinities, and the various means in which the gendered social order influences men’s actions and understandings. We will employ an intersectional analysis to think about the ways that masculinities are influenced by race, sexuality, disability, body shape, and class. Some of the topics we will cover are theories of and responses to hegemonic masculinity, male socialization and guyland culture, male sexualities, male body image, male aggression and violence, experiences of fatherhood, media representations of masculinity, the centrality of work and sport to understandings of masculinity, and the social construction of masculinities in different historical and cultural contexts. The course is interdisciplinary and will use feminist theory, social science research, popular texts, multimedia masculinities, art, and autobiography to aid our exploration.

How do we talk about the environment and why does it matter? In this course, we will explore the ways in which environmental issues are codified into language and the subsequent implications. What is the significance of saying “global warming” versus “climate change”? What metaphors do we use and how do they frame our relationships to nature? How does the way we talk about the environment contribute to its destruction? To help unravel these questions, we will draw upon eco-linguistic theories and critical methodologies to show just how much our words matter.

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