Humanities 101

HUM 101 2023

Humanities 101 Coordinators: Lisa Prins, Bonita Bohnet, Nikita Roy Choudhury

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.

*Check out: 'Knowledges: Final Projects' on display NOW at Cameron Library!

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

Fall 2022

Well here we are, September 2022! This term we are back in the classroom and ready for some face to face discussions and learning. 

Something we are very excited about this term is that the campus class is teaming up with University of Alberta Museums, who will be taking us on four different tours this fall term! The theme for the campus class this term is Knowledges so we are feeling extra lucky to be able to work with the museums on campus to challenge ideas about whose knowledge counts and how we engage with knowledge. We are also excited to welcome a new intern, Austin Kaduk, to the team. It is going to be great getting to know him and having his help. Thank you to Bonita Bohnet for continuing on with HUM for another year. 

We are also back at WINGS! This term our theme is Women and the Ordinary. Everything has just been a bit much these past few years, so this term we are slowing things down and looking inside our homes. We are thinking about women and their everyday lives and responsibilities, which are actually quite extraordinary. We have incredible guest faculty speakers coming in and are looking forward to a term of learning in person.

This term we are continuing to support the Walls to Bridges program inside Edmonton Institution for Women. The course this term is WGS280 Indigenous Women’s Life Writing and Autobiography. It is great to be part of an incredible team of thinkers and teachers as we get back into the classroom! 

Lastly, we will be working with Allison Sivak and Jessica Thorlakson to get book club inside Edmonton Institution for Women up and running again. This is only possible because of the support of the University of Alberta Library and a crew of CSL students in NS 442/504 with the incredible Dr. Nykkie Lugosi-Schimpf. 

As always, none of this would be possible without a lot of support from a lot of people. It is shaping up to be an amazing year back in the classroom thanks to all the help and support. 

Winter 2023

The term is coming to an end and we, like everyone else, have had a busy one! The thing that is unique to Humanities 101, is that no matter how busy it gets, we are still having a good time. This term was an excellent example of how a little bit of support from several people can make a HUGE difference. 

In both the fall and winter terms we teamed up with CSL students who dedicated their time and skills to support the ongoing Edmonton Institution for Women (EIFW) book club collaboration with UofA Library. CSL students decorated and addressed each envelope of readings and activities to incarcerated people living inside EIFW. The time, attention, and care they took in personalizing the envelopes was deeply appreciated by the many individuals who participated in book club. In addition to the hands-on support, the CSL students gathered and organized potential readings and activities for future packages! Thank you to each CSL student who has contributed to the success of book club these past two terms. We are not sure what we are going to do now that the CSL placements have concluded - your contributions will be missed!

We are also very excited to share that Edmonton Transit Systems (ETS) have generously donated bus tickets to help ensure that Humanities 101 participants are able to get to and from classes without financial cost. This is a really big deal as bus tickets have historically been a major cost to the program. This donation will allow us to provide further learning opportunities around the city of Edmonton - both because we have the transportation and some freed up funds. Thank you ETS!

As always, there would be no Humanities 101 without the support of UofA faculty and staff. This term was another success thanks to  Julie Rak, Naomi McIlwraith, Shima Robinson, Beverly Lemire, Lianne McTavish, Jay Friesen, Matt Dance, Gordon Gow, Kyla and Katheryn from Hungry Zine, Andre Costopoulos, Margriet Haagsma, Martin Osis, and, last but not least, Badr El Bakkali El Kasmi who has been volunteering with us this term.

Another exciting contribution was the support of both CSL and UofA Library staff to bring needed hair and body care products for Black peoples living inside EIFW. This was initiated when two Walls to Bridges students noticed that there was limited access to these hair and body care products at EIFW. Excited by their discussions and idea of bringing in products for those who need it, Humanities 101 and UofA Library put out a call out for donations to purchase products; together, we were able to raise $450. Thank you to everyone who contributed. It is always exciting and hopeful to see how an idea, supported by a few dollars from many people, can make something cool happen!

Lastly, unique to this year, was the support of UofA Museums. I know we have mentioned it in previous updates, but the support has continued! This term we were hosted by E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum, Paleobotanical Collection, and Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives (Museum Collection). The learning experience that this has provided is one-of-a-kind and we are so grateful to have been invited into these amazing spaces. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Jill Horbay who has made all these field trips possible. We, of course, would like to also thank the curators of these incredible collections and their team of students and facilitators who committed their Tuesday evening to sharing with us. Thank you!

We know that learning happens best in relationships and we are so grateful for the many relationships that keep us learning in community and beyond.