Special Topics in Canadian Studies

Code: CS200
Apply this course towards: Canadian Studies

Course description

Special Topic - How to Change the World: Grassroots Organizations in Canada

Grassroots community organizations are at the heart of much social, environmental and economic change in Canada. They have historically been the "smalls groups of committed citizens" that "change the world" for the better. This course explores the history, achievements and possibilities inherent in grassroots organizations in Canada, using examples from across the country but with a focus on British Columbia movements.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Situate and understand the factors motivating grassroots organizations within Canada
  • Analyze the major achievements of selected social, economic, environmental and Indigenous grassroots movements in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Examine Indigenous resurgence and activism in the context of grassroots organizations
  • Understand the basic workings of a grassroots organization local to your community and gain experience volunteering with that organization
  • Document your own educational journey in a way that demonstrates understanding of and engagement with current grassroots organizations, including the values and goals that guide them.

Prerequisites: Permission of Program Coordinator. Please call 250-721-7589 for more information.

This course will be offered in an online asynchronous format from September 4 to December 4, 2024.

How to register

If you are interested in taking this course on a non-credit basis, please call 250-721-7589 for more information. Please note that if you wish to take the course for credit, and you are not currently a UVic student, you will need to apply to the University of Victoria for admission.

Special Topic - A Cultural Study of Poverty and Homelessness

This course explores the homelessness crisis through the lens of Canadian social policy formulation focusing on connections between past policy decisions and current problems. Evaluates policy solutions and contextualizes the Canadian experience with that of other jurisdictions. Themes include mental illness and addiction; racial, gender and age determinants of poverty and homelessness past and present; Indigenous homelessness; neoliberalism; inequality and the politics of defining and measuring poverty.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • historicize Canadian homelessness and poverty
  • explain the debate over poverty in Canada, the discussion about addiction, and how this influences policy solutions
  • analyze the role of legal doctrines and decisions, and past policies to the problem and solution of homelessness
  • evaluate the promises of harm reduction as an ideology and its efficacy in practice
  • assess the potential of rehabilitation and recovery through current practices
  • assess the potential of rehabilitation and recovery through experiments elsewhere, such as the San Patrignano therapeutic community model
  • evaluate the debate over choice theory and its possible relevance to homelessness and addiction
  • assess the promises of legalization
  • interpret the role of marketing and malpractice by ‘big pharma’ and health care providers in addiction and homelessness
  • differentiate between temporary and sustainable solutions to poverty and homelessness
  • demonstrate a knowledge of the racial and gendered aspects of poverty, addiction and homelessness