A "Special Topics" course is a designation reserved for new courses being offered on a one-off or trial basis. Courses numbered x99.6 or x98.3 are Special Topics courses. Sometimes, Special Topics courses arise because a faculty member is new to the department, and once they settle in their x98.3 and x99.6 courses will be converted to permanent status. More often, a Special Topics course represents a new departure for an established faculty member, usually in line with their recent research. These courses (which are fully developed and pass through a rigorous approval system at the departmental, college, and university level before joining our other distinguished course offerings) offer students the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and analysis, and give faculty the opportunity to present their latest ideas to a discerning audience of learners whose own inputs and responses are likely, in turn, to shape the instructor's thoughts on the matter. After all, teaching something is one of the best ways to learn something.
Having said all that, we have a number of fresh and exciting Speical Topics courses on offer for the coming regular season of 2008-09, including the following new, multi-media honours seminar that draws on John McCannon's expertise in bringing film, literature, art, and music to bear on the political, social, and historical realities of the USSR under Lenin and Stalin: