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Arts & Science Program

ARTSSCI 4MN1 / Local Explorations

An experiential learning course, which offers students the opportunity to explore issues of local significance and global relevance. Students may pursue independent study options or, when available, participate in assorted modules.

These are 1-unit modules that can be taken by any student in any level. The content and schedules vary annually. Details may be found below or by contacting Arts & Science Program Administrator Rebecca Bishop (rbishop@mcmaster.ca or ext. 23153). These courses are evaluated on a Pass/Fail basis. Some modules may require a fee to cover costs of travel and accommodation.

ARTSSCI 4MN1 may be repeated, if on a different topic. Enrolment is limited.

Please Note:

  • Payment of McMaster course credit fees (i.e. tuition and supplementary fees) for ARTSSCI 4MN1 is in addition to the module fees, if applicable.
  • Even if all funds for the trip are paid, you are ineligible to participate in the module if you have not enrolled in the course.
  • Submission of the necessary Release Form(s) must be submitted prior to the start of the course, if applicable.

The deadline to apply for all modules is Monday 23 August 2021 using the 2021/22 ARTSSCI 4MN1 Application Form.

Fall 2021 Modules

MOVEMENT AND INTEGRATION IN LIGHT OF DISRUPTION
Study abroad application approved. Passport renewed. Flights booked. Excitement level: High. And then….a pandemic strikes. This module is an adaptation of 4MN2 / Movement and Integration, which brought together Arts & Science students and international exchange students to explore the experience of studying abroad. The 4MN1 offering is open to students who had planned to go on exchange in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, but had their plans disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This one-unit course prompts critical reflection on the experience of planning to study in unfamiliar terrain and the inability to participate on an exchange due to COVID-19. The course will provide a space to process and explore the disruption and reimagine how we study, travel, and move in spaces while socially distanced and locked down. Further we will explore concepts of movement and integration in a pandemic and post-pandemic world. Ultimately, the course aims to help students develop an ongoing practice of reflective, lifelong learning.

Module Schedule:
Wednesday 29 September 2021 6-8pm (Zoom)
Wednesday 27 October 2021 6-8pm (Zoom)
Wednesday 17 November 2021 6-8pm (Zoom)
Wednesday 1 December 2021 6-8pm (Zoom)

Movement and Integration in Light of Disruption Course Outline

THEORIES OF DECISION-MAKING AND JUDGEMENT: A PRACTICAL COURSE FOR THE INDECISIVE ARTSCI
This course explores how we, as interconnected individuals, make decisions and exercise judgement. Using law as a starting point, we will discuss legal reasoning as a formal mode of decision-making, and specifically, how judges come to their decisions. We will then branch off into lessons from psychology about making both major life decisions and small everyday choices. Next, we will study algorithms and critically consider the possibilities and pitfalls of outsourcing decisions to machines. Finally, we will reframe decision-making and judgement through an equality lens and use fiction to explore imaginative dimensions of the topic. One aim of this course is to explore theories of decision-making from a variety of disciplines in order to help you feel more comfortable making decisions and exercising judgement.

Module Schedule:
Thursday 21 October 2021 6:30-8:30pm (Zoom)
Thursday 28 October 2021 6:30-8:30pm (Zoom)
Thursday 4 November 2021 6:30-8:30pm (Zoom)
Thursday 11 November 2021 6:30-8:30pm (Zoom)

Theories of Decision-Making and Judgement Course Outline

Winter 2022 Modules

PATTERNS OF SOCIAL CONNECTION IN THE CITY
Loneliness has been described as one of the biggest public health issues of our time. Although the urban environment is densely populated, social isolation is pervasive. Furthermore, cities have long been characterized by economic and racial segregation, reinforced by urban planning frameworks and policies. This course will explore the concept of “connection” in the urban environment through the lens of city planning, public health, and sociology. It will also examine foundational questions and thinkers around loneliness as part of the human condition.

In this course, you will learn about patterns of polarization through a variety of historical and contemporary case studies, as well as efforts to foster more connected communities. Through seminar-style discussions and reflective exercises, you will be challenged to relate course themes to your own experiences.

Please note that there is an additional fee of $55 for this module which will be collected in November 2021. Students will also be responsible for covering their own travel costs associated with participating in the module (e.g. GO Transit).

Module Schedule:
Saturday 15 January 2022 10am-5pm (Toronto)
Sunday 16 January 2022 10am-3pm (McMaster)
Thursday 27 January 2022 6:30-8:30pm (McMaster)

Patterns of Social Connection in the City Course Outline

LAW & ROBOTICS
This module explores key issues in the emerging area of robotics law. Students will engage with legislation, case law, and international legal instruments to understand the legal approach to robotics regulation. This is an opportunity for Arts & Science students to engage with the unique challenges that emerging technologies present to legal regulation.

Module Schedule:
Saturday 29 January 2022 10am-3pm (McMaster)
Sunday 30 January 2022 10am-3pm (McMaster)

Robotics & Law Course Outline

JUSTICE: CONCEPTS AND APPLICATIONS
In modern society, we often hear a call for “justice.” Using law as a touchpoint, and drawing on the diverse experiences of our classroom community, this course investigates how we might respond to that call. Beginning with philosophy, we will start by examining theories of justice, with a view to developing a better understanding of what “justice” means and how we know when we’ve achieved it. Next, using historical examples we will examine some of the tools of achieving justice – ranging from conventional political action to civil unrest – and evaluate them in terms of their efficacy and ethics. We will then discuss some of the consequences of justice, including the costs of achieving justice and the impact that the pursuit of justice has on the involved parties, the legal system, and society as a whole. Finally, we will explore applications of justice by discussing sentencing in the criminal context, and will attempt to answer for ourselves: what does justice require?

Module Schedule:
Wednesday 26 January 2022 6:30-8:30pm (McMaster)
Wednesday 2 February 2022 6:30-8:30pm (McMaster)
Wednesday 9 February 2022 6:30-8:30pm (McMaster)
Wednesday 16 February 2022 6:30-8:30pm (McMaster)

Justice: Concepts and Applications Course Outline

winter 2021 modules

THEORIES OF DECISION-MAKING AND JUDGEMENT: A PRACTICAL COURSE FOR THE INDECISIVE ARTSCI
This course explores how we, as interconnected individuals, make decisions and exercise judgement. Using law as a starting point, we will discuss legal reasoning as a formal mode of decision-making, and specifically, how judges come to their decisions. We will then branch off into lessons from psychology about making both major life decisions and small everyday choices. Next, we will study algorithms and critically consider the possibilities and pitfalls of outsourcing decisions to machines. Finally, we will reframe decision-making and judgement through an equality lens and use fiction to explore imaginative dimensions of the topic. One aim of this course is to explore theories of decision-making from a variety of disciplines in order to help you feel more comfortable making decisions and exercising judgement.

Module Schedule: 
Thursday 28 January 2021 6:30-8:30pm
Thursday 4 February 2021 6:30-8:30pm
Thursday 11 February 2021 6:30-8:30pm
Thursday 25 February 2021 6:30-8:30pm

Theories of Decision-Making and Judgement Course Outline

PATTERNS OF SOCIAL CONNECTION IN THE CITY
Loneliness has been described as one of the biggest public health issues of our time. Although the urban environment is densely populated, social isolation is pervasive. Furthermore, cities have long been characterized by economic and racial segregation, reinforced by urban planning frameworks and policies. This course will explore the concept of “connection” in the urban environment through the lens of city planning, public health, and sociology. It will also examine foundational questions and thinkers around loneliness as part of the human condition.

In this course, you will learn about patterns of polarization through a variety of historical and contemporary case studies, as well as efforts to foster more connected communities. Through seminar-style discussions and reflective exercises, you will be challenged to relate course themes to your own experiences.

Module Schedule:
Sunday 7 March 2021 10am-1pm
Monday 8 March 2021 10:30am-1:30pm
Sunday 14 March 2021 10am-1pm
Monday 15 March 2021 10:30am-1:30pm

Patterns of Social Connection in the City Course Outline

Winter 2020 Modules

THEORIES OF DECISION-MAKING AND JUDGEMENT: A PRACTICAL COURSE FOR THE INDECISIVE ARTSCI
It has occasionally been said that Artscis are indecisive (who us?). This course is about decision-making in different contexts. The aim is to help students become better at making decisions.

We begin with judicial decision-making, as a case study of a formal decision-making process. This study of judicial decision-making will introduce students to one aspect of the legal system. We will explore questions about how intuition, reason, and legal constraints like precedent influence decisions, and how writing reasons can help judges clarify their thinking. We will discuss what lessons judicial decision-making offers for personal decision-making.

We will then look at what other disciplines have to say. Behavioural psychology offers insights into how our brains work when we make decisions. Feminist relational theory posits decision-making, beyond an individual exercise, as a process where we think about ourselves embedded in relationships with others.

This course will involve readings, response papers and practical exercises, based on which we hope students develop a personal praxis for making decisions they stand behind. There may be an opportunity for students to present what they learn at the World of Work Forum.

Module Schedule:
Sat. 18 – Sun. 19 January 2020 9:30am-3:30pm (LRW-3038, McMaster University)

Instructors:
Leanna Katz, Arts & Science alum (2012)
Daniel Carens-Nedelsky, Arts & Science alum (2012)

Theories of Decision-Making and Judgement Course Outline

A CELEBRATION OF WINTER AS PLACE
Winter is the misunderstood season. We will explore, with an Algonquin Park cabin stay, winter as a fundamental expression of Canadian identity through the lenses of history, geography, and literature. While travelling by snowshoes and skis, and of course sitting around the fire, we will examine key stories and characters in our Canadian understanding of winter, including Franklin, wendigos, Sam Magee, and Grey Owl. This exploration will also include the “idea of North” and the Norwegian friluftsliv approach to winter outdoor life. The central goal is to embrace the winter season as a “place” in our personal psyche and Canadian consciousness.

To do this we must be active in a thriving winter place where we are engaged in winter chores of chopping wood for our fires, drawing water from our ice hole, and clearing roofs of burdensome snow. We will learn the key winter activities of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, building a snow shelter (Quinzee) and setting up a wall tent wood stove camp.

Please note that there is an additional trip fee ($200) to cover accommodations, transportation, and equipment rentals. A $100 deposit is due upon application submission.

Module Schedule:
Thurs. 9 January 2020 5:30-6:30pm (LRW-3038, McMaster University)
Sat. 15 – Tues. 18 February 2020 (Algonquin Park)

Instructor:
Dr. Bob Henderson, retired Arts & Science instructor
Jeff Cameron
Zach de Jong, Arts & Science alum (2018)

Winter as Place Course Outline

Fall 2019 Modules

URBAN PLACEMAKING
This one-unit module will explore the concept of urban placemaking, a collaborative process of animating public and private spaces to strengthen the social and cultural fabric of cities. We will look at community-driven placemaking aimed at solving local issues such as food insecurity, economic instability, and social isolation, as well as developer-led placemaking initiatives with (often controversial) goals of revitalizing entire neighbourhoods.

This is an experiential, place-based course. We will discuss urban placemaking initiatives around the world, including the “Rebuild Foundation” in Chicago, “Project Row Houses” in Houston, and Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin. We will conduct site visits of several Toronto-based projects, including “Daniels Spectrum,” a community cultural hub that was built as part of the Regent Park Revitalization Plan. Using these spaces as case studies, students will participate in facilitated discussions about the challenges associated with ensuring that they are vibrant, community-driven, and financially sustainable.

Please note that there is an additional fee of $15 for this module and students will be responsible for covering their own travel costs associated with participating in the module (e.g. GO Transit).

Module Schedule:
Saturday 5 October 2019 10am-5pm (Toronto, various locations)
Sunday 6 October 2019 10am-3:30pm (One James North-112, Hamilton)
Monday 21 October 2019 6:30-8:30pm (LRW-3038, McMaster University)

Instructors:
Jackie Brown, Arts & Science alum (2014)
Ros Pfaff, Arts & Science alum (2013)

Urban Placemaking Course Outline