July Program

The Vancouver Summer Program runs two different cohorts:

  • June (Program dates: June 8-July 8)
  • July (Program dates: July 13-August 13)

The Arts VSP offers a variety of packages, each consisting of two non-credit courses, each with approximately 39 hours of class time.  Students can register in one package.

Courses are directed by UBC faculty members.  Classes are interactive and may include class discussions, group work, guest lecturers, and field trips.

As these are non-credit UBC courses, any course credit will be granted at the discretion of the participating universities. Students/universities will be given grades letters for each course upon program completion.

July 13 – August 13 2019 Course Packages

Each package includes two courses, each with 39 hours of class time. Classes are interactive and may include group work, class discussions, and guest lecturers. Credit for the courses may be granted by participating universities at their discretion.

This package is offered by UBC's Asian Studies Department, widely acknowledged as one of the finest of its kind in North America, and the UBC Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program, which specializes in the interdisciplinary study of local communities. This package examines how global migrations have formed unique societies and cultures, with a special focus on Vancouver’s Asian communities. This package draws on disciplines such as history, cultural studies, sociology, gender studies, and community studies to equip students with the background knowledge and skills to conduct community-based research in a sensitive and ethical manner. Instructors will combine academic readings and discussions with visits to local community organizations/sites such as museums, advocacy organizations, galleries, and historical neighbourhoods, and interaction with community members. Students will work on original research projects that blend skills such as writing, photography, filmmaking, interviewing, and web design.

South Asian Histories in Vancouver (Asian Studies)

This courses allows students to experience the long history of South Asian communities in greater Vancouver, exploring both experiences of marginalization and community resilience and productivity. Sociological, historical, gender studies, and cultural perspectives will be explored, as well as extensive site-visits and community-based learning opportunities through guest speakers from local communities and institutions. Cultural production in the form of theatre, film, and literature will form the focus of exploration, and students will engage in independent and group projects that allow for the development of research, public-speaking, and project management skills.

Chinese in Canada: Histories and Contemporary Issues (Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies)

Chinese have been coming to Canada since at least the 1850s; today, they are one of the largest minority communities in the country, with a particularly large concentration in the Greater Vancouver area. This course introduces students to histories of Chinese immigration as well as contemporary issues such as racism, identity, gender, and sexuality. Students will gain first-hand experience with local communities through guest speakers and visits to important sites such as Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and Richmond, home of one of the largest recent immigrant communities. In order to prepare students for further academic studies in English, this course will focus on developing skills in research, critical thinking, public presentation, digital media, and writing.

This package examines the ways in which media shape, and are shaped by, society and technology. Students will learn about the social and cultural context of communications, become familiar with current debates in media and be introduced to journalistic principles and practices. The package brings together the Department of Anthropology and the award-winning UBC Graduate School of Journalism.

Culture and Communication (Anthropology)

Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development. A very important area of interest is human language. This course will examine the relationship between language and culture by covering key debates in the field including animal vs. human communication, cross-cultural differences, language policies and language change. Students will explore how language is involved in cultural constructions of race, gender, class and ethnicity. They will also analyze how language is understood in relation to power, political economy and language ideologies. Students will gain experience in meeting writing standards for UBC Arts/Anthropology courses and will receive individual feedback on writing assignments.

Global Journalism (Journalism)

This course will examine the development of media technologies, their applications, and their cultural, political and social impacts. Students will also gain hands-on experience in learning how to think and operate like a professional journalist in a simulated multimedia environment. It is designed to introduce students to the grammar and syntax of media across platforms, based on a core journalistic skill set of interviewing, reporting, news writing, and research methods in tandem with the most current technical tools.

Students will gain a deep perspective on the internal structure, origins, and many variations of the English language. These courses are modeled after university-level courses for native English-speaking students, and are jointly offered by UBC's globally recognized Departments of Linguistics and English.

The History and Future of the English Language (English)

In order to contextualize present-day changes in English, the course will begin with a brief history of the English language. It will then examine issues such as the national dialects of English (e.g. Canadian English, British English, Singapore English), regional and social dialects, the effects of gender on language forms and use, language in computer-mediated discourse (in texts, emails, social media), and ongoing changes in contemporary English. The course will provide students with a better understanding of how English is used in different contexts, and the directions in which the language is heading in the 21st century.

How Human Language Works (Linguistics)

An introduction to how human languages work, examining the structures that underlie all languages, with special focus on the deep structure of English. The course asks what universal properties are shared by all languages, and how languages as divergent as English and Chinese can be different (or similar!) in terms of their sound systems, word-building, grammar, meaning, written form, and acquisition by children and adult learners. By the end of the course, students from varied language backgrounds should understand how knowledge of the universal properties of languages can deepen their understanding of English, of their own language(s), and of the amazing capacity of the human mind.

This package combines the Vancouver School of Economics (VSE), a global centre for research and hands-on learning about pressing economic issues, ranked in the top 20 worldwide and number one in Canada, and UBC’s highly regarded Political Science Department.

International Trade and Financial Markets (Economics)

The modern global economy is intricately tied together through networks of trade and financial interconnections. This course will give students an understanding of the structure and function of international trade and international financial markets. The course will give a basic introduction to the forces driving international trade in goods and financial assets among nations of the world. The major theories of international trade and financial markets will be reviewed. Topics covered will include the determinants of a country's trading pattern, recent trends in international trade such as offshoring and global supply chains, the role of financial markets in international development, the future of the Renminbi as an international currency, the understanding of international financial crises, and sovereign debt crises.

Dynamics of Democracy and Global Uprisings (Political Science)

This course deals with some of the key concepts of political science, matching them with developments around the globe. We begin by considering some of the concepts and controversies in defining democratic and non-democratic systems. How do we tell democratic systems from non-democratic ones? Are all democracies the same, or at least similar? Is citizen satisfaction a distinctive quality of those regimes? We then link these discussions to the rising waves of global discontent around the globe. The seemingly-universal quality of these uprisings give a strong indication that the struggles we are witnessing are no longer over democracy versus other systems; instead, what seems to be at issue are the meanings and practices largely associated with democratic regimes, the expectations of people, and what regimes provide. Finally, we focus on specific uprisings, chosen by the students, in an attempt to contextualize our discussions and make sense of recent global developments in an informed, thoughtful manner.

This package pairs the Vancouver School of Economics (VSE), a global centre ranked in the top 20 of its peer departments worldwide, and number one in Canada, with the Geography Department, ranked as one of the ten best geography programs in the world and best in Canada, according to the 2016 QS University Rankings.

Geographies of the Global Economy (Geography)

This course will explore the fast-changing geographies of the global economy from the uniquely grounded perspective of economic geography. The course will examine a range of contemporary issues and debates in the field, including: the development of transnational production and logistics networks: changing patterns of migration and labour mobility; the growth and influence of world cities and financial centres; new models of economic growth and varieties of capitalism; and contrasting perspectives on economic and cultural globalization. Students will acquire an up-to-date understanding of the changing global economy and its principal challenges and opportunities, together with an understanding of their own place in the world.

Environmental Economics (Economics)

This course provides an introduction to economic aspects of environmental problems and sustainability. It will begin with an overview of selected environmental problems, such as the effects of air and water pollution on human health, threats to biodiversity from habitat destruction, and climate change. Trends and indicators of environmental sustainability, both within and across countries, will be reviewed. The course will focus on questions such as why environmental problems occur, whether or not globalization is increasing the severity of such problems, what types of policies have been successful in improving environmental quality, and whether or not current consumption levels are sustainable. Policies will be analyzed from the perspective of efficiency, effectiveness, political feasibility and fairness, and examples will be drawn from different countries.

Italian for Beginners (French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies)

Our educational program for beginners includes vocabulary, grammar, exercises and dialogues, and places special emphasis on singing. The purpose of the Italian-for-Beginners course is to help students develop basic comprehension, speaking and translation skills, understand and communicate in structured, real-life situations in contemporary Italian. By integrating study and practice of the Italian contemporary language with Italian lyric diction and musical culture, this course makes learning as effortless and as fun as possible. The use of traditional and art songs and arias, as well as of role-plays and conversations with Italian speakers, will provide the opportunity to practice diverse language skills, while also learning about the fascinating world of Italy and its culture. By the end of the course students will be able to understand basic phrases, interact with other people and write short messages, all in Italian!

Fundamentals of Opera Singing (Music)

Whether you have some singing experience or not this course will cater to your level and needs, and teach both the basic as well as new and exciting Italian repertoire. The course will focus on group singing classes where the fundamentals of breathing, singing, and moving on stage will be outlined. Group activities will be accompanied by individual lessons with a UBC Voice Faculty Teacher, where students receive immediate and targeted feedback. A final performance of solo and group singing will be the culmination of all of your hard work. If you have ever wondered about pursuing a degree in Voice at UBC, this is the right opportunity to learn about the School of Music and what you need to prepare in advance of your audition. Begin your journey into the study of Italian music and come sing Bocelli's and other charming Italian songs with us!

Language and computation are the very foundations of the new knowledge economy. In this package, students will explore these foundations through the dynamic field of Computational Linguistics. Students will examine how linguistics and computation combine to answer fundamental questions about language, and study the ways in which it is deployed by the tech industry to provide solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues. A background in computing is not necessary.

Linguistics for Natural Language Processing (Linguistics)

An introduction to the general linguistic principles and concepts that are relevant for computational linguistics, including: (i) an introduction to phonetics and phonology, (ii) an understanding of syntactic and morphological structure, (ii) descriptive approaches to grammar, (iii) language typology and linguistic universals, including differences and commonalities between different languages, cultures and modes of communication. In each case, special reference will be made to computational applications, and by the end of the course students should understand how knowledge of the universal properties of languages both contributes to and benefits from computational research and applications.

Computation for Natural Language Processing (Linguistics)

This course will take students with little or no background in computing and teach them programming basics and the practical uses of computational linguistics and machine learning. Students will learn how to use a command line interface and create simple programs using Python and NLTK. The course will then take them step-by-step through how programs perform such tasks as tagging speech and analyzing sentence structure or meaning. They will see how these steps can be applied in such useful and ubiquitous applications as error correction, spam filters and author identification among others. Finally, they will see concrete examples of how computation is contributing back to traditional areas of linguistic enquiry.

This package examines the ways in which film and theatre are shaped by the city in which they are produced. Students will learn about the thriving theatrical city that is Vancouver and use simple film techniques to document how place can influence both live and digital work. The package brings together the most dynamic aspects of the Department of Theatre and Film, which produces exhilarating live theatre and films, while examining the academic endeavours of both.

From Drama to Theatre: How Does a Play Mean? (Theatre)

This course will explore the languages of theatre within Vancouver’s lively performance culture. How does a theatrical production translate the two dimensions of a dramatic script into the multiple dimensions of the stage? How do individual artists—directors, actors, designers—transform a playwright’s ideas into original art?

These questions will be explored in relation to three different kinds of plays in production in Vancouver. We will discuss the various languages of the stage, read and discuss the play scripts, attend the productions, meet with some of the artists, and analyze how production choices interpret script concepts.

Chosen plays will span different genres, including a play by Shakespeare (at Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival) plus productions at other venues. Specific plays will be determined once companies’ summer seasons are announced. Syllabus is subject to change.

Documentary & the City (Film)

For the first time in human history a majority of the world live in cities. While there are multiple threats posed by the growth of cities, such as poverty, migration, and social divisions, there are also surprising and innovative practices that emerge. The city of Vancouver is brimming with stories that can tell us many things about the world we live in. Focusing on documentary films and filmmaking, this course introduces students to these often hidden stories of the city through key writings, films, and direct engagement with life in Vancouver. Students will use creative methods to connect critical analysis with their everyday experiences, while authoring basic documentary projects in neighbourhoods throughout the city.

Inequality and Diversity in Modern Societies (Sociology)

This course explores the concepts and theories surrounding social diversity across a range of modern societies. The aim is to highlight how societies are stratified along different social categories, and engage students to think critically about the organizational structure of multicultural societies. We begin with an overview of the demographic and socioeconomic position of various groups. We then analyze the social inequalities that exist among these groups and the social mechanisms and policies that generate these differences. Drawing from real life examples and research findings, the course will teach students how to think sociologically about specific issues (e.g. labour market participation, health outcomes, civic participation) that are relevant across the globe but also pay attention to those pertinent to multicultural societies such as Canada. Lastly, the course will use assignments to enable students to analyze these issues and think about practical solutions to address them.

Practice with Marginalized Diverse Populations (Social Work)

Based on a framework that recognizes that inequality is rooted in historical forms of stratification that are often embedded in modern institutions, this course will explore the application of the concepts of diversity in policy and practice with diverse populations. This course will then examine how different forms of diversity individually and intersectionally cause predicaments to and marginalization of individuals, groups and communities. Using Canadian policies as an example, students will learn and critique the strengths and limitations of the human rights and multicultural discourse prevalently embraced by many western countries. Through agency visits and small group discussions, students will examine different ways and approaches of how health and social service practitioners apply the concepts of social diversity in serving and advocating for individuals, groups and communities to overcome these predicaments and marginalization.