Day: Monday Dates: Oct 19 - Nov 23 Time: 10:00 - 11:30 am
Course Description In this seminar about the “Science of Mindfulness”, you will learn about the practice of mindfulness meditation from an experiential view-point. Investigation of the effects that this secular practice is purported to have from research on cognition, emotions, the brain and our bodies will be central to the course. We will also discuss the psychological conditions that mindfulness has been used to help and the applied settings in which it has been implemented. Finally, some of the problems with mindfulness as a practice will be presented as well as problems with the scientific research, as it stands today.
Instructor Biography Patricia McMullen received her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at the University of Waterloo in 1988. Following that, she pursued post-doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University under the direction of Dr. Martha Farah where she gained expertise in cognitive neuropsychology or the cognition of individuals who have experienced brain damage. In 1991, she was hired as professor in the area of visual cognition in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. Her interest in mindfulness has continued throughout most of her adult life and teaching a course on the science of mindfulness is a meeting of two long-standing fascinations.
2. Satire: from Juvenal to Stephen Colbert - David McNeil
Day: Tuesday Dates: Oct 13 - Nov 17 Time: 10:00 - 11:30 am Course Description Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own. - Jonathan Swift Swift’s satiric definition of satire is one of many mirror-images that surface in discussions of the genre. In this class, we elucidate the dynamics of satiric humour in a wide range of works from antiquity to the present: literary texts, cartoons, songs, sketches, monologues, dialogues. Early Scottish “flyting” (i.e., insulting), eighteenth-century graphic satire, Punch Magazine, standup comedy, and local cartoonists will be just some of the things we’ll examine. Folly and vice are traditionally considered to be the targets of satire, and the art of satire is to make fun of them. So the goal of this class is to admire the art and have a lot of laughs. We’ll even make fun of ourselves! Seeing so much corruption and idiocy in ancient Rome, Juvenal said that: “It is hard not to write Satire.” Many believe the same about our contemporary world (if you think otherwise, just SEARCH “people doing dumb things” on YouTube and see for yourself).
Instructor Biography David McNeil was a professor in the English Department at Dalhousie for 34 years. He taught a range of courses in eighteenth-century literature, the novel, and satire. He also taught a class on hockey literature and culture (regular and online formats). He is the author of The Grotesque Depiction of War and the Military (1990), In the Pressure of the Moment: Remembering Gerry McNeil (2016), and a number of other articles. With Ron Huebert, he has also contributed to and edited a collection of essays, Early Modern Spectatorship: Interpreting English Culture (2019). His research interests currently range from self-likenesses in Italian frescoes/British murals, the history of sports photography and eighteenth-century memoirs.
3. Seeing is Believing: How the Telescope Changed Who We Are and What We Know - Tony Schellinck
Day: Wednesday Dates: Oct 14 - Nov 25 Time: 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Course Description The Seeing is Believing course is a mixture of history (going back to 3,000 BC and the creation of the constellations), science (how observers discovered how the universe works) and practical observing through binoculars and telescopes (this may include field trips if we can work it in these times. We may have a zoom field trip). The course describes in detail the character and the lives of the astronomers as well as how and what they contributed to the advancement of knowledge about the universe. If I can fit it in, students will be introduced to the night sky and the deep sky objects that can be observed with telescopes.
Instructor Biography Tony Schellinck has always had an interest in astronomy; but it wasn’t until age 55 that he became active as an amateur astronomer. A former Dalhousie professor, he knows that the best way to learn a topic is to teach it. He therefore participates in public viewing sessions around Nova Scotia, has become a regular presenter at the Halifax Planetarium, and has given lectures at parks and libraries around the province. His SCANS course A Practical Guide to Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars has been offered five times. He currently owns nine telescopes, but as he explains to his wife, they all have a special purpose. A history buff, he is fascinated by the development of science throughout history, in particular astronomy. Technical developments of the telescope allowed keen minds to discover what the universe is and our place in it.
4. The Devil That Will Not Die: The History of Anti-Semitism - Angus Smith
Day: Thursday Dates: Oct 15 - Nov 19 Time: 1:30 - 2:45 pm Course Description Anti-Semitism is a hatred both ancient and eternally new, seemingly remaking and re-establishing itself in every generation. Today, we are confronted by a particularly virulent and insidious form of anti-Semitism, one that not only crosses political boundaries, but that also enjoys a certain degree of social acceptability. Where does anti semitism come from? Why does it happen? This course will try to answer those questions by focusing on three main themes. The first of these, religious anti-Semitism, will cover the period between the propagation of the Christian gospels and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 to understand how the teachings of the Church contributed to and encouraged hatred and persecution of Jews. The second theme, racial anti semitism, will cover the period up until the end of the Second World War. It will look at how religious anti-Semitism was augmented by a view of Jews as a "separate" people, essentially hostile to the societies in which they found themselves, whether in Germany, Poland or the Russian empire. The final theme will address our own time, and the manner in which anti semitism is at once racial, religious and entangled with the emergence of Zionism and the State of Israel. The course will also address the special case of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world. And while anti-Semitism remains sui generis, we will consider how anti-Semitic tropes have been adapted to fit other forms of bigotry and xenophobia, often with horrific consequences.
Instructor Biography Angus Smith worked in the Canadian intelligence community for 30 years, a career that included work on Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe, corruption, terrorism and national security. He has also had a long career as a Jewish educator, as a Jewish youth movement leader and as a speaker and writer on Jewish culture and history. An award-winning author, he writes for a variety of publications including The Jewish Review of Books, Rural Delivery and ThePolice Chief. Angus currently lives on the South Shore where he keeps chickens and bees and tries to keep up with a pair of rambunctious Border Collies.
5. Choosing the Future: American Presidential Election 2020 - Michael MacMillan
Day: Friday Dates: Oct 16 - Nov 20 Time: 10:00 - 11:30 am Course Description The upcoming American Presidential election is often described as one of the most important elections for the future of American society. It takes place in the framework of a complex election process that is distinctively American and is driven by conflicts over race, culture, and the role of the state. It has been the subject of ongoing critical debate about its flaws and biases which challenge its democratic claims. In this course, the design and operation of the American electoral system will be discussed, including the selection of presidential candidates by political parties, the role of the Electoral College in the path to presidential power, as well as the impact of ethnicity, class and religion on patterns of voting behaviour by American citizens and how that impacts strategies for electoral success. These will be considered in the context of the November 2020 election.
Instructor Biography Dr. Michael MacMillan is Professor Emeritus in Political Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. He received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. He has taught courses at Mount Saint Vincent University for four decades in political theory, political behavior, Canadian politics and Canadian public policy and administration. Two of his principal areas of research, publication and teaching interest are human rights and democratic theory. His book, The Practice of Language Rights in Canada, published in 1998 by the University of Toronto Press, was short-listed for the prestigious Donner Prize for the best book in public policy published in that year