PLAS units February 2021

The University of Malta’s Programme in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (PLAS) is an excellent opportunity for personal and professional development. You may apply for any and as many Units as you wish from the broad range of PLAS Units on offer.

PLAS Units consist of weekly evening lectures between 18:00 and 20:00, normally spread over 14 weeks.

Get to know when the lectures are held:
Timetable - Academic Year 2020-2021 Semester 2  

Coordinator: Prof. Gloria Lauri Lucente
Co-lecturers: Dr Stephen Stefano Zammit & Dr Karl Chircop
This Unit intends to introduce students to the mystifying medieval world of Dante Alighieri.
The Unit will delve into the context, the themes, the styles, the meanings and the allegories from  a selection of cantos from the Divine Comedy. The lectures shall be carried out in English but    the students with knowledge of Italian will also be given the opportunity to read a selection of cantos in the original text with their lecturer. Students with no knowledge of Italian will be using the authoritative new verse translation (with facing-page Italian text) by internationally famed scholar and master teacher Robert Hollander and his wife, poet Jean Hollander.

Friday at 18.00 - 20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Mr Guido Bonett
This Unit is intended for those that are new to photography. It highlights the possibilities that exist on these islands that allow those interested in nature photography to participate in this rewarding activity. This Unit will give a brief introduction on the history of photography in Malta and it will later focus on different aspects of nature photography. Topics include Maltese habitats and the opportunities these present to the photographer; Nature photography in different  habitats such as tropical rain forests, savannas and grasslands; basic information on the technical aspects such as camera bodies, lenses and other equipment used in the field; hints and tricks on how to take better nature photographs; ethics in photography.

Tuesday at 18.00- 20.00.

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Coordinator: Mr Alexei Pace
This Unit will adopt of a non-technical approach to astronomy where the main concepts and discoveries will be investigated – from the constellations to the planets making up our Solar System, to the vast and remote galaxies where new stars are being born right now. Short movies and computer animations will be used to make  the subject matter easier to understand, putting everything into perspective.

Thursday at 18.00- 20.00.

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Coordinator: Ms Theresa Hoban | Co-lecturer: Ms Claire Micallef
Marketing is both an art and a science, focusing on building long term, value laden, profitable relationships between organisations and their customers and various publics. This Unit aims at introducing students to the Marketing Concept; Marketing Management Philosophies; the
S.W.O.T. Analysis; the Customer Buying Behaviour; the Importance of Marketing Research and Market Segmentation; the Marketing Mix and Customer Driven Marketing Strategies,
and Marketing in the Digital Age, Relationship Marketing and Customer Care.

Tuesday at 18.00 - 20.00.

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Coordinator: Prof. Carmel Cassar |
Co-lecturers: Prof. Suzanne Piscopo, Prof. Anna McElhatton,
Prof. Everaldo Attard, Dr Rachel Radmilli & Ms Margaret Camilleri Fenech
This Unit will explore anthropological theories about food and methods related to the study of beliefs and behaviour surrounding food production, distribution and consumption, with case material from specific areas including Malta, other Mediterranean islands and part of the mainland. The Unit will look at some of the main factors leading to a globalisation of food and aims to classify the changes and notes their concrete and specific impacts on everyday eating. The Unit is bound to rely heavily on historical factors, but will also look at relatively recent food-related events especially at the way cooking methods transformed traditional food over time and the changing patterns of eating behaviour taking specific regions, and particular foods as case-studies.

Tuesday at 18.00 - 20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Dr Joseph Lia
This unit will introduce the student to the literature of the Russian Composers in the vocal, symphonic and dance genres. The most important and influential works of the main Russian composers, from Glinka to Prokofiev, will be discussed. Their lives will be taken from a social and political point of view. This Unit will give the student the necessary knowledge to appreciate and familiarise themselves with the works of these composers, and they will be able to appreciate more in depth a symphonic, operatic or ballet performance. Case studies utilised for this Unit will consist of recordings of immortal productions from well-known conductors, directors and performers – together these will contribute to a more holistic approach for and by the students.

Wednesday at 18.00 - 20.00.

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Coordinator: Mr Robert Cordina (15 March – 20 March 2021)
This Unit will be showing the intrinsic links between cooking and chemistry. Everyday items – ice-cream, cured foods, mayonnaise, jams, bread – will be looked at from a chemical point of view. Why is ice-cream creamy, and why does mayonnaise not split into oil and water? And why can jams be spread, and don’t go mouldy? What happens at a molecular level when we fry, bake, roast, grill our foods? And why do eggs and bacon, but also white chocolate and caviar, taste good together? The chemical basis of all this as well as a look at some natural vs. artificial ingredients will be investigated. The basic chemistry principles discussed in this unit will be covered in the first lecture and no specialist chemistry knowledge is expected prior to this unit. The lectures will include a number of demonstrations to better explain the topic being discussed.

Online. For the schedule of LAS1048 click here

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Coordinator: Ms Georgina Debattista
The goal of this Unit is to help students acquire theoretical understanding of the dynamics inherent in small groups, and to appreciate and grasp the practical aspects of leading and managing a group. It introduces the basic group principles and theories of group development, that is, how groups change and develop over time focusing on topics such as group formation, structure and cohesion. It offers a good understanding of the various topics related to group dynamics. It examines how interpersonal forces significantly shape member’s actions by addressing topics such as influence processes, power in group strategies, conformity and deviance, and leadership. It explores and identifies factors that influence group’s productivity by studying processes and problems of group performance, decision making and teamwork. It deals with various topics related to group dynamics such as inclusion and identity, the connection between the individual and the group, conflict and cooperation in groups, intergroup relations, groups in specific settings and how groups promote change.

Wednesday at 18.00- 20.00. Online

Coordinator: Prof. Pauline Galea

Co-lecturers: Dr Matthew Agius & Dr Daniela Farrugia

This unit is intended to address the various questions asked by non-specialists about the Earth, its internal structure, dynamics and the interaction of natural geological processes with society and civilisation. The unit will present state-of- the-art methodologies for detecting, monitoring and analysis of such processes.

Thursday at 18.00 - 20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Dr Julian Zarb | Co-lecturer: Prof. Andrew Jones
This study unit aims to look at the historical, social, economic and cultural development of travel and tourism. Starting with the first urge that Homo Sapiens felt in moving about in search of food, shelter and community. The Unit will look at the evolution of the tourism industry and its exponential growth through to its present state.

Friday at 18.00-20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Rev. Dr Jonathan Farrugia
The study unit is intended for anyone interested in ancient writings dealing with saints (hagiography). The role of the saint as an intermediary between the divine and the human substituted that of the heroes (or demi-gods) of mythology. The Unit will start
with a description of the hero in classical mythology and then moving on to explore how this role was “Christianised”. The introductory lectures will include some hours on the context which created these Christian heroes, namely the persecutions organised by the Roman Empire. Eventually some hagiographical texts will be analysed to bring out the characteristics sought in martyrs to promote them to heroes. An analysis of different forms of hagiographic texts
will also be included, bringing out the differences between acts, passions and legends.

Wednesday at 18.00 - 20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Mr James Sultana
Dark Tourism, defined as the act of travel to sites related to death, disaster or the seemingly macabre, as a field of study in Tourism, has been attracting a lot of interest from scholars, the media and public. This Unit explores current Dark Tourism theory and apply these theories to the Maltese touristic landscape.
The Unit will cover issues concerning Dark Tourism terminology and history; Dark Tourism supply and branding; and Dark Tourism demand and motivation. Moreover, the ethical aspect of Dark Tourism and Dissonant Heritage will be considered. Furthermore, this Unit will apply issues from the field of Dark Tourism to the Maltese context.

Online. Friday at 18.00 - 20.00.

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Coordinator: Dr Graziella Stringos
The nineteenth century was a period of social change, technological innovation and medical advances but also one of dire poverty, fatal diseases, social injustice and moral
double standards. The unit will (re)view this intriguing period in British history through the eyes of its most remarkable novelists, namely, the Brontë sisters, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. The unit will also explore the literary taste of the Victorian reader who was spoilt for choice: romances, sensation fiction, detective fiction and tales of horror and mystery are only a few of the subgenres that tickled the Victorian imagination. Without question, the nineteenth century was the decade of novelists and their novels.

Monday at 18.00- 20.00. Online

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Coordinators: Mr Anton Mangion
The Art of Winemaking Part 2 will explain in detail the biology of yeasts and will deal with post fermentation management. Following fermentation, it is important that the wine be stabilised against undesired changes prior to bottling. The Unit will discuss the possible causes of wine instability and how it can be prevented and rectified. The Unit will focus on fining agents and their use, alternative winemaking, namely sparkling wines, sherry and port production. The Unit will also delve into wine tasting; how should wine be tasted; what do you expect to experience during wine tasting.

Thursday at 18.00 - 20.00.

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Coordinator: Ms Sonya Sammut

Biology has the answer to some of our psychological distress. Building on the theoretical foundations and principles of evolutionary psychology, (previously known as human socio-biology), this unit offers explanations as to how these mechanisms form part of a universal human nature. This Unit explains how understanding the biological basis of these evolved behavioural responses can offer us insights and solutions for our lives. This unit includes an introduction to evolutionary biology and psychology, as well as an overview of the nature of adaptive problems and solutions. Topics and phenomena that are of relevance to human socio-biology – aggression, conflict, leadership, maternity, depression, altruism and cooperation, communication and language, friendship, morality, etc., will be discussed with an emphasis on how these behaviours can be read to provide solutions to wellbeing.

Thursday at 18.00- 20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Dr Nicola Bugeja
This practical study-unit provides students with tools to develop and manage public speaking presentations within a diversity of contexts. In the first part of the study-unit, students will practice specialised techniques in public speaking, including articulation, projection, posture, breathing, stage presence and audience engagement. The study-unit will also offer techniques for content development and how to cater this depending on each context and its particular purpose. In the second part, these techniques will be adapted to different contexts of public speaking, including academic presentations, online conferences, radio interviews and tv appearances. Throughout the process, students will be directed to reflect critically on their practice, verbally and in writing.

Tuesday at 18.00- 20.00.

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Coordinator: Dr Claude Bajada | Co-lecturers: Mr Francois Zammit
This study unit will go through the history of our understanding of the neurosciences. This Unit will discuss prevalent myths and misconceptions in popular culture, its structure and function and finally will discuss cutting edge research being done on this mysterious organ. The study unit will also explore some of the main western philosophical theories and arguments about the notions of the mind and brain that have informed discussions and debates both on a theoretical and practical level. It will primarily focus on the normal functioning of the brain, however, neurological and psychiatric pathologies will occasionally be referred as ways to gain insight into the organ of 'the self,' the brain.

Wednesday at 18.00- 20.00. Online

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Coordinator: Dr Angele Deguara

This study unit will give a general overview of Feminism from the 18th century through the so-called waves of feminism up to the present, mainly in the West, i.e. in the UK and US together with some reference to feminism in other parts of the world. Feminism will be approached mainly from a sociological point of view. The unit will discuss the main struggles and campaigns that feminists embarked on in their fight for gender equality starting from the Suffragettes to current issues such as the Me Too campaign. It will explore the many issues raised by feminists in their fight against what they perceived as an unjust, male-dominated social system. The study unit will also discuss the various ideas, concepts and theoretical views produced by feminist writers and academics especially from the 1960s to the present writing from different perspectives. The unit will also look at theories about men and masculinities.

Monday at 18.00- 20.00. Online

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https://www.um.edu.mt/clas/plasunitsfeb2021