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1st Year Seminars & Learning Communities

MARGARET MACMILLAN TRINITY ONE PROGRAM

The Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program provides first-year students with the opportunity to explore major issues and ideas pertaining to human life and world affairs, while in a small-group environment conducive to deep discussion and interaction. Trinity One has six streams: Policy, Philosophy & Economics; Ethics, Society & Law; International Relations; Anne Steacy Biomedical Health; Butterfield Environment & Sustainability; and Anne Steacy Medicine & Global Health. Each stream consists of two seminar courses, which have limited enrollment to ensure small class sizes. They foster small-group discussion and emphasize the development of critical-thinking, oral-presentation, writing and research skills. Learn more about Trinity One.

FIRST-YEAR FOUNDATION SEMINAR COURSES

Trinity College offers several courses intended to enhance the academic role the College plays in the lives of its undergraduates, especially its first-year students. Available to all Faculty of Arts & Science students, these first-year foundation seminar credit courses are approved by the Faculty of Arts & Science and do not have prerequisites. The seminars are designed to provide the opportunity to work closely with an instructor in a class of no more than 24 students. These interactive seminars are intended to stimulate the students’ curiosity and provide an opportunity to get to know a member of the professorial staff in a seminar environment during the first year of study.

Why take a Trinity College seminar course?
  • Participate actively in small-group discussions;
  • Learn to think critically and to communicate clearly;
  • Study with Trinity faculty – scholars with a strong interest in teaching first-year students;
  • Build a community – get to know other first-year students.
First-Year Foundation Seminar Courses for 2019-2020
TRN 191H1 - Disaster and Terrorism: Religion and Ethics at Ground Zero

In response to contemporary terrorist attacks and natural disasters, many are led to cry, “The world will never be the same!” How should such statements be evaluated? What impact do they have on social and political life? This course explores religious and cultural responses to human tragedy and cultural shock. Discussion will attend to debates over the meaning of suffering, public reactions to terrorism, the traumas of natural disasters, and the role of media in covering such events. These themes are engaged from the perspectives of ethics, cultural theory, religious studies, and theology. The course focuses on popular responses to events that include: the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, the First World War, the Holocaust, Hurricane Katrina, the Japanese experiences of Hiroshima and Fukushima, 9/11, and more recent examples of terrorism and disaster. Attention will be given to concerns such as the impact of trauma on social and political debate, the function of religious discourse in the face of tragedy, the nature of ideology, and the relationship between religion and violence. A thematic concern throughout the course will be the nature of ethical commitment in the midst of confusion and social disruption. Restricted to first-year students. Not available for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

TRN192H1 - Public Health in Canada: Health for the 21st Century

This course deals with preventive care and population health. It will also move into new areas like healthcare and the environment (climate change) and the greening of healthcare. It will look at health as an extension of democracy – of how health extends individual rights beyond the political realm to the social realm, of how it can build social capital and knit populations together. It will look at areas inimical to health, ‘detriments to health’ and how economic inequality can lead to health inequality. Along with this it will look at ways of empowering the individual, the public as agent and a role of public engagement by major institutions. It will also push beyond the popular determinants of health to engage students in a paradigm on next steps, the future challenges in population health. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

TRN193H1 - Canadian Health Policy: Past, Present and Future

This is a health systems course. It deals with illness care, individual health, and health insurance. It will take a comparative and historical approach. We will look at the genesis of Canadian healthcare, our benefits and those other countries provide (e.g., pharmacare, dental care). We will look at indirect contributors like childcare and basic income. We will examine the public-private debate. We will also take some novel approaches. One is that the university has an expanded role in the 21st century, one that involves public outreach, a role that includes healthcare. Recent academic literature on healthcare notes that it is nation-building. We will look at why. We will examine some cutting-edge ideas, like integrated care, the learning health system, the concept of customer-owners. We will explore whether our healthcare system needs to be anchored by ‘institutions of excellence’ and identify these. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

TRN194H1 - Literature and Wicked Problems

This course explores contemporary literature in relation to the interdisciplinary framework of “wicked problems.” Research emphasizes that complex, entrenched problems, like government relations with Indigenous peoples or human impacts on the climate, involve interconnected systems and require approaches that cross disciplines and types of knowledge. The course examines the role of literary works (mostly 21st-century fiction) in addressing these issues of pressing concern to students as global citizens. Critical thinking, scholarly reading and database research are foundational skills that this course strengthens in order to prepare students for their writing in disciplines across the university. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

TRN195H1 - The Literature of Heroes and Horrors

This course explores contemporary literary works that redefine heroism in light of personal and cultural trauma. What does recent literature (mostly 21st-century fiction) show us about the nature of heroism in our time? To answer this question, the course examines theories of psychological trauma, studies in the field of positive psychology, and research on gothic and dystopian literature. Critical thinking, scholarly reading and database research are foundational skills that the course strengthens in order to prepare students for their writing in disciplines across the university. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

TRN196H1 - Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy (not offered in 2019-2020)

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (died 524) was the greatest scholar and statesman of Rome after its conquest by the barbarian Ostrogoths. When he was unjustly sentenced to death for treason, he wrote one of the great classics of Western literature, The Consolation of Philosophy. C. S. Lewis remarked of the work that “until about two hundred years ago it would, I think, have been hard to find an educated man in any European country who did not love it.” Boethius confronts the most intractable questions of suffering humanity: Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the point of living a virtuous life? Do we really have free will, or is choice an illusion? In this seminar, we will learn about Boethius’s world and his philosophical sources, and we will analyses the argument he offers in the Consolation. We will then see how Boethius’s ideas are discussed by modern scholars and consider the relevance of Boethius’s ideas to modern life. A highlight of the term will be a visit to the Fisher Rare Book Library to look at manuscripts and early printed books. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

TRN 197H1 - In the Shadow of the Vikings: Depictions of the Early Norse in Medieval, Modern and Post-Modern Culture

Although rarely attested during the historical era when they were active, since the early nineteenth century the word “Viking” has been popularly applied to describe groups of Scandinavian adventurers who marauded along the frontiers of Medieval Europe: in this respect, the image of “the Viking” may be regarded as much a modern, as it is a medieval, creation. The legacy of historical “Viking activities” was a factor in the development of modern nation states in Scandinavia and the Baltic region, and their contributions to the heritage of people residing in Britain, continental Europe, the Middle East, and even the Atlantic coast of Canada have been and continue to be cited to the present day. Aspects of culture attributed to “the Vikings”—their assumed independence, courage, resourcefulness, and tenacity in the face of adversity, as well as the occult characteristics of their cosmology—have, for better and worse, inspired modern artists, writers, composers, intellectuals, explorers and even political leaders, and persist in present day literature, art, music, sport and popular culture as well. Why and how do elements of historic Viking culture continue to evoke traditions and characteristics popularly attributed to “the Vikings”? What are some implications of “Viking-ness” for those people in the post-Viking Age past and/or present who we may regard—or may regard themselves—as the “cultural descendants” of the Vikings? In this seminar, participants will study selected cultural artifacts of the “post-Viking Age,” along with recent multidisciplinary research, to observe how various “post-Viking Age” cultures and subcultures have selectively appropriated elements of the “Viking” past. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

TRN198H1 - The Viking Phenomenon: Commerce, Conflict, and Communication along Europe’s Frontiers, 7th to 15th Century

Perspectives on the impact that the Scandinavian raiders and traders popularly referred to as “Vikings” had on European and World history continue to develop as the work of historians, archaeologists, linguists, and scientists expands our understanding of the past. Recent research has revised the traditional view of the “Vikings” as primarily marauding warriors; in its place, a more complex and nuanced conception of the implications that “Viking activity” had on the social, economic, and political development of the peoples with whom they came in contact has emerged. This seminar will consider the relationship between the traditional conception of the “Viking warrior” and recent research that suggests the broader impact that the “Viking Phenomenon” had upon the economic revival and sociopolitical development of medieval Europe and its frontiers. In the course of the seminar, we will examine a selection of historical records and information concerning artifacts of the material culture of “The Viking Age” in order to better understand the activities of early medieval “Vikings,” not only as warriors, but also as agents of commerce, explorers, pioneers, and rulers. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

TRN199H1 - Classical Social and Political Thought from the 18th Century Enlightenment to the 20th Century

In the first part of the course, via lectures and readings, we will be examining the Enlightenment, the French and Industrial Revolutions, and the Romantic Conservative Reaction to these revolutions. In part two of the course, we will study Karl Marx, who coined the term “capitalism” to describe the new type of society that had emerged as a product of the Industrial Revolution. Marx, as the severest critic of the capitalist system, called attention to its alienating character. In the 19th Century, his ideas provoked a response that accounts, in large measure, for the character of Western political thought. The discussion of Marx is therefore followed by the intense debate with his “ghost,” the Marxian legacy. We will engage with the participants in the debate – – Weber, Pareto, Mosca, Michels, Durkheim, and Mannheim. Restricted to newly admitted first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities; Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

 

FIRST-YEAR LEARNING COMMUNITIES

The First-Year Learning Communities (FLC) Program in the Faculty of Arts & Science is designed to improve the transitional experience for first-year students. There is no cost to participate in a FLC and participation earns you a notation on your university transcript and co-curricular record!

Trinity College offers a First-Year Learning Community (FLC) for life sciences students. As a Trinity student you can apply to join this FLC, or you can join one of the many FLC’s hosted by the Faculty of Arts & Science. In your FLC, you will meet classmates, develop friendships, form study groups, and develop academic and personal skills. For more information, make sure to check out the official FLC website.

What exactly is a FLC?

FLCs provide first-year students with the opportunity to meet classmates, develop friendships, form study groups, and develop academic and personal skills. FLCs also introduce students to the resources, opportunities, culture, and benefit of the campus and its surrounding community.

A FLC is a group of 24 to 30 students in the same area of study, who will be enrolled in some of the same core courses and will meet regularly outside of class time for useful and fun activities. The sessions are facilitated by an upper-year Peer Mentor and an Assistant Peer Mentor with the support of staff and/or faculty advisors. The content of FLC meetings will address three broad transition areas: academic, developmental, and social. Some of the topics that may be covered in FLC meetings include: time management, study strategies, campus traditions and history, mastering tests and exams, choosing a program of study, and career exploration. There will also be recreational and social activities, and much more!

 

If you have any questions, please contact:

Office of the Registrar
registrar@trinity.utoronto.ca