Course Descriptions for Fall 21 and Winter 22


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LLIR Fall 2021 Course Descriptions

Brain and Mind with Terry Picton
The human brain is a most marvelous thing: the embodiment of mind. This course will initially consider the anatomy of the brain and the physiology of its neurons. Subsequent presentations will then describe how the brain makes possible those mental functions that make us human: perception, consciousness, will, language, emotion and memory. Each session will also explain how these functions might become disordered in diseases such as stroke, epilepsy, aphasia, dementia, and psychosis.

Wonderful Things: The Life, Death and Treasures of Tutankhamun with Laura Ranieri Roy  
In November 1922 – almost 100 years ago – the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and magnificent gold treasures shook the world. This minor king of Egypt died before his 20th birthday and yet his legacy is one of the most extraordinary in all of ancient history. In this special in-depth art and history course, we tell the fascinating story of King Tut and learn the astonishing details of his life, death and tomb discovery by Carter and Lord Carnarvan. We’ll also explore the most remarkable of his 3000 treasures – penetrating the secrets behind these true masterpieces of ancient art – which today are being conserved and restored for the new Grand Egyptian Museum.

Giants of Contemporary Literature with Joanna Krongold
This course will examine the works of six contemporary giants of North American literature. The first half of the term will focus on the Canadian literary landscape through works by Michael Ondaatje, Anne Michaels, and Esi Edugyan; the second half of the term will focus on the American literary landscape through works by Toni Morrison, Tony Kushner, and Philip Roth. Together we will explore how and why the literary imagination is used in response to personal, political, and racial trauma, and in turn how those traumas affect and transform the imaginative capacity of the traumatized individual. We will pay close attention to the intersections and divergences between these six authors, investigating how gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and religion affect contemporary literature. Alongside our primary texts, we will therefore engage with theories of trauma representation, magical realism, and fantasy in order to illuminate works that range from novels to plays.

 The Lure of Being Elsewhere: The Histories of Tourism with Kevin James
What inspires us to travel, and what motivates us to choose places to tour? Employing an historical perspective, this course charts the growth of modern travel, from the long odyssey of the Grand Tour of Europe that marked an entrée into the British elite, to the rise of the package holiday. It explores colonial tours and travellers, wartime travel, the enduring rhetorical contrast between the resourceful, inquisitive and refined ‘traveller’ and the incurious ‘tourist’ who ventures abroad in search only of the familiar, and asks how those stereotypes originated. In exploring modern travel, it looks at environmental, social and economic impacts of such popular travel practices as cruising, the ‘all-inclusive package holiday’, air travel, and adventure and nature tourism. Join us for armchair travels—around the globe and through time!

LLIR Winter 2022 Course Descriptions

All lectures will be delivered via LLIR@Home

The Middle East on the Move: Forward or Backward? with Amnon Zohar
The Middle East is entering a new and potentially dangerous phase – becoming a geopolitical sandbox for the world’s superpowers, China, Russia, and the United States. Alliances and rivalries are changing some which promise positive progress and others that may spell trouble. The economic ruins left by endless civil and regional wars, compounded by the global economic decline caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, are destroying the lives of millions of people in the Middle East. Instead of progress toward peace and prosperity, the region is faced with the great challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, and human rights abuses by autocratic regimes. Will the Middle East be able to restructure and redevelop to its intrinsic potential or will some of its states join the long list of Least Developed Countries? This course is a political review and analysis of the current Middle East dynamics and is designed to provide a deep understanding of the internal and external factors that will determine the future trajectory of the Middle East: Forward or Backward?

The Art and Science of Aging with Guy Bernard Proulx Living older and healthy is possible. Close to one million Canadians are in the 84 to 94 age group and the prevalence of dementia has gone down by 20% since the mid nineties. In this course, you will learn about the complexities, myths, and realities of people’s experience of growing old. We will highlight some of the ingredients inherent to the art of living well in old age. We will also look at different aging trajectories such as optimal aging, normal aging, mild cognitive impairments and dementia.  We are witnessing a new era in how we perceive aging and healthcare. The aging population, including those with dementia, is requesting care and services closer to home. More aging friendly communities and attitudes are needed. As Seneca said a long time ago, “Life can be long if we know how to use it.”

Operatic Quests:  In the footsteps of… with Iain Scott
In this course Iain will take you (virtually) to the buildings and sites most associated with the great opera composers. You will learn something of their lives, their development, and their contributions to the world of opera – and you will see and hear video excerpts from a wide variety of operas associated with each of these cherished pilgrimage destinations. By the end of this course, you will have a firm grasp of the key players who developed this art form, and a renewed appreciation for their individual and unique innovations. You will also have experienced curated excerpts from perhaps 50 operas. As we will be following a chronological framework, this will give you an invaluable insight into the key elements in opera’s evolution over the last 400 years.

Great Modern Architects with Marta O’Brien
Learn about the lives and works of some of the West’s most innovative
architects of the past 100 years, concentrating on the post-1960 era.
We’ll examine the unique buildings of Spain’s Gaudì, the stark forms of
Germany’s Mies, the humanistic works of Finland’s Aalto, the creativity of
Canada’s Erickson, the futuristic designs of Britain’s Hadid, and more.
You’ll learn about architects not well known outside the design community,
including Swiss partners Herzog and de Meuron. Through viewing hundreds of
images, see if you agree with the accolades these remarkable architects
have received.