First-Year Foundations@Innis

FYF@Innis Seminars

For 2020-2021 there are 13 FYF@Innis seminars, each at a credit weight of 0.5 FCEs. All are taught by leading professors who are dedicated to engaging and supporting first-year Innis students.

Browse through the course listings to see what you’re interested in, and then visit the individual seminar pages for more information.

Professor: Hang-Sun Kim
Course Code: GER195H1F
Cities have been described as places of desire and places of fear. They pulse with life, bringing together people from different class, gender, and ethnic backgrounds, simultaneously giving rise to a sense of freedom and oppression, a sense of belonging and alienation. This course will explore the city as a physical reality that shapes our lives, but is also a projection of our deepest imaginings. Through readings of philosophical and sociological texts by influential theorists of the city, we will consider various ancient and modern conceptions of urban space and subjectivity.
Professor: Asif Zaman
Course Code: MAT198H1S
How do we send our own confidential information through secure channels, and how can we break codes to uncover the secret information of our adversaries? The mathematical field of cryptology is dedicated to answering such questions. In this course we will study breakthroughs in cryptology, from secret messages in the ancient world and the Enigma cipher in World War II, to modern cryptosystems that facilitate online commerce.
Professor: Sarah Gallant
Course Code: RLG198H1F
This course will examine the “what ifs” and imagined worlds of ideal utopias and oppressive dystopias through the lens of religion and gender in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland. Because science fiction and utopian/dystopian literature expresses what an author sees as possible or hopes is possible, but also fears is possible, we will consider science fiction as a political and social critique.
Professor: Andrea Williams
Course Code: INI196H1F
From environmental disasters and ecological collapse to climate change denial and celebrations of nature and wilderness, we will explore the diverse ways humans imagine and write about the natural world and the consequences of such writing. We will study a variety of nonfiction texts, images, and videos about ecology, the environment, nature, wilderness, and sustainability as we consider what these terms mean.
Professor: Maurice Ringuette
Course Code: CSB196H1S
With the completion of the human genome sequence, we now have access to more information than ever before about our genetic make-up. This course addresses topics such as what genes are, how they are identified, and how knowledge about genes impacts society.
Professor: Sebastien Parker
Course Code: SOC198H1F
How are people’s political attitudes and behaviours influenced by their diverse social contexts? This seminar will strive to provide key tools to answer this question. Students will read and discuss wide-ranging empirical studies on the role played by social structural factors for varied political outcomes, including polarization, cleavage formation, progressive shifts, and traditional belief consolidation.
Professor: Rachel Silvey
Course Code: GGR198H1F
This course examines the political geographies of transnational migration. It asks how spaces of migration and mobility are political, and how migration politics are tied to inequalities wrought through intersecting histories of race, class, and gender. It seeks to extend our understandings of migrants, borders, and mobility, and it explores the processes through which mobility is produced, delimited and structured.
Professor: TBA
Course Code: STA198H1S
This course examines the meaning and mathematics of probabilities, and how they arise in our everyday lives. Specific topics may include: the nature of coincidences, the concept of luck, games involving dice and cards, long run averages in casinos, margins of error in polls, the interpretation of medical studies, crime statistics, decision making, pseudorandomness, and Monte Carlo algorithms.
Professor: Ashley Waggoner Denton
Course Code: PSY194H1F
University life presents students with all sorts of challenges as well as amazing opportunities for learning and growth. While there are many different ways to define a “successful student,” the goal of this seminar is for everyone to develop the knowledge, skills, and mindset needed to make the most of the university experience.
Professor: Doris Bergen
Course Code: HIS196H1S
This seminar explores the roles of religion in extreme violence. Working backward from the 1990s (Rwanda, Yugoslavia), we will consider cases including Guatemala, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Holocaust, Armenians, German Southwest Africa, and genocide of Indigenous peoples in North America. Students will produce a final project based on original research.
Professor: Nic Sammond
Course Code: CIN197H1F
This first-year foundation course is a survey of sound film (with a brief selection of silent shorts) on the topic of how popular cinemas have represented going to school. Looking at one film and one scholarly text a week, the course will offer an introduction to the close reading of film texts, reading and writing film criticism, and the fundamentals of film history. By engaging with only one film/reading per week, the course emphasizes depth over breadth. Texts for the course may include excerpts from Corrigan’s A Short Guide to Writing About Film, Sturken and Cartwright’s Practices of Looking, Staiger’s Interpreting Films, and Prince’s Movies and Meaning, along with selected criticism on the movies screened. Those films may include Zero for Conduct, Aparajito, Tom Brown’s School Days, Tea and Sympathy, If, Rock and Roll High School, Mean Girls, School Daze, Blackboard Jungle, or Lady Bird.
Professor: Elizabeth Legge
Course Code: FAH198H1F
Art causes scandals for many reasons, provoking a range of consequences, including censorship, cuts to government funding of the arts or even destruction of the work in question. In this course we will consider a number of kinds of art scandal arising from exhibition in public galleries and urban spaces.
Professor: Thom Dancer
Course Code: ENG197H1S
From H.G. Wells to Star Trek to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, tales of time travelers remain captivating. What does our fascination with time travel tell us about storytelling and narrative? This course will explore the questions that time travel raises about narrative as well as history, temporality, subjectivity, and agency. We will look at examples of time travel in film, television, and books as well as philosophical and scientific writing about it.
Professor: Steve Engels
Course Code: CSC197H1F
The rapid advance of technology has brought remarkable changes to how we conduct our daily lives, from how we communicate, consume news and data, and purchase goods. As we increase our online activity, so too do we increase the amount of personal data that we’re sharing, often without realizing it.

Have a question?

Need more info about FYF@Innis seminars? Not sure which courses are right for you? We can help. Contact our program coordinator, Jannie Chien.