Notes: week 13


In the last two weeks of class, we’ll return to the questions set up at the very beginning of the class. We will have illustrious distinguished UBC colleagues as our guests in class to talk, to answer your questions, and perhaps to suggest some other questions that we could be thinking about. I’ve linked their names below to their department webpages, so you can find out more about each of them.

(The following is subject to change…)





Topics: a comment on the quote below or answers to any of the following questions:

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.” (Toni Morrison)

  • What is a liberal arts education?
  • What is a course in the Faculty of Arts?
  • What does it mean to be a student at a university?
  • What’s the point of reading?
  • What’s the point of lifelong learning?
  • What are the personal, public, social, and cultural purposes of all these things?

(Anthropology & Sociology Building, room 203)

  • you will all be presenting (in one way or another) what you’re working on, or thinking about working on, to your fellow students. This does not have to be in any way finished: it can even simply be a list of questions that you’re considering, and open to feedback. I do not expect any of you to have finished final projects at this stage.
  • Form / format: I’ve said “poster” as a default, as it’s standard in social sciences and sciences, and common for undergraduate research across the disciplines, and indeed frequent in graduate research presentation (and increasingly for all kinds of scholars at conferences, plus other formats other than the traditional research paper). That poster can be the usual “small medieval triptych” sort, or a single sheet, or sandwich-boards, or other form of visual depiction. This could, at its simplest, be a very large “?” And an incitement to others to ask you questions…
  • You may also (or alternatively) do this in costume.
  • You won’t each be presenting your project to a whole audience, one after another; you’ll be going around the room visiting each other and your “market stalls.”
  • I will take photos and post them up here on the course blog, in the weekly comments section
  • Game element: each of you should email me after class with a list of your favourite proto-projects (and for each: names of people, title, brief description & evaluative comment). At least three, at most… all of them! I will collate your comments and take them into account in marking. Your evaluations will count for at least 50% of the marks for that presentation and I’ll post them up (anonymising you, of course) on the course blog, in the weekly comments section.
  • When I’ve done this kind of exercise in the past, there have been cases of students overwhelmingly loving a project which didn’t wow me, and I went with the student vote in grading.
  • Worth 25% of your final grade