Individual & Society

Stream Overview

What is the relationship between the individual and society? What forms of research can we use to answer this question? And importantly, who gets paid for coming up with the best answers?  These are just some of the questions that we investigate in CAP’s Individual & Society stream as we bring together insights from the fields of Economics, English Literature, and Psychology.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In many ways, all fields of university research — from Business School to Software Engineering, from Biology to Theatre — study the relationship between the individual and society. Our approach to this topic drives scholarly research; it also influences government and business policies, social justice initiatives, technological innovation, and pop culture.

This stream is ideal for first-year students interested in entering into an interdisciplinary major, or who are unsure of their major but want to develop a broad and flexible range of scholarly abilities in preparation for the rest of their academic career. In addition, this stream may be of particular interest to students who plan on majoring in Economics, Psychology, English, or Commerce.

Individual & Society students develop skills for critical thinking, academic writing, and researching across disciplines as they prepare to be the influencers and leaders of the future.

“When it came to making the final decision about the program, I chose Individual & Society because it incorporated one of my favourite graphic novels – Persepolis. But it turned out to be much more. The theme in my year -“consumerism and consumption”- harmonized ideas and concepts from multiple subjects that piqued my interests. I was equipped with critical thinking skills and provided with the most supportive community that recognized what I brought with me as a person.”

Rohina, Individual & Society 2014-2015, International Relations major

Click here for more student testimonials


Courses

All course descriptions and information are subject to change.

In your first term, you will enroll in Arts Studies, Economics, and Psychology. In your Arts Studies class, you will be introduced to the features of academic writing in university, as well as study how literature may shape or challenge the “individual” and “society”. To better understand the individual, the study of microeconomics will introduce you to the theories and workings behind how individual agents – producers and consumers (such as yourself!) – act in accordance to demand and supply in the free market. At the same time, biological psychology seeks to explain these individual actions by delving into the inner workings of a person’s mind.

Arts Studies (ASTU) 100 Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on scholarly writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment.

Students will choose one out of five different sections (I01/I02/I03/I04/I05), based on their scheduling needs and academic interests, and stay in the same section for both terms.

Timeslots:
I01: Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00-12:00
I02: Mon, Wed, Fri 12:00-13:00
I03: Mon, Wed, Fri 14:00-15:00
I04: Tues & Thurs 11:00-12:30
I05: Tues & Thurs 14:00-15:30


  • ASTU 100 Sections I01, I02, I03 Writing the City
    Dr. Anne Stewart

When it comes to the relationship between the individual and society, the massive cities of today present a paradox. The city can be isolating; no place makes the individual feel more invisible, as does the protagonist in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. Simultaneously, the city is the heart of human community and social networks; in Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, we see politics, parties, and protests achieve critical mass in city centers. Major cities, like the Vancouver we encounter in Eden Robinson’s Blood Sports, dramatize the relationship between the most intense forms of wealth and poverty, individuality and collectivity, extreme normativity and radical heterogeneity.

People also love writing about the city. Streets, skyscrapers, and public parks are magnetic sites for imaginative engagement and for arguments that sometimes turn violent, like those in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Through contemporary literature, essays, film, and music inspired by the big city—and in the case of Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, the city of the future—this course will examine the modern metropolis as a physical geography that shapes how we organize our societies and our sense of self.


  • ASTU 100 Sections I04 & I05 - The Price of Story-Telling
    Dr. Meredith Beales

What does it mean to tell your story, and what are the rewards and costs of doing so? How do we tell stories that help us fit into society, or show we are excluded from it? This section of ASTU 100 will examine the paradoxical outcomes of telling our stories, which can be both profoundly rewarding and limiting at the same time. In this term of ASTU 100, we will examine texts that explore how to represent exclusion and belonging through literature that highlights who is telling the stories, and what it costs the narrators to tell them. From Tara Westover’s Educated to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we will consider the costs and advantages that accrue from stories—and histories—of alienation and belonging.


 

Economics (ECON) 101 – Principles of Microeconomics

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Anichul Khan
anichul.khan@ubc.ca

Principles of Microeconomics: This course introduces students to the economic way of thinking and the principles of microeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of individual markets and the behavior of individual agents such as consumers, business firms, and the government. We begin with the fundamental ideas of trade-offs and opportunity cost. Next we introduce supply and demand, the forces that determine prices and quantities in the markets for goods and services, and demand and supply elasticities. We then examine situations where market outcomes are socially beneficial and situations where markets fail. Next we study how government policy may make our economy less or more efficient; that is, when and where government succeeds or fails. Then, we turn our focus on to explaining the marginal utility theory of consumer, the way how to find the best affordable choice (BAC) of a consumer, and the effects on BAC of changing price and income. Next our attention is how business firms choose production levels to maximize profits, and the effect of different market structures, such as perfect competition, monopoly market, on economic outcomes.

Psychology (PSYC) 101 – Introduction to Biological and Cognitive Psychology

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Mark Lam
mlam@psych.ubc.ca

With so much to learn as a university student, it would be great if you could use more than just 10% of your brain. Is this “10%” fact or fiction? What are the various parts of the brain and what are they responsible for? There’s so much to learn in university! What are the best ways to study to maintain your 95% average? Why do some students study so hard yet forget so much? Your roommate is an “interesting” person. You wonder if/how his drug use affects his brain and how to teach (train) him to be less of a slob.

Psychology is relevant to our everyday lives! PSYC 101 will answer these questions and introduce you to some of the major research areas within the field of psychology: the scientific study of the mind, the brain, and behaviour. The course begins with an overview of psychology and its research methods. Next, the course covers the biological basis of behaviour as well as cognitive psychology (the brain and the mind respectively). Specific topics include neuroanatomy, thinking and reasoning, consciousness, memory, learning, language, sensation and perception.

In your second term, you will continue your studies in Arts Studies, Economics, and Psychology. Bringing our focus from the individual to the society, macroeconomics will highlight the ways that we study economic behaviour on a larger societal behaviour. The study of social and personality psychology also help us to explain how society might shape an individual’s personality and behaviour.

Arts Studies (ASTU) 100 Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on scholarly writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment.

Students will choose one out of five different sections (I01/I02/I03/I04/I05), based on their scheduling needs and academic interests, and stay in the same section for both terms.

Timeslots:
I01: Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00-12:00
I02: Mon, Wed, Fri 12:00-13:00
I03: Mon, Wed, Fri 14:00-15:00
I04: Tues & Thurs 11:00-12:30
I05: Tues & Thurs 14:00-15:30


When it comes to the relationship between the individual and society, the massive cities of today present a paradox. The city can be isolating; no place makes the individual feel more invisible, as does the protagonist in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. Simultaneously, the city is the heart of human community and social networks; in Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, we see politics, parties, and protests achieve critical mass in city centers. Major cities, like the Vancouver we encounter in Eden Robinson’s Blood Sports, dramatize the relationship between the most intense forms of wealth and poverty, individuality and collectivity, extreme normativity and radical heterogeneity.

People also love writing about the city. Streets, skyscrapers, and public parks are magnetic sites for imaginative engagement and for arguments that sometimes turn violent, like those in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Through contemporary literature, essays, film, and music inspired by the big city—and in the case of Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, the city of the future—this course will examine the modern metropolis as a physical geography that shapes how we organize our societies and our sense of self.


  • ASTU 100 Sections I04 & I05 - The Price of Story-Telling
    Dr. Meredith Beales

What does it mean to tell your story, and what are the rewards and costs of doing so? How do we tell stories that help us fit into society, or show we are excluded from it? This section of ASTU 100 will examine the paradoxical outcomes of telling our stories, which can be both profoundly rewarding and limiting at the same time. In this term of ASTU 100, we will examine texts that explore how to represent exclusion and belonging through literature that highlights who is telling the stories, and what it costs the narrators to tell them. From Tara Westover’s Educated to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we will consider the costs and advantages that accrue from stories—and histories—of alienation and belonging.

 


Economics (ECON) 102 – Principles of Macroeconomics

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Anichul Khan
anichul.khan@ubc.ca

Principles of Macroeconomics: Students examine economic behavior at aggregate/national level. We begin with measuring different macroeconomic, labour market, and monetary market variables like GDP, employment-unemployment and inflation, and measuring economic growth, shedding light on growth theories. Next we introduce finance, saving, and investment with special focus on loanable funds (LF) market, the behavior of LF market when government is in, and the behavior of the market when it is part of global LF market. We then study money, money creation process, money market, and quantity theory of money. Next our focus is on defining exchange rate studying supply of and demand for foreign exchange. Then we turn our focus on aggregate demand and aggregate supply both in the short- and long-run, and on aggregate expenditure multiplier. Next we introduce Phillips curve that relates inflation with unemployment. Our final topics include fiscal and monetary policy.

Psychology (PSYC) 102 – Introduction to Developmental, Social, Personality, and Clinical Psychology

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Mark Lam
mlam@psych.ubc.ca

All your hard work has paid off and you’ve made it to UBC! Does this mean you’re more intelligent than those who haven’t? There are so many assignments and exams! Can these stressors make you sick? Your new friends are quite different from you. How might they influence your beliefs and behaviours? You meet a special someone at a party and fall in love. How did your personality develop and will it determine the success of your relationship? The transition to university is difficult for some of your friends and their behaviour becomes strange. Should you be concerned? How are mental disorders diagnosed and how are they best treated?

Psychology is relevant to our everyday lives! PSYC 102 will answer these questions and introduce you to some of the major research areas within the field of psychology: the scientific study of the mind, the brain, and behaviour. This course addresses applied areas in psychology and will introduce such topics as intelligence, personality, human development, health psychology, social psychology, and the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.


Timetable

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100 section and one ECON 101 discussion section. This timetable is subject to change.

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100 section and one ECON 102 discussion section. This timetable is subject to change.


Sample Projects

ASTU 100

Archival research in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections: Students spend one week examining readers’ responses to Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, a semi-autobiographical novel about the treatment of Japanese-Canadians during and after World War II. Students analyze these readers’ responses in relation to an argument by a literary scholar, and present their research findings in the form of a short paper. This project helps students understand how academics conduct primary research to produce new knowledge.

Academic Speed Dating: Each student works on a question based on a selection of texts that expands on class discussion. They then have approximately 6 minutes in pairs to ask each other their questions and generate discussion about the texts. After 6 minutes, they rotate and work with another student and, at the end, they have a selection of different answers. Afterwards, they produce written responses to the exercise where they analyze their discussions and give a critical response to their classmates’ answers. It transforms the traditional classroom space into a dynamic forum for discussion and debate and allows students to apply their own frames of reference and experiences to the texts.

ECON 101 and 102

On-line experiments, conducted on three selected evenings during the term, give students the opportunity to participate in real-time, online markets with their classmates and the professor. These experiments help students understand how real markets operate, how they organize the economic activity of disparate consumers and businesses, and how the market collects and processes information. Students are assigned a variety of roles to play in each experiment and their success as market participants becomes a (small) part of their overall course grade.

PSYC 100

Article Report: A psychological research article is assigned for students to read and summarize during Term 1. Each student writes a short article report summarizing and critiquing the article. Students are welcome to work in groups when discussing the article report, but the paper is written independently.

Group Project: During Term 2, students (working in teams of 2 or 3) conduct their own psychological experiment on an assigned topic. Students are responsible for designing and conducting the experiment and submitting a report.