DSCY10150 Hope

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module explores the nature and role of hope for science and society in a post-pandemic world. The teaching team will reflect on hope drawing on their expertise in art history, biochemistry, computer science, law, philosophy, physics, politics, sociology and veterinary medicine. It will first examine what we mean by hope – how is it different from wishful thinking? What does it mean for the individual and how can individual hope align with the values of our society? How important is hope to scientific discovery both for those undertaking the research and those benefiting from it? How is hope represented in art? The concept of hope will be the unifying lens for the module which is designed for students across all disciplines interested in this question who are up for engaging with different ways of thinking to deepen their understanding of the world. There will be two assessments: a small group assessment mid-trimester and one reflective review exercise due at the end of the trimester.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will
1. understand and be able to describe the concept of hope
2. be able to describe how hope can be viewed in different contexts in science and society.
3. analyse how hope relates to different social phenomena, most notably the pandemic but also the challenges of e.g. populism.
4. critically analyse the relations between individual hope and science and society.

Indicative Module Content:

The module provides students with one analytical frame through which to reflect on science and society in times of crisis.
The module will be organised around three themes: the nature of hope; hope and society; hope and science. There will be several lectures in each theme. For example, issues that can be explored include whether law can help frame individual hopes so they align with societal values reflected in our laws; the evolutionary basis for hope; neurobiology of hope and optimism/ pessimism (and relationship to cognitive biases) from a veterinary medicine perspective.
The content reflects the expertise of the staff who will be teaching on the module who all will take the concept of hope as the lens through which to think about their discipline and our society.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
A variety of different approaches to teaching and learning are used including lectures, class discussion, small group discussion, and peer collaboration. All lectures are in person, in one two hour block each week, in the Sutherland School of Law. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Group Project: 4 slide presentation on hope in class by interdisciplinary teams of students Week 7 n/a Graded No


Portfolio: This individual assessment will be a review where the student will be asked to identify, reflect and write on three readings of their choosing from three different sections of the module. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

For the group presentation, feedback will be noted and provided to the group and more general feedback will be provided thorugh Brightspace. For the individual end of semester portfolio group feedback will be provided.

Name Role
Dr Christopher Cowley Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Padraig Dunne Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Eilis Hennessy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Donncha Kavanagh Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Patricia Maguire Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Siobhan Mullan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Stefan Muller Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Iarfhlaith Watson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 14:00 - 15:50