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The Students' Anthology on Human Welfare

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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By Caroline Tarjan and Maggie Twitdale, ASCI*4020 Class Members

According to the naturalist, researcher, biologist, theorist, and author E. O. Wilson, there is a question that every university student must be able to answer before they graduate: What is the relation between science and the humanities and how is it important for human welfare?

This is exactly what students in a fourth year interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (ASCI) course at the University of Guelph are trying to accomplish before their imminent graduation. They are creating and publishing an anthology entitled “Crossing Hemispheres: Cultivating Connections Between the Sciences and Humanities for Human Welfare” in which each student will interpret this question in their own way.

Every student in the class has a different combination of Minors:  from Math and Studio Art, to Political Science and Biology, or Molecular Biology and Genetics and Spanish. The articles in the anthology are an eclectic mix of subjects - typical to what you get when a group of ASCI students come together.

One student explores “how the culture of our education system is depriving students from perceiving the world around them.”

Some students relay personal accounts including: “What it was like to have a traumatic brain injury and how the story can benefit human welfare.”

Others investigate, “The importance of analyzing poverty from multiple perspectives to address the global crisis.” Another student critically assesses the differences between the sciences and the humanities and considers “the necessity to reform the structure that dictates the focus of scientific progress.”

The professor of the course, Laurie Manwell will discuss “How the humanities and sciences can work together to uphold Articles 25 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

The anthology is a reflection of the ASCI program as a whole, which allows students to create their own unique university honors program while understanding the importance of interdisciplinary thought.

The aim of this project is to increase awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary thought in all perspectives of life – from education to medicine to business to research. The students are excited to share their views to the answer of Wilson’s question and hope that other students and individuals in the Guelph community will be inspired too.

Professor Laurie Manwell states: "The inspiration for this project comes from my students’ openness and courage over the past 3 years to share their own reflections, personal experiences, and suggested solutions with me on some of the most serious humanitarian problems we face today, including poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, armed conflict, and ending the use of children as weapons of war. These brilliant and compassionate young students will become future leaders committed to interdisciplinary endeavours and will always keep at the forefront the primary reasons why we researchers do what we do, day after day – because we care deeply about people."

Proceeds of the book will go to the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, which is committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide.

The students strongly encourage people of all ages and academic backgrounds to purchase a copy of this anthology to support not only the Child Soldiers Initiative, but also the pursuit of human welfare through collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches.

To learn more about the project visit Facebook: Crossing Hemispheres and follow @CrossingHemisph on Twitter.

 

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