AUS Reading Groups are here!

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This term, we are excited to present several AUS-sponsored Reading Groups led by undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts. These not-for-credit discussion groups are a space for continued academic exploration and investigation outside of the classroom, in areas that students might not otherwise have the opportunity to study. They are open to all undergraduate students.

The confirmed topics for Winter 2015 are the following:

“Diverse Marxisms”

This reading group sets out to cover and discuss texts engaging with Marxism that have often been left out of canonical discussions. We will be working consciously to read texts by women, people of colour, queer and trans people, and other voices which we feel we haven’t had a chance to engage with in other academic settings. In doing so, we wish to explore how Marxism has been taken up by marginalized peoples and how these writers both problematize and extrapolate Marxist theory to engage with contemporary issues. This is not a group to discuss the merits of Marxist theory, but rather to see what the study of Marxism by marginalized people can bring to both academic and activist discussions.

Contacts: Disha Jani (History), Saad Rajper (English)

Meeting Time: Bi-weekly, Mondays 5:30pm


“Saintly Superheroes and Superheroic Saints”

This reading group will examine similarities between saintly life narratives from various religious traditions and superhero narratives in comic books and their TV/movie adaptations. Texts will include comic books such as Deadpool and Batman, scholarly sources on saints and superheroes, and various saintly narratives from around the world.

Contact: Jessica Stilwell (Religious Studies)

Meeting Time: Bi-weekly, Thursdays 12:00pm–2:00pm


“The Ontological Turn”

This group will explore the “ontological turn” in anthropology, largely through the lens of Amazonian cultural studies and linguistic, psychological and ecological approaches to the field. The reading list will include texts from Eduardo Kohn Viveiros de Castro, Davi Kopenawa, Bruce Albert, Bruno Latour and select articles from a number of prominent anthropology journals.

Contact: Jielin Liu (Antropology)

Meeting Time: Bi-weekly, Wednesdays 12:00pm–2:00pm


“Novelty: Diverse Representations”

This reading group will focus on the role that literature and reading can play in cultural identity and perspective. Many argue that both the Western mainstream literary canon and the New York Times Bestseller list do not reflect world demographics and that diversity in the books we read is vital to providing representation, validation, and guidance to marginalized minority groups, whether they be racial or ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or people with disabilities. Organizations like We Need Diverse Books argue that such representation is important because it can provide a window into an experience completely different to one’s own. Compelling stories can thus provide a foothold for more comprehensive understandings and a more empathetic, thoughtful society. Towards this end, we will read both literary and well-crafted commercial texts from a wide variety of people and experiences.

Contact: Kelly Benning (Economics)

Meeting Time: Bi-weekly, Wednesdays 2:00pm


“Law in a Global World”

This reading group aims to critically engage with the changing practices of trade in our increasingly globalized world. We will explore the transformation of global bodies like the WTO and NAFTA, through the use of modern and classic texts, paralleled by relevant case studies. In doing so, we hope to gain a diverse understanding of international trade law in the eyes of different stakeholders.

Contacts: Jesse Shuster-Leibner (Political Science/Economics)

Meeting Time: Bi-weekly, Tuesdays 5:30pm



General questions can be directed to the AUS VP Academic.

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