Humanities 101


Humanities 101 Coordinators: Lisa Prins, Bonita Bohnet, Kelsi Barkway, Kendra Cowley

Thank you to the Humanities 101 Volunteers: Jay Friesen, Beverly Lemire, Naomi McIlwraith, and Heather Hatch 

A thriving community for the last ten years, the HUM Program brings together a diverse group of adult learners who all share a passion for lifelong learning. The program, a collaborative effort between the UofA and the greater off-campus community, offers multiple courses each year that emphasize critical thinking in everyday life. Each semester, there are two courses; one takes place on campus, while another is held at a second stage women’s shelter. Each course has its own, unique, curriculum that is developed responsively to the learning wants and needs of the community. 

Although many people have a passion for learning, the program recognizes that a lived reality for many is that too often institutional, situational, and financial barriers make post-secondary education inaccessible. Some of the ways the U of A decreases these barriers  is by providing transportation, food, and supplies. The HUM Program strives to make its courses accessible thereby cultivating an opportunity for critical thinking irrelevant of previous educational experiences. This fosters the coming together of university faculty, students, and community learners in a way that challenges the traditional university classroom by equally privileging lived experiences alongside conventional understandings of knowledge.

Below are HUM 101 excerpts from our CSL Newsletter over the past academic year:

Fall 2021

The Humanities 101 program is excited to kick off the fall 2021 semester! This term we are once again holding classes virtually in collaboration with folks in the humanities and writing programs at UBC. Classes will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, with a lecture-style class on Tuesdays and tutorial groups, activities, and workshops happening on Thursdays. In our classes this term we are excited to engage with content that was produced as part of the U of A’s Humanities 101 radio show, created in 2020 in response to the onset of the pandemic. We will be listening to radio interviews and hearing live from interviewees, along with a wide range of other guest speakers from disciplines that include sociology, English, history, critical Indigenous studies, and more! Drawing our inspiration for the term from a quotation by Black science fiction author Octavia Butler, our classes will consider the ways in which “All that you touch you change. All that you change, changes you”.

To see work from the University of British Columbia and University of Alberta collective Hum course (Fall 2021) "Look what happens when everyone depends on everyone else" visit the UBC annual yearbook publication.

Winter 2022

Well it is 2022 and we find ourselves in a continued global pandemic along with the rest of the world. Like most of the university, we were very excited to get back into the classroom but are unfortunately not able to meet in person. Many of us are finding ourselves struggling to keep spirits and hopes up, to continue to make the effort to connect, to find excitement and exploration in learning - so what can HUM do to help? 

This term we are hosting a movie club! We will be meeting online twice a week: once to watch a film, and once to talk about it. We are being thoughtful about the stories we will be watching; we want them to share exciting ideas and new ways of thinking, to introduce us to voices we don’t often hear, and, of course, we want to be left with lots to talk about. 

Good news: we have Bonita continuing as the Education Outreach Intern. In this position she is actively organizing some engaging online field trips that are sure to offer both connection and learning in the happy and hopeful ways we all need right now. Our first field trip we have in the calendar is a cooking class with Alexis Hillyard from Stump Kitchen! Needless to say, it is sure to be a great time filled with that unique Humanities 101 balance of laughter and difficult discussions.

We would like to thank The Friends of the University of Alberta for their continued generous support of Humanities 101! Through their support we are able to host several field trips this term. The most recent was an online cooking class with Alexis Hillyard of  Stump Kitchen where we each made our own pizzas and then had ourselves a pizza party. Alexis, through her incredible humour and stories, introduced us to different ways of thinking and learning about disability – thank you, Alexis!

Our next journeys get us outside, in real life, learning and exploring together. We have two more field trips planned before the end of term that will take us off line and into new spaces of learning. The first is a tour of Chinatown being led by Linda Hoang. We will be enjoying new food and sights, learning some of the rich neighbourhood history and discussing contemporary Stop Asian Hate movements. The second field trip is to the Indigenous Peoples Experience at Fort Edmonton Park. We are very excited about meeting up IRL for some food, fun, and rich discussions.

The field trips are extensions of our online Movie Club that we have been running this term. We have watched and discussed films that are rooted in three themes: racism, disability studies, and science literacy. We tackled each theme for three weeks and then enjoyed a field trip that extended our thinking beyond our everyday understandings. We aren’t quite done as our conversations have run long and there are so many stories out there for us to watch and learn from. It has been a great term!

Spring 2022

HUM Field 1 HUM Field 2

The field trip to Chinatown was an amazing experience, thank you Linda Hoang! We gathered outside Lucky 97 where Linda shared the history of Chinatown in Edmonton, we learned a tonne. We then explored the many aisles packed with an incredible variety of food. LInda challenged us to purchase something that was unfamiliar to us, to try something new. We each walked away with new ideas and new flavours to explore. 

Linda then took us to the Shan Shan Bakery down the street. Here we filed in and browsed the over 100 different baked goods to choose from! Linda had us discussing how colonization impacts food and flavours, thinking about how we can engage with food differently. She also pulled apart some stereotypes of Chinatown that continue to harm the community. Lastly, we talked a lot about how the pandemic has affected some communities, businesses, and people much differently than others. How the many family run businesses in Chinatown faced increased struggles to survive during these past few years. 

To end our field trip we shared an amazing meal cooked and served by Linda’s family in their wonderful, bright restaurant King Noodle House Pho Hoang. As we celebrated the end of the term and getting to connect in person, Linda spoke to us about several instances of racism in the food industry here in Edmonton. It was a great opportunity for us to reflect on some difficult and uncomfortable ways that we are all racist. She then introduced us to a new and very exciting project she has been working on, Stop Raced Base Hate. It is a website that provides great resources for people who are wanting to be more anti-racisit in their everyday. She was quick to point out that she is not an “expert” in anti-racism and that she and her colleagues have worked hard to collect and organize the many resources that already exist and then share them in way that is intended to be accessible for the everyday person to start their anti-racist journey.  

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