Sample Syllabus

Humanities 101/201 Course Outline
September 2019 – April 2020

Faculty: Dr. Margot Leigh Butler
Mentor: Kat Gowman
Classroom: Buchanan D, Room ­­­­204
Day & Time: Thursdays, 6:30 to 9:00 pm.
Term 1: September 12 – December 5, 2019
Term 2: January 9 – April 2, 2020

Everything Hums

This two-term interdisciplinary course focuses on relevant, creative and critical thinking practices in Arts and Social Sciences disciplines, and on the connections between them. Each week we study a different discipline with a different professor/public intellectual, with “grounding classes” that set the course contexts, preparatory readings, in-class discussions, written assignments and field trips. This course is not an introduction to nor survey of these disciplines, but follows an interdisciplinary Cultural Studies approach which enjoys and values participants’ own situated knowledge–of both areas participants live in, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside/Downtown South and nearby, and their own life interests and experiences–as well as academic knowledge; is responsive to participants’ interests; and changes in both theme and content each year.

Everything flows

The first 30 minutes of class involves facilitated small group discussions based on that night’s assigned readings. Then the teacher arrives, and teaches an area of their expertise for an hour, at which time we have a quick tea break nearby, returning for another 45 minutes of class. Written work involves in-class writing, and four assignments which correspond to different disciplines and the links between them, including a reflective writing piece. Hum201 participants, who have already taken Hum101, do all of the course work and also produce a final project every year.

Class readings will always be available a week in advance, both as photocopies and online at Please be sure to pick up your readings each class from the table outside our classroom.

Everyone can mingledepending on whether they want toin extra, optional, situations…

As well as our regular Thursday evening classes, there are a number of additional goings-on – let’s call them ‘situated minglings’ – that are extra, and your attendance at them is entirely optional. Situated minglings complement the classes, and you are encouraged to journey along as we wind our way through the course. Held on campus or in the DTES, they are included in the Course Outline, and hug the right side of the pages. For situated minglings that are on the UBC campus, please meet at the Hum Office (Buchanan E270) at the stated time, and we’ll walk to our destination together; addresses are included in case you’d prefer to meet us there. For the events that are off campus on Saturday Nov 9 (Surrey Art Gallery) and Saturday Nov 23 (Museum of Vancouver) you’re welcome to bring guests with you. These events are marked with a double asterisk **.

There are also Hum free drop-in Public Programmes held at Downtown Eastside and Downtown South community centres – if you’re not ‘hummed-out’ by the course, you’re most welcome to join in. They include the evening study groups on doing science and technology, cultures of the Middle East, documentary film screenings on the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of the month, and women’s writing workshops at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. More information will be available in class and on the Hum website.

Graduating depends on you

Graduating from the course and receiving a certificate means that you will have attended at least ¾ of the classes over the year, and handed in at least three of the four assignments. You’ll receive feedback on the pieces that you hand in and we encourage you to submit throughout the term. You’ll also be able to choose and revise one piece of writing to be included in Hum’s annual publication, which will be ready for the Graduation Ceremony in late April.

Graduation Ceremony

This year, Graduation will take place on the evening of Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Part I:


Sep 12 “Where our hearts lead our feet follow” upon the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territory of the hən’q’əmin’əm’ speaking Musqueam people, with Margot Leigh Butler and Paul Woodhouse, Hum, UBC.

Sep 19 Cultural Studies: “Do academic disciplines depend upon each other?” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum, UBC.

Situated mingling:
Saturday Sept 21 11:00-5:00 pm, with the Grand Entrance at 1:00 pm.
DTES Culture Saves Lives Pow Wow! “Honoring the Children”.
Crab Park at the north foot of Main Street,
101 Waterfront Rd East, Vancouver.

Sep 26 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “Why do Indigenous Literatures Matter?” with Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation), First Nations and Indigenous Studies, UBC.

Please note that there are two sister projects on in Vancouver by Anishinaabe artist Lisa Jackson, Transmissions at SFU Woodward’s and Biidaaban: First Light at UBC. There are two dates for watching Biidaaban: First Light. All are listed here in our optional “situated minglings”, and are relevant to this term’s classes.

Situated mingling:
Saturday Sept 28, time TBA
Transmissions immersive film exhibition by Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe)
SFU Woodwards, 149 West Hastings
Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre (lower floor).
You can go with the group on Sept 28, the very last day,
or go on a Tues-Friday, 1-7pm or Sat-Sunday 1-5pm.
To book a 15 minute timeslot in advance, email


Oct 3 – Cultural Studies & Critical Indigenous Studies: “The spokes depend on the wheel + the wheel depends on the spokes” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum, UBC.

Tonight everyone will receive a copy of the novel The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (Métis) to read for the next class on Oct 10.

Situated mingling:
Thursday Oct 3 2:00-4:00 pm
Biidaaban: First Light. This interactive Virtual Reality artwork by Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe)
takes place in a future version of Toronto that has been reclaimed by nature.
There are only 2 VR sets available for this 10 minute piece, so you may need to wait a little.
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC, room 183.

Oct 10 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “Indigenous Futurisms’ Sticky Threads and Marrow Thieves” with David Gaertner, First Nations and Indigenous Studies, UBC.

Situated mingling:
Thursday Oct 10 2:00-4:00 pm
Biidaaban: First Light, an interactive Virtual Reality artwork by Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe).
“A simple idea within the realm of Indigenous futurism is the idea that anything that’s Indigenous is often seen to be in the past, so can we imagine a future where Indigenous understandings are guiding us in some way?”. Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC, room 183.

Situated mingling:
Thursday Oct 10 5:00-6:00 pm
Shadows, strings and other things: The Enchanting Theatre of Puppets
Museum of Anthropology (MOA), UBC.

Part II:

Oct 17 – Education: “Everything depends on whether I can find my glasses! Learning how I learn while relying on each other” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum.

Oct 24 – Philosophy: “Does anything exist in isolation? What if everything in the universe only exists because it’s in relationship to everything else?” with Christina Hendricks, Philosophy, UBC.

Situated mingling:
Thursday Oct 24 4:00-5:00 pm
Museum of Anthropology (MOA) Room 213
“The Cheeky Proletariat: Free Expression for All People / AfroScience”
public talk which explores the connections between
Black & Indigenous art forms, with Anthonia Ogundele and Tonye Aganaba.

Oct 31 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “Intricate entanglements with ‘high context’ and ‘low context’ languages in Indigenous Nepali Himalayan communities” with Mark Turin, First Nations and Endangered Languages, UBC.


Nov 7 – Sociology: “Is it human nature to separate the connected, and to connect the separated?” with Tom Kemple, Sociology, UBC.

Situated mingling:
Thursday Nov 7 4:00-5:00 pm
Museum of Anthropology (MOA) Room 213
“Displacing Hogan’s Alley” public talk that draws from the memories
of Black Vancouverites (circa 1920-1950) to address the questions:
How is the is Black Strathcona remembered? What sorts of Afro-futures
do their memories make possible? with Adam Rudder,
academic and co-chair of the Hogan’s Alley Society.

** Saturday Nov 9 2:30 pm Saturday trip to Surrey Art Gallery:
“Seeing connections and separations: digital artists envision
relationships between nature and computer technology,”
tour of the show “Garden in the Machine”. Guests welcome!

Nov 14 – Feminist Geography: “Does gentrification “spark joy”…and for whom?” with Tiffany Muller Myrdahl, Urban Studies and the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University.

Part III:

Nov 21 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “What can witnessing (from the potlatch) teach us about knowledge as not just intellectual but as alive in our bodies and spirits? What can Indigenous laws teach us about creating knowledge with all voices at the centre? How can Indigenous cultural practices be taken up in reimagining justice?” with Sarah Hunt (Tłaliłila’ogwa, Kwagu’ł, Kwakwaka’wakw Nation), First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Geography, UBC.

** Saturday Nov 23 at 2:00 pm Saturday trip to the Museum of Vancouver:
Cesna?em: the city before the city”, “Haida Now”
and “There is Truth Here”. Guests welcome!

Nov 28 – Visual Art: “Making things that depend on other things, by hand!” (such as hinges that connect the separated and separate the connected….) with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum.

Situated mingling:
Thursday Nov 28 4:00-5:00 pm
Museum of Anthropology (MOA) Room 213
“Making Stuff: The Culture of Design” public talk on these questions:
How do the dynamics among people, objects and environments contribute to
different material cultures? What counts as tradition/innovation, craft/design,
historic/contemporary perspectives, and how can these help to understand the
relationships between anthropology and design?
with Erika Balcombe, PhD student, Anthropology, UBC
and design educator at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.


Dec 5 – End of term party with Hum’s Writing 101 and Writing 201 participants in the Meekison Lounge on the ground floor of Buchanan D. Please come!!

Part IV:


Jan 9 – Philosophy: “Is anything really up to us?” with Sylvia Berryman, Philosophy, UBC.

Jan 16 – Cultural Studies: “Manifestos say ‘This is what I want!’ So…who else in the world wants this, who are we a bigger ME WE with?” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum & Associate, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, UBC.

**Situated mingling in the Downtown Eastside:
Saturday evening January 18 6:00-8:00 pm
If you would like to, meet in the Carnegie Centre auditorium
for Hum’s “Documentaries for Thinkers” screening of films about Manifestos!
Carnegie Centre is at the intersection of Hastings and Main Streets, Vancouver.

Jan 23 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “Indigenous histories in London: How is the ‘centre’ of empire connected to and entangled with Indigenous territories around the world?” with Coll Thrush, History & Associate, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, UBC.

Jan 30 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “Land as Relationship: How can Indigenous land-based practices and knowledge better inform and support solidarity-building across multiple struggles for justice?” On the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, an Indigenous-led land-based post-secondary program on traditional territories in Denendeh (NWT) with Glen Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene First Nation), co-founder of Dechinta, First Nations and Indigenous Studies & Political Science, UBC.

Part V:


Feb 6 – Cultural Studies: “Everything, Part 1: Semiotics and practices of looking” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum & Associate, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, UBC.

**Situated mingling Downtown:
Tuesday evening Feb 11 5:15-8:30 pm
Visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see “Transits and Returns”
(an exhibition of multi-media work by 21 Indigenous artists) and “Cindy Sherman” (feminist-inspired self-portrait photography)
with the Writing 101/201 participants. We’ll meet at 5:15 pm for supper in the
Pacific Center Mall food court, nearest to The Bay. Afterward, we’ll walk over to
the Gallery together. If you’d like to meet us at the Gallery instead, we’ll be standing inside the lobby near the Gallery gift shop at 6:20 pm.
The tour will start at 6:30 pm. The Gallery is located at 750 Hornby Street
(at Robson Street), Vancouver, V6Z 2H7.
Guests welcome!

Feb 13 – Cultural Studies: “Everything else, Part 2: Semiotics and ethics in representation and research” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum & Associate, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, UBC.

**Situated mingling in the Downtown Eastside:
Friday afternoon February 14 12:00 pm
Today is the 29th Annual Women’s Memorial March.
If you’d like to join with other Hum people for the March, we’ll meet on the steps
of Carnegie Centre at noon. Family and community members gather in remembrance inside Carnegie Centre at 10:30 am. Carnegie Centre is at the intersection of Hastings and Main Streets, Vancouver.

**Situated mingling in the Downtown Eastside:
Saturday evening February 15 6:00-8:00 pm
If you would like to, meet in the Carnegie Centre auditorium
for Hum’s “Documentaries for Thinkers” screening of films about the Downtown Eastside.
Carnegie Centre is at the intersection of Hastings and Main Streets, Vancouver.

* Feb 17-21 is UBC’s Reading Break. There are no classes this week. *

(Note that from Feb 18-29, the “Talking Stick Festival” is on. It’s an inclusive multi-day festival that’s open to the public and features storytelling, dance, music, theatre and other performing arts and cultural works by a wide range of Indigenous artists.)


Feb 27 – Writing and Publishing: “The leaves depend on the spine which depends on the hands, which rests on the lap” with Paul Woodhouse and Margot Leigh Butler, Hum, UBC.

Part VI:


March 5 – Anthropology: “These ancestral treasures … our ancestors put a string on these old pieces, so that no matter where they wound up in the world, we would reconnect with them.” On the “In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art” exhibition, with Anthony Shelton, Director of MOA (Museum of Anthropology), UBC. We’ll meet in the classroom at 6:30, and then walk over to MOA together for the class (it’s just a few blocks away).

Situated mingling:
Thursday March 5 2:30-4:00 pm
If you would like to,
meet at the Hum office at 2:30 to visit the nearby
Rare Books and Special Collections Library—
which has exhibits and houses collections of rare books,
archival materials, historic maps, photographs—and Chung Collection.
We’ll start with a talk about archives by Hum teacher Alex Alisauskas,
School of Information Graduate Program, UBC.
This library is on the
lower floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall (just south of the Hum office).

March 12 – Forestry: “Three Stories Closer to Understanding Complexity Theory” with D’Arcy Davis-Case, Forestry, UBC.

***The following classes and situated minglings were cancelled due to COVID-19***

Situated mingling:
Thursday afternoon March 12 3:00-4:00 pm
If you would like to go for a walk in the nearby woods together,
meet at the Hum office at 3:00 – we’ll go “forest bathing”!

**Situated mingling in the Downtown Eastside:
Saturday evening March 14 6:00-8:00 pm
If you would like to, meet in the Carnegie Centre auditorium
for Hum’s “Documentaries for Thinkers” screening of films about
natureculture’s interdependencies.
Carnegie Centre is at the intersection of Hastings and Main Streets, Vancouver.

March 19 – Sociology: “Dealing with my digital double: the scattered self I don’t know…but big data sure wants to!” with Paul Woodhouse, Hum & Sociology Graduate Program, UBC

**Situated mingling:
Saturday afternoon March 21 2:00 pm
Field trip to the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.
“What if the land and sea are human and worthy of respect,
not to be dominated and exploited?”
We’ll see “Out of Concealment – Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii”
by Haida artist Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, and the
permanent collection of Haida artist Bill Reid’s work.
The Gallery is at 639 Hornby Street
(between Georgia + Dunsmuir Streets), Vancouver, V6C 2G3.
Guests Welcome!

March 26 – Critical Indigenous Studies: “What if healing depends on acknowledging? Understanding the practices and consequences of settler colonialism for everyone, Natives and non-Natives” with Margot Leigh Butler, Hum & Associate, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, UBC.

Situated mingling:
Thursday afternoon March 26 3:00-4:15
If you would like to, meet at the Hum office
for a campus walking tour to the Reconciliation Totem Pole,
designed and carved under the direction of Haida master carver and
Hereditary Chief, 7idansuu (James Hart) and the
new Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre.


April 2 – Music: “What if Hum’s theme accurately encapsulates one’s view of life and the universe?” with Gage Averill, Dean of Arts & School of Music, UBC. Tonight the Hum201 participants present their project.


Thursday Apr 30 – Graduation Celebration at the UBC Longhouse, in the Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, 1985 West Mall, UBC. Every year Hum holds a Graduation Ceremony for all of that year’s graduating participants in Hum101, Hum201, Writing 101 and Writing 201. The Ceremony is in the Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall at the First Nations House of Learning. Dinner goes from 6:00–7:00 pm, and your Grad Ceremony goes from 7:00–9:00 pm. You’re welcome to bring guests with you – just let us know so we’re sure there’s enough refreshments!