Fields of Research

Field 1: Comparative Perspectives and Cultural Boundaries

This field critically engages questions of boundaries within the humanities. We locate our analyses among and investigate the intersections between linguistic, national, geographic, temporal and medial boundaries. Theories and methods draw from a variety of both well-established and emerging fields of study, such as history, philosophy, comparative literature, gender studies and cultural studies. Similarly, we approach cultural texts – written, oral and visual – from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.

Areas of particular interest include processes of cultural exchange and appropriation between “East” and “West”; hemispheric approaches to literature and culture; the interplay between dominant and marginalized culture(s); the contours of alternative histories; displacement and cross-cultural performance; transnational perspectives on historical, philosophical, political and aesthetic developments; cultural encounters through translations; relationships and tensions between the local and the global and between “elite” and “popular” cultures; critical perspectives on globalization and cultural production; and the social construction of the very notions of borders and boundaries. The program offerings reflect current interdisciplinary approaches to the study of culture, such as hermeneutics, social theory, deconstruction, post–colonialism and feminism.

Field 1 - Courses Offered

Courses recently offered in the field:

  • HUMA 6101 3.0 Narratives of the Other: The West and China Since 1900
  • HUMA 6105 3.0 Attacks on and Defences of Literature
  • HUMA 6108 3.0 The Judean War 66-73/4 C.E.
  • HUMA 6109 3.0 Cultural History of Europe 1400–1800
  • HUMA 6110 3.0 Oral Narrative Discourse: Theory and Methodology
  • HUMA 6112 3.0 Research in Life Writing Texts
  • HUMA 6115 3.0 Straddling Modernity: Selfhood in 20th Century Japanese Literature, Film & Art
  • HUMA 6119 3.0 Book Culture East and West
  • HUMA 6120 3.0 Twentieth Century Revisionist Mythmaking
  • HUMA 6121 3.0 The Humanist Tradition
  • HUMA 6126 3.0 Language and the Humanities
  • HUMA 6128 3.0 Women and Modernity in the Non–Western World
  • HUMA 6129 3.0 Black Women’s Writing in the African Diaspora
  • HUMA 6130 3.0 Critical Methodologies for Humanities Research
  • HUMA 6130 3.0 Translation Studies in the Humanities
  • HUMA 6132 3.0 Race–thinking, Modernity and Postcolonial Melancholia
  • HUMA 6134 3.0 The Literatures of Testimony
  • HUMA 6136 3.0 Literature and Politics
  • HUMA 6137 3.0 Post–Orientalism and Post–Occidentalism
  • HUMA 6138 3.0 Autobiographies of Change
  • HUMA 6140 3.0 Western Thought of Empire
  • HUMA 6141 3.0 Age of Passions
  • HUMA 6142 3.0 No Place for Fairness: Indigenous Rights, Memory & Oral Traditions in Canada
  • HUMA 6143 3.0 Translating Bildung, I: The German-Language Humanities Tradition from Luther to Schleiermacher
  • HUMA 6144 3.0 Translating Bildung II : The German –language Humanities tradition From Schleiermacher to Benjamin
  • HUMA 6145 3.0 Jewish-Arab Relations in Mandatory Palestine and the State of Israel
  • HUMA 6146 3.0 Borders of Knowledge: Metis Thought in International Contexts
  • HUMA 6147 3.0 Seminar in Psychoanalytic Theory and Pedagogy
  • HUMA 6148 3.0 Narrative: Theory and Interpretation
  • HUMA 6149 3.0 Theorizing Cultural Translation
  • HUMA 6150 3.0 The Fiction of Postmodern Multiculturalism
  • HUMA 6151 3.0 Social Movements and Cultural, 1960 to the Present: Theory and Praxis
  • HUMA 6152 3.0 Black Song: Introduction to African American Poetry
  • HUMA 6153 3.0 The Reader: Examining the Culture of Readers and Representations of Readers in Literature, Film, and Other Arts
  • HUMA 6154 3.0 Introduction to Mindfulness
  • HUMA 6155 3.0 Comparative and World Literature Seminar: History and Practice
  • HUMA 6156 3.0 Orientalism vs. Occidentalism: Envisioning the Other in Japan and the West
  • HUMA 6157 3.0 Comparative and World Literature
  • HUMA 6158 3.0 Law, Literature, and Visual Culture: Case Studies
  • HUMA 6159 3.0 The Nation and its Women: Case Studies from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora
  • HUMA 6160 3.0 Knowledge’s ‘Other’: Perspectives on Ignorance
  • HUMA 6161 3.0 The Child, in Theory

Field 2: Religion, Values and Culture

This field is dedicated to exploring the complex ways in which texts in various disciplines across the humanities involve and express the interactions, past and present, among religion, values, and culture. Religious “texts” are understood in the broadest terms possible, as encompassing various media, genres and materials. Courses in this field examine different modes of culture – material, social, institutional, symbolic, and intellectual – in light of the values that are embodied in and presupposed by diverse religions and philosophies. In focusing on texts from one or more traditions, students will have the opportunity of exploring, in interdisciplinary and comparative contexts, the intertwined processes of religious, ethical, and cultural formation.

The living interconnection between religious and cultural values – the dynamic ways in which the religious both shapes and is shaped by society – will be examined in light of issues such as the following: the interactions among religious, philosophical, and aesthetic expressions of cultural identity; the political dimensions of religious thought, including, for example, the interplay between religion and post-colonial theory; the ways in which perceptions of gender are rooted in our religious and philosophical heritages (and thus the ways in which religious movements have both shaped and been shaped by issues related to gender); the relationship between tradition and change in the modernization of religious identity; the role that interpretation (hermeneutics) plays in philosophical encounters with religious texts; the interrogation of the complex relations between the religious and the secular, the divine and the human, and faith and reason; the consideration of religious texts as both the creator and product of historical change, and thus of the paradox that, as these texts are interpreted by their readers, they equally interpret their readers. The study of the above and other issues will encompass not only different traditions but also different geographical locations and historical periods.

Field 2 - Courses Offered

Courses recently offered in the field:

  • HUMA 6200 6.0 Modern European Thought in Light of the Bible
  • HUMA 62013.0 Jews and Christians Interpret the Bible
  • HUMA 6204 3.0 Holocaust Narratives: Exploring the Limits of Representation
  • HUMA 6205 3.0 Gender and Religion
  • HUMA 6206 3.0 Tradition and Change: Sephardi Jewries from 1492
  • HUMA 6207 3.0 Religion and Contemporary Cinema
  • HUMA 6208 3.0 Religion, Literature and Post Colonial Cultures
  • HUMA 6209 3.0 Jews and Christians in the Roman World
  • HUMA 6210 3.0 Faith and Politics in the Middle Ages
  • HUMA 6211 3.0/6.0 Social and Cultural History of Religion in Canada
  • HUMA 6212 3.0 The Birth of Monotheism and Biblical Religion
  • HUMA 6215 3.0 Secularism and its Challenges
  • HUMA 6216 3.0 Moses through the Centuries
  • HUMA 6217 3.0 Honouring the Gods in the Ancient Mediterranean
  • HUMA 6218 3.0 Islamic Art, Law and Society
  • HUMA 6220 3.0 Ethics and Interpretation: Readings in European Thought
  • HUMA 6222 3.0 Jews, Language and Society
  • HUMA 6223 3.0 Israeli Culture and Identity: Between History and Memory
  • HUMA 6224 6.0 Rome and Judea: Politics and War
  • HUMA 6225 3.0 Kant, Hegel & Kierkegaard Thinking Modernity: From the Crisis or Reason to the Dialectic of Fear and Trembling
  • HUMA 6226 3.0/6.0 Mediterranean Cities & the Muslim World: Modernity, Colonialism & Culture (16th to 20th centuries)
  • HUMA 6227 3.0 Cultural and Historical Geography of Jewish Settlement in Palestine/Israel, 1850-1980
  • HUMA 6228 3.0 Religion, Network and Underground Alliances at the Turn of the 20th Century: Europe and South and Southeast Asia
  • HUMA 6229 3.0 The Return of the Religious in Contemporary Continental Thought
  • HUMA 62306.0 Reason, Revelation, and the Revolution in Thought: Reading Kant and Hegel

Field 3: The Cultures, Technologies and Sciences of the Modern

This field explores the cultures of the modern in various ways – as historical and structural transformations, as aesthetic movements and as contributions to a conception of modernity. It interrogates technologies not only as the instruments and mechanisms pervading modern cultures, but also as constitutive forms through which we access our world and which inform the ways in which we view cultural phenomena as well as ourselves. It also interrogates the ways in which science acts as a method and a model not only in the natural sciences, but also in the human sciences and in philosophy as a science of knowledge.

Areas critically examined in this field include: the transition from the pre-modern to the modern; the heuristic and ontological status of alternative modernities; the connections between modernity and globalization; the boundaries of technology and the human; the development of modern cultural institutions such as the university, the museum, the cinema, the café and the world exhibition; the emergence of a set of theories and methods associated with the human sciences; the scientific and technological practices that have contributed to the making of the modern world; the emergence of a public sphere, and interactions between national, global, elite and popular cultures; the city as a crucible of the modern; and contemporary challenges and contestations of the project of the modern. Courses draw upon a wealth of interdisciplinary scholarship based on aesthetic and cultural analysis, the history of philosophical ideas and political thought, science and technology studies and cultural/human geography.

Field 3 - Courses Offered

Courses recently offered in the field:

  • HUMA 6303 3.0 Culture and Technology
  • HUMA 6304.3.0 Future Cinema
  • HUMA 6305 3.0 Historical Perspectives on Women and Nature
  • HUMA 6306 3.0 The Wired World: Philosophy, Technology & Communication
  • HUMA 6308.3.0 Images of Animals
  • HUMA 6309 3.0 Essays in the Philosophy of Freedom
  • HUMA 6310 3.0 Contexts of Victorian Science
  • HUMA 6311 3.0 Knowing Dreaming
  • HUMA 6316 3.0 Encountering Natural Worlds
  • HUMA 6319 3.0 Culture and Modernity
  • HUMA 6319 3.0 The Subject in/and Culture: Subjectivity as an Issue for the Humanities
  • HUMA 6321 3.0 Digital Youth Culture
  • HUMA 6322 3.0 Modernism, Interdisciplinarity and the Arts
  • HUMA 6323 3.0 Philosophy and Its Others: Recent Reflections
  • HUMA 6324 3.0 Hermeneutics as Literature, Philosophy, and Religion: Reading Shakespeare, Spinoza, Kierkegaard
  • HUMA 6325 3.0 The Idea of Utopia: Introduction to Utopology
  • HUMA 6326 3.0 Theories of Material Culture
  • HUMA 6327 3.0 Intermedial Bloomsbury” Literature, visual Art, and the Omega Workshop
  • HUMA 6328 3.0 Israeli Film and Filmmakers: Culture, conflict, Identity and Cinematic Representation
  • HUMA 6329 3.0 Digial Humanities and Social Change
  • HUMA 6330 3.0 Contemporary Perspectives on Sound