Bachelor of Arts, Major and Minor in Liberal Studies

Liberal Studies Courses

The Liberal Studies department offers courses required to complete VIU's Bachelor of Arts Major and Minor in Liberal Studies.

Students registering in Liberal Studies courses are advised to consult the relevant online course outlines well in advance of the start of classes, in order to receive instructions about any preparatory reading that may be required.

Course offerings vary from year to year. Check Generate a Timetable for available course offerings.

LBST 100  (3)  Journeys and Conversations

An interdisciplinary learning community exploring important works in various intellectual and cultural traditions. Small seminars investigate how geographical, intellectual, and personal journeys shape identities; students develop essential writing and critical and creative thinking skills. LBST 100 also supports students making the transition from English language training to academic study. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: English 12 with a minimum grade of "C" or good standing in Academic Preparation 5.

LBST 111  (6)  Love and Friendship

In small seminars students discuss important works on the themes of love and friendship, examine the development of these themes in the Western and other traditions, and develop essential abilities in writing and critical and creative thinking. LBST 111 and LBST 112 together satisfy the Degree English Requirement. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Min. "C" in English 12 or equivalent.

LBST 112  (6)  Knowledge, Good, and Evil

In small seminars students discuss important works on the themes of knowledge, good, and evil, examine the development of these themes in the Western and other traditions, and develop essential abilities in writing and critical and creative thinking. LBST 111 and LBST 112 together satisfy the Degree English Requirement. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Min. "C" in English 12 or equivalent.

LBST 203  (3)  The Highest Things

In this interdisciplinary seminar, students study important works from the ancient Greeks and others on the themes of friendship, geometry, and divine places. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 303 or LBST 203. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

LBST 205  (3)  East and West

A study of central literary, philosophical, and artistic works from the `western' and `eastern' traditions, as a way of exploring points of convergence and divergence; the aim is cultural conversation via textual examination. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 305 or LBST 205. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

LBST 210  (6)  Gods and Ancient Worlds

An exploration of ancient Greek, Roman and Biblical poetry, drama, art, philosophy and science. Seminars examine such topics as justice, human nature, war, love, sexuality, faith, and rationality in the context of ancient times. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 310 or LBST 210. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Second-year standing.

LBST 214  (3)  Wonder and the Order of Nature

A discussion-based course focusing on changing conceptions of the natural world and our relation to it in nineteenth-century European thought; Nature becomes inspiration for poets, artists, philosophers, and scientists in their attempts to understand nature, knowledge, and humanity itself. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 314 or LBST 214. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: None.

LBST 215  (3)  Freedom and Alienation: Economics, Politics, and Liberty

Examines economics, property, freedom and alienation, including defenses and critiques of capitalism and socialism. Topics include class, inequality and links between private property and liberty. Consideration will be given to ancient and modern philosophers, artists, and economists. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 315 or LBST 215. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None. One of LBST 111, LBST 112, POLI 100, ECON 2111 or ECON 212 is recommended.

LBST 220  (6)  Passion, Faith, Reason: The Middle Ages and Renaissance

An exploration of the middle ages and Renaissance and their rich modern legacy. In seminars, students and faculty examine such topics as Dante's poetry, Machiavelli's politics, Hildegard's music, Galileo's science, Descartes' philosophy, and medieval Islamic writing. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 320 or LBST 220. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Second-year standing.

LBST 225  (3)  Our Place in the Cosmos

Examining works of astronomy, literature, and art primarily from the western tradition, this course focuses on a perennial human preoccupation: determining our place among the other beings of the world, and in the wider cosmos. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 325 or LBST 225. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: None.

LBST 231  (3)  Strangers and Friends in Western Culture

An interdisciplinary exploration, through seminar discussion and experiential learning, of the dualisms of friend and foe, familiar and unfamiliar, host and guest in the European artistic and intellectual tradition. Topics may include the representation of strangers and friends in art and literature; and the nature and ethics of hospitality. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 331 or LBST 231. (0:1.5:1.5)

Prerequisite: A course in Liberal Studies, English, or Philosophy.

LBST 232  (3)  Modernity and Postmodernity

An examination of selected topics in twentieth-century modern and postmodern thought, emphasizing art, science and their interrelationships. Examples include relativity, Western physics and Eastern philosophy, modern and post-modern art, feminist film, and the ethics of reproductive technologies. LBST 232 was formerly called LBST 421; credit will not be granted for both courses. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 332 or LBST 232. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: None

LBST 250  (6)  Finding the Human, Knowing the Divine

An exploration of poetry, drama, art, philosophy and science from Biblical, Classical, and early medieval times. Seminars examine such topics as justice, human nature, war, love, sexuality, faith, and rationality in the context of the periods. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 350 or LBST 250. (2:3:0)

Prerequisite: None.

LBST 290  (3)  Special Topics in Liberal Studies (Abroad) I

Interdisciplinary study, employing seminar-based pedagogy, of art, architecture, literature, music, philosophy and science, treated through exposure to and discussion of key primary works presented in the geographical and historical context of the countries in which they emerged. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: Min. "C" in English 12.

LBST 291  (3)  Special Topics in Liberal Studies (Abroad) II

A continuation of LBST 290. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: LBST 290.

Co-requisites: LBST 290

LBST 292  (3)  Special Topics in Liberal Studies (Abroad) III

A continuation of LBST 291. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: LBST 291.

Co-requisites: LBST 291

LBST 303  (3)  The Highest Things (Advanced)

In this advanced interdisciplinary seminar, students study important works from the ancient Greeks and others on the themes of friendship, geometry, and divine places. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 203 or LBST 303. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 305  (3)  East and West (Advanced)

An advanced study of central literary, philosophical, and artistic works from the `western' and `eastern' traditions, as a way of exploring points of convergence and divergence; the aim is cultural conversation via textual examination. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 205 or LBST 305. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 310  (6)  Gods and Ancient Worlds (Advanced)

An advanced exploration of ancient Greek, Roman and Biblical poetry, drama, art, philosophy and science. Seminars examine such topics as justice, human nature, war, love, sexuality, faith, and rationality in the context of ancient times. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 210 or LBST 310. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 311  (3)  Ancient Times, Ancient Ways

A detailed examination of selected topics arising during the period before 300 CE, with special emphasis on art, science and their interrelationships. Examples include Greek music and mathematics, gender in the ancient world, sculpture and conceptions of ideal humanity, and the comparison of Western and other traditions. (0:1.5:1.5)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 314  (3)  Wonder and the Order of Nature (Advanced)

This seminar-based course focuses on Nature as the inspiration for nineteenth-century poets, artists, philosophers, and scientists in their attempts to understand nature, knowledge, and humanity itself. There will be some in-depth examination of an aspect of these orientations to Nature. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 214 or LBST 314. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 315  (3)  Freedom and Alienation: Economics, Politics, and Liberty (Advanced)

Examines economics, property, freedom and alienation, including defenses and critiques of capitalism and socialism. Topics include class, inequality and links between private property and liberty. Consideration will be given to ancient and modern philosophers, artists, and economists. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 215 or LBST 315. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing. One of LBST 111, LBST 112, POLI 100, ECON 211, or ECON 212 is recommended.

LBST 320  (6)  Passion, Faith, Reason: the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Advanced)

An advanced exploration of the middle ages and Renaissance and their rich modern legacy. In seminars, students and faculty examine such topics as Dante's poetry, Machiavelli's politics, Hildegard's music, Galileo's science, Descartes' philosophy, and medieval Islamic writing. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 220 or LBST 320. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 321  (3)  The Emergence of European Culture

A detailed examination of selected topics arising during the period from 300-1700 CE, with special emphasis on art, science and their interrelationships. Examples include Christian mysticism, the Middle Ages in film, early music, the witch craze, Renaissance art and architecture, astronomy and the physics of motion. (0:1.5:1.5)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 322  (3)  Special Topics in Western Culture: The Italian Renaissance I

An interdisciplinary treatment of cultural currents in the Italian renaissance, covering such areas as painting and sculpture, literature, music, political philosophy and science. Normally delivered through the travel study format in Florence, Italy. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor(s).

LBST 323  (3)  Special Topics in Western Culture: The Italian Renaissance II

A continuation of LBST 322. Normally delivered through the travel study format in Florence, Italy. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: LBST 322 or permission of instructor(s).

Co-requisites: LBST 322 or permission of instructor(s).

LBST 325  (3)  Our Place in the Cosmos (Advanced)

Examining works of astronomy, literature, and art primarily from the western tradition, this advanced course focuses on a perennial human preoccupation: determining our place among the other beings of the world, and in the wider cosmos. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 225 or LBST 325. (3:0:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 331  (3)  Strangers and Friends in Western Culture (Advanced)

An advanced interdisciplinary exploration, through seminar discussion and experiential learning, of the dualisms of friend and foe, familiar and unfamiliar, host and guest in the European artistic and intellectual tradition. Topics may include the representation of strangers and friends in art and literature; and the nature and ethics of hospitality. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 231 or LBST 331. (0:1.5:1.5)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 332  (3)  Modernity and Postmodernity (Advanced)

An examination of selected topics in twentieth-century modern and postmodern thought, emphasizing art, science and their interrelationships (from cultural relativism, to modern and postmodern art, to physics and Eastern mysticism) with focused in-depth treatment of a topic. LBST 332 was formerly called LBST 421; credit will not be granted for both courses. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 232 or LBST 332. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 350  (6)  Finding the Human, Knowing the Divine (Advanced)

An advanced exploration of poetry, drama, art, philosophy and science from Biblical, Classical, and early medieval times. Seminars examine such topics as justice, human nature, war, love, sexuality, faith, and rationality in the context of the periods. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 250 or LBST 350. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 360  (6)  New Worlds and New Heavens

An exploration of the late middle ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment period and their rich modern legacy. In seminars, students and faculty examine such topics as Dante's poetry, Machiavelli's, Locke's, and Wollstonecraft's politics, Renaissance art, Galileo's science, and Descartes' and Hume's philosophy. (2:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 370  (6)  Revolutions of the Modern World

From Romanticism through modernity to post-modernism, an exploration of ideas central to Western art, literature, philosophy, science, music and politics from 1800 CE to today. Seminars focus on such issues as revolutionary politics, human and women's rights, biological and social evolution, colonialism, individual alienation, and existential freedom and terror. (2:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 390  (3)  Advanced Special Topics in Liberal Studies (Abroad) I

Advanced, seminar-based, interdisciplinary study of primary works of art, architecture, literature, music, philosophy and science, presented in the geographical and historical context of the countries in which they emerged. Where possible, students facilitate LBST 290 tutorials. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 391  (3)  Advanced Special Topics in Liberal Studies (Abroad) II

A continuation of LBST 390. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: LBST 390.

Co-requisites: LBST 390.

LBST 400  (6)  Senior Project in Liberal Studies

Students write a thesis on a topic approved by a supervisory committee. The Fall semester involves directed reading, preparation, peer discussion and approval of outlines and preliminary writing. The bulk of the writing takes place during the Spring semester, the thesis being presented at the Spring Conference. (0:1:0 for 30 weeks)

Prerequisite: Admission to Liberal Studies major program (this requires third year standing, with 6 credits in English or equivalent and min. GPA of "C" over the last 24 credits attempted), and completion of LBST 320 or permission of instructor(s); Co-requisite: LBST 410 and 420 or permission of instructor(s).

LBST 410  (6)  The Age of Revolution

A critical exploration of the ideas that shaped Western art, literature, philosophy, science, music and politics from 1700 to 1900 CE, with seminar discussion of key works by Enlightenment, Neo-Classical and Romantic figures, on such issues as revolutionary politics, human and women's rights, biological and social evolution, empire and colonialism. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 430 or LBST 410. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 411  (3)  Age of Reason, Age of Empire

A detailed examination of selected topics arising during the period from 1700-1900 CE, with special emphasis on art, science and their interrelationships. Examples include evolutionary biology, the emergence of geology, liberal politics and socialism, Wagnerian opera, Impressionism in art, and Forbidden Knowledge from Prometheus to Pornography. (0:1.5:1.5)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 412  (3)  Special Topics in Western Culture: Victorian England

An interdisciplinary treatment of cultural currents in the Victorian period in England, covering such areas as visual art, literature, music, social and political philosophy and natural science. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format in England. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor(s).

LBST 420  (6)  "The Shock of the New": Modernity and Beyond

A critical exploration of ideas that shaped Western art, literature, philosophy, science, music and politics since 1900, with seminar discussion of key works by important modern figures. Explore radical shifts towards contemporary cultural perspectives, including individual alienation, the problem of meaninglessness, feminist consciousness, and modernity and its discontents. Credit will only be granted for one of LBST 440 or LBST 420. (3:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 421  (3)  Modernity and Postmodernity

Detailed examination of selected topics arising during the twentieth century, with special emphasis on art, science and their interrelationships. Examples include relativity, Western physics and Eastern philosophy, modern and post-modern art, Canadian women writers, feminist film, contemporary music, political anarchism and the ethics of reproductive technologies. (0:1.5:1.5)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 422  (3)  Special Topics in Western Culture: Bloomsbury

An interdisciplinary treatment of the impact of the Bloomsbury group on twentieth century modernism in England, covering such areas as visual art, literature, social thought, music and philosophy. Normally delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format in England. (2.5:5:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor(s).

LBST 442  (3)  Great Minds, Great Ideas

An exploration of the achievements and legacy of an important thinker, artist or scientist who has made creative, revolutionary and lasting contributions to human understanding. Examples include Aristotle, Confucius, Aquinas, Ibn Rushd, Hildegard, Dante, da Vinci, Newton, Kant, Austen, Marx, Darwin, Eliot, Woolf, Einstein, Gandhi, Wittgenstein, de Beauvoir and Foucault. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing.

LBST 450  (3)  The Human Condition: Questions Past and Present

This capstone course brings primary texts from the Western tradition into conversation with contemporary thinkers around a shared theme, e.g. happiness and the good life. The course explores how secondary sources are in dialogue with primary works. Students will develop the research and analytical skills to engage in these dialogues. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 451  (3)  Major Essay

An opportunity to write a major research paper on a primary source of relevance to Liberal Studies. Students will receive guidance in finding, analyzing and incorporating secondary sources; crafting effective interpretative arguments; revising and presenting their essays; and engaging in collaborative peer-editing of colleagues' work. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 452  (3)  Field Placement

An opportunity for senior Liberal Studies majors and minors to do volunteer placements with community or campus-based agencies. Students complete 100 placement hours and coursework that makes connections between their liberal arts education and their placement experience. Students must contact the Department Chair in advance of the term of study. (0:3:0)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing and permission of Department.

LBST 490  (3)  Directed Study in Liberal Studies I

Supervised individual or small group work on specific topics. Students will agree with a faculty member on materials and assignments, and meet regularly in seminars to discuss progress. Arrangements are subject to approval by the faculty supervisor, department Chair and dean. Delivered through the Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (1:0:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: Third-year standing or permission of instructor.

LBST 491  (3)  Directed Study in Liberal Studies II

Supervised individual or small group work on specific topics. Students will agree with a faculty member on materials and assignments, and meet regularly in seminars to discuss progress. Arrangements are subject to approval by the faculty supervisor, department Chair and dean. Delivered through Liberal Studies Abroad travel study format. (1:0:0 for 6 weeks)

Prerequisite: LBST 490.

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