Courses

A Cultural Study of Poverty and Homelessness

This online course invites students to consider the apparent homelessness crisis through the lens of Canadian social policy formulation. The focus is on the connections between policy decisions of the last half century and current problems, as well as evaluation of current policy solutions.

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A History of the James Bay Neighbourhood

Learn about the history of James Bay, Victoria’s oldest residential district, from the 1840s to today.

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An Introduction to Humanities

An introduction to the various ways in which scholars from different disciplines in the Humanities interpret, analyze and evaluate texts.

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An Introduction to the Art and Architecture in the Islamic World

This course will examine the development of Muslim religious and social practices that gave rise to a tradition of “Islamic” art and architecture. We will look at the requirements for educational and complexes of charitable foundations such as hospitals and soup kitchens, and the evolution of places for religious assembly, including mosques.

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Archaeology and Textiles

Some of the oldest textiles in the world can tell us a lot about how people were living in the past. Unlike stone and metal, threads and cloth often break down fairly quickly at archaeological sites, and dyes and paints can disappear or change colour through time.

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Backyard Botany (at Mary Winspear Centre)

As a gardener, have you ever wondered why your plants behave the way they do? Why companion planting works so well? Or why some plants prefer shade but others full sun? This workshop will let you in on the science behind gardening.

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Canada and International Trade: The Evolving Policy Environment

In this session we will discuss Canada’s most important international trade relationships and how recent changes in the international policy environment may affect the Canadian economy.

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Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Current Research

Dementia is not a natural part of aging. It is an umbrella term that encompasses over one hundred neurodegenerative diseases that affect memory, judgment, and cognitive skills severely enough to interfere with daily life.

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America and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

In this talk, Dr. Bunton will review the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Trump era, situating recent developments within both the broader context of US policy towards the Middle East over the last three decades, as well as changes in the regional dynamics among Arab states.

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Empire and Desire: The Ottoman Palace in Western Imagination

Topkapı Palace served as the seat of Ottoman imperial power for 400 years. Built in the 15th century following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans, the Palace was not only the focus of political power, intrigues and riots.

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Hagia Sophia through Centuries

The majestic Hagia Sophia, Divine Wisdom, built as the principal church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 6th century in what is now Istanbul, saw empires rise and fall.

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Homer and Greek Archaeology: Excavating the Iliad and the Odyssey

The greatest poems of ancient Greece, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, are not only foundational to the study of Greek literature, history, and religion, they are of key importance to the history of Greek archaeology as a field of modern research.

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Human Evolution

Bringing together the evidence from the fossil record, recent genetic advances, and the archaeological data, we will examine the biological and cultural characteristics that define humans, as well as the major theories for how such characteristics evolved.

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Introduction to Canadian Contemporary Issues

An introduction to contemporary issues in Canadian society including: politics, economic and social structures, cultural and arts policy, science and technology, multiculturalism, bilingualism, First Nations and women's issues.

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Introduction to Canadian Culture

An introduction to the multidisciplinary study of cultural structures and expression in Canada, including such forms as literature, fine arts, mass media and communications.

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Issues and Ideas in Canadian Environmentalism

This course offers an opportunity to explore how the physical environment of this country shapes the Canadian people.

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Monasteries and Manuscripts – An Austrian Odyssey (at Amica and UVic)

Austrian monasteries are not just architectural masterpieces on the outside, they are also amazing repositories of knowledge on the inside. These monasteries and abbeys house vast libraries of manuscripts (hand-written books) and incunabula (early printed books) that preserved the knowledge of the ancients through the troubles and turmoil of Church and State.

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Monasteries and Manuscripts II – An Austrian Odyssey (at Amica and UVic)

In this second of a multi-part series on Austrian monasteries, we’ll continue our investigations into the libraries, scriptoria and “cabinets of curiosities” that brought together and preserved the expanding universe of science and exploration for medieval and Renaissance Europe.

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Monasteries and Manuscripts II – An Austrian Odyssey (at Mary Winspear Centre)

In this second of a multi-part series on Austrian monasteries, we’ll continue our investigations into the libraries, scriptoria and “cabinets of curiosities” that brought together and preserved the expanding universe of science and exploration for medieval and Renaissance Europe.

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Recent Warm Anomalies in the Ocean (at Mary Winspear Centre)

In late 2013, the Northeast Pacific Ocean gradually warmed relative to our historic records. By February 2014, a patch of over a thousand square kilometres and 100 metres deep was nearly three degrees Celsius warmer than usual. The effects of this "blob" were experienced across North America, and lingered in the coastal waters of the Salish Sea for nearly three years.

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Stories in Stone: Rock Art Around the World (at Mary Winspear Centre)

For thousands of years, paint and stone have been used all over the world to make art. From painting on rock surfaces, to meticulous grinding of pigments and stone, rock art in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs is one of the most intriguing cultural expressions.

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Stories in Stone: Rock Art Around the World (at UVic)

This introductory class will examine rock art as a worldwide phenomenon, and then focus on the rock art of First Nations on the Central Coast of BC. There will be a hands-on component where we will try some of the techniques discussed, so be sure to wear old clothes.

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The Great Trail - A National Treasure; A Regional Opportunity (at Mary Winspear Centre)

Come and find out more about The Great Trail, the only cross-country trail connecting Canadians from sea to sea to sea. On Vancouver Island, the trail is in your backyard and accessible for short or long treks. Learn more about the pioneering vision, the making of The Great Trail, the route on Vancouver Island, and key opportunities to walk or bike along the trail in the Capital Region. Discover this gem and set your sights on your next adventure, be it hiking, biking, horseback riding or, in some areas, canoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling!

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The Sculpting of Myth and Imagination

The flat lands of Tuktoyaktuk to the ice cap of Greenland and … the little grub that defies hibernation.

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The Social Construction of Borders

Borders help to define citizenship and to exclude the unwelcome and Other. But what of culture? Does cultural identity stop (or start) at the border?

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The World of Russian Culture

In this course you will explore the world of Russian culture from its early classic art-form to today’s modern digital era. We will look at major cultural events and the most significant works by Russian writers, composers, painters and dancers.

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Trouble with Peace: A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (at Mary Winspear Centre)

When Gaza orchestrated its Great March of Return in 2018 we were reminded  that 70 years after its inception, the State of Israel still does not have peace with its neighbours, and the Palestinians still do not have an independent country, even though there have been strenuous efforts in recent years to find  solutions to this vexing problem.

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University 101

A desire to learn is all you need for University 101. This non-credit course in the humanities is for you if your economic and social circumstances normally pose obstacles to university education (e.g., low income, mental health challenges, single parenthood, homelessness).

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University 102

A desire to learn is all you need for University 102. This non-credit course in the social sciences is offered to people whose personal, economic and social circumstances might pose obstacles to university education (e.g., low income, physical or mental health challenges, work and family responsibilities or lack of opportunity).

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University 201

University 201 is a course for people who have completed at least one of the University 101 or 102 courses. The course runs in all three academic terms and covers a wide range of different topics on a monthly basis.

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What to do When Things go Wrong

When things don’t work out the way we want them to, our usual reaction is to become upset or disappointed. In this course you will learn how to cultivate the mind of patience that is able to bear suffering or harm.

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Chinese Victoria: History of Victoria's Chinatown

Victoria's Chinatown is the oldest, permanent, urban Chinese community in Canada—dating back to the 1858 Gold Rush on the Fraser River.

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Victorian Cities of the Dead

Some of BC’s most impressive 19th century cemeteries are located in Victoria, and instructor John Adams knows them intimately.

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How to be Guided by Love

Imagine the world filled with loving kindness, with no fighting, violence, hostility or prejudice. Changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

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The Art of Self-Acceptance

Buddhist teachings on self-acceptance show us how to be our own friend, teacher and guide. However, we are sometimes our own worst enemy, causing ourselves pain and torment.

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Networks and Borderlands: Bordering Processes in the 21st Century

In this first lecture, we'll establish the framework for our future discussions. What do borders look like in the 21st Century? Does it make sense to talk about borders in digital spaces, and if so, what do they look like? How do online social movements and ideologies engage in "bordering processes"?

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Networks of Rage: Far-Right Extremism Online

In this lecture, we will assess how far-right activism in North America has used digital landscapes to effectively transcend national borders. We will examine some of the ways that far-right ideologies emerge, how they use the internet and social media first to organize, and then to spread internationally.

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"The Storm Rises": Contemporary Extremism in North America

When Canadian extremists attack mosques and pedestrians in Canadian cities, there is often a digital trail that leads investigators to international, a-territorial networks. What are these groups? How do they recruit and who are their targets?

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Conspiracy in the Age of COVID

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on our lives, and one of the most troubling aspects of this has been the sharp rise in COVID-related conspiracy theories.

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The Big Melt? Canada’s Interests in a Changing Arctic

The Arctic continues to experience unprecedented ecological, political and social transformation, compounding the already dramatic changes of the 20th century.

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Kids These Days and the Ongoing Evolution of Language

Current language practices are simultaneously a reflection of historical linguistic states and a window to future linguistic states. In this talk Dr. Alex D’Arcy explores this relationship between past, present and future, problematizing the fact that language change unfolds as a continuous succession of present moments.

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The Beginning of Colonialism in Mowachaht Territory

This presentation will give an overview of Spanish imperial activity at Nootka Sound in the summer of 1789 when Captain Esteban José Martínez built and dismantled a naval outpost on Nootka Island. As Great Britain and Spain came close to war, Chief Maquinna and the Mowachaht experienced the beginnings of European colonialism in their territory.

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