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Cool new classes offered

- December 17, 2007

Prof. Ruth Forsdyke has created the class, the Economics of Global Warming. (Photo illustration by Danny Abriel)

Do you think transsexuals should be allowed to compete in elite sports in their elected gender? Should Siamese twins be separated if they’re too young to give consent? Would you have a problem going to see Body Worlds, the anatomical exhibition which displays real human bodies that have been plasticized? If so, why?

These are some of the thorny questions Richard Wassersug expects to pose in the new class, Embodying the Body: The Human Body for Anatomists and Humanists. Presented in a lecture format, the class is cross-listed as a graduate-level course (ANAT 5555) in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology and as an undergraduate class (SOSA 4211) in the Department of Sociology & Social Anthropology. The class will also have a lab component, with anatomical demonstrations and some dissection.

“I don’t believe there’s another course like it anywhere in Canada,” says Dr. Wassersug, professor of anatomy and neurobiology in the Faculty of Medicine. He’ll share teaching duties with Eileen McKay, a pediatric pathologist at the IWK Health Centre. “It’s quite unique. It’s both a course exploring the anatomy of the body and the body in society.

“Social scientists and humanists don’t have a chance to learn about the body and medical folk don’t even have the time and patience to do qualitative research, to really probe those questions associated with the body, identity and what it means to be human.”

Fifteenth-century artist Benozzo Gozzoli depicts Augustine's conversion to Christianity.

Other classes new to Dalhousie’s course calendars include:

  • Economics of Global Warming (ECON 2216): One of the most stubborn arguments against doing something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is that it’s just too expensive. To which Ruth Forsdyke, an environmental economist, responds it’s too expensive not to do anything. In this new second-year class, students will examine policies such as carbon taxes and “cap and trade,” and other options including strengthening technological standards and creating incentives to create green products and develop renewable energy sources. “It’s just such an important topic right now that the time was right for this class,” says Dr. Forsdyke, assistant professor in the Dept. of Economics. “With Al Gore’s movie and the Nobel Prize, hopefully we’ll see a broad attitudinal shift.”
  • Law & Religion (LAWS 2210): Diana Ginn, associate professor with Dalhousie Law School, will teach this upper-year seminar class which focuses on the relationship between law and religion in a secular, multi-faith society. Issues to be discussed include the use of religious reasoning in public discourse and law-making. Prof. Ginn has long been interested in the intersection of law and religion; her book, The Legal Guide for Canadian Churches (co-written with David Blaikie) has just been published by Novalis.
  • The Confessions in Latin (CLAS 4070/5070): This is a small class for upper-level undergrad and graduate students which delves into St. Augustine’s Confessions, one of the most influential and most innovative works of Latin literature. “Augustine appeals to students interested in philosophy, theology and literature,” says Michael Fournier, assistant professor in the Dept. of Classics. “He was a teacher of rhetoric before becoming a bishop and he very consciously crafted this work in Latin.” Students will delve into scholarship on the text, make presentations to the class and are expected to complete a major paper.
  • Evolution of Spanish (SPAN 3095): This class offers a panoramic study of the evolution of spoken Latin into modern Spanish (no prior knowledge of Latin required). Topics covered will include: the major historical events that influenced the evolution of the language, including phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic changes. The class, a lecture and discussion format conducted in Spanish, will be taught by Donna Rogers, professor and chair of the Dept. of Spanish. 
  • Pollution Prevention (ENVS 3301): In this new class offered through the Environmental Programs Dept., students will examine how the concept of sustainability can be incorporated into projects and focuses on the practical applications of pollution prevention techniques. Students can expect a hands-on course, with group work, student presentations, guest speakers, independent research and at least one field trip. The class has been created by instructor Janis Rod in response to issues raised by students in another class she teaches, Environmental Site Assessment (ENVS 3300). “Strictly speaking, pollution prevention is changing inputs or processes to minimize environmental impact,” she says. “This is opposed to an ‘end of pipe’ treatment of wastes which is more common in industry.”
  • Certificate in Small Business Creation: Dalhousie’s College of Continuing Education is offering this new intense program, scheduled over 14 weekends and spanning 10 months. The certificate program will explore all aspects of business creation, including marketing, budgeting, human resources and legal issues. One-on-one counseling is also offered. The goal of the program is for entrepreneurs to create a solid business plan “that you can take to the bank,” says Debbie Gordon, director of small business programs at the College of Continuing Education. She says the program will appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs, employees who have been downsized or who have taken early retirement and the hobbyist who wants to step into a new career.

LINK: 2007-2008 Academic Calendars


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