Courses

A Cultural Study of Poverty and Homelessness

This online course invites students to consider the 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 Plants

Plants are fundamental to the food systems, and technologies, used by First Nations in BC in archaeological contexts.

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Archaeology and Textiles

Some of the oldest textiles in the world can tell us a lot about how people lived at the time they were made. By considering historical and contemporary textile practices, archaeologists can gain insights about archaeological contexts and artifacts.

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Artificial Intelligence and You

Artificial intelligence (AI) has exploded over the news, provoking great optimism, pessimism, and confusion. In this course, we will cover the history of AI through recent developments including self-driving cars, get a useful understanding of just what AI is - and is not - and explore the positions of figures from Elon Musk to Ray Kurzweil.

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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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Christmas in Old Victoria

Find out how Christmas was observed in Victoria during the 19th century, from the annual decoration of the churches to the competition between butcher shops for the fanciest store window displays.

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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. What does it mean to say a person "believes in conspiracy theories"?

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Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life

Ecclesiastes (Qohelet in Hebrew) is arguably the most enigmatic book of the Hebrew Bible. This course explores historical, literary and theological aspects of Ecclesiastes and its relevance in present times.

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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.

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Euripides' Herakles: PTSD and Tragedy in Fifth Century Athens

Athens in the latter half of the fifth century BCE was a city constantly at war. The audience of Greek tragedy was the audience of Athenian male citizens, all of them veterans of many conflicts. Dr.

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Fairfield History

Before 1843, what did the terrain of Fairfield look like, where were the village sites of the Indigenous inhabitants, and how were the streams and waterways used as a shortcut from Ross Bay to the Inner Harbour?

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Forensic Anthropology of the Human Skeleton

This six-part series will examine topics of forensic anthropology and concepts relating to the recovery and analysis of unidentified human remains in a medico-legal context.

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Ghosts and Legends of Victoria

As October draws to a close, people begin to think of Halloween. Historian John Adams has been collecting ghost stories from Victoria for 25 years and will share some of the classics and some of the most intriguing during this presentation.

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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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Harnessing Spiritual Power for Change

Buddha was a revolutionary spiritual teacher who taught at a time of great change and challenged social norms. Modern Buddhism is just as relevant during this time of significant cultural challenges. To bring about lasting meaningful change, we need to start at the source with our minds.  

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How to be Happy for Others

Someone else’s success may make us feel jealous or resentful. But, is happiness a commodity in short supply? In this course, we will learn how to step out of our self-centred view and rejoice in the happiness of others.

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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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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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Reinvigorating Cancer Fighting T Cells One Nutrient at a Time

All cells in our body require sufficient nutrients to function properly. After an infection, T cells, the soldiers of the immune system, reproduce to form an army that destroys foreign invaders. This process requires an enormous amount of nutrients.

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Shakespeare for Fun and Profit

We’re now accustomed to seeing Shakespeare’s plays featured on high school reading lists and as part of university course offerings.

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Stories in Stone: Rock Art Around the World

For thousands of years, paint and stone have been used all over the world to make art.

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Taming the Wild Elephant Mind

Do you ever feel that your mind is like a wild elephant, your thoughts running back and forth uncontrolled? The great Indian Buddhist master Shantideva reminds us that a wild elephant loose in a populated area will cause massive destruction, but an uncontrolled wild mind can cause even more harm.

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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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The Changing Face of Victoria's Chinatown in the 21st Century

In 1995 Victoria’s Chinatown was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is the oldest surviving Chinatown in Canada, it was the largest urban centre of Chinese population in Canada until the first decade of the twentieth centu

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The First Buddhist Women

Who were the first Buddhist women? What do we know of their lives? In this course you will learn about the first Buddhist nuns and the queens and servants who were devoted disciples of the Buddha’s teachings, though they never entered the monastic order themselves.

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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 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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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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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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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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