Catching Up: Academe in Sum

In the interest of being conscientiously able to write current news and events here, I’m going to bring to summation my academic endeavours here, from last November to now.

The first class in question was Women and New Media in the Arab World, taught by the sanguine Mona Eltahawy of O’Reilly Factor fame, and tremendous literary success in general.  An Egyptian-cum-Brit-cum-Yank journalist, blogger and editorialist, Mona was a delight to listen to and learn from, and I enjoyed many a lively discussion, debate and argument with her especially under the topic of passionate subjectivity vs. detached objectivity in media (and very especially under the influences of quite a lot of wine).

The content of this course interested me in three major areas, these being that I still new very little about the nature of media in conflict, especially the “new media”, that I knew very little about feminism and gender issues in general, and that I was relatively unaware of how these issues factored into areas of study in the Arab world (in which we also included Israel and Iran).

Writing this now about to finish the seventh course in the UPeace Media MA programme, I can comfortably conclude that this has been the best class thus far.

After Women and New Media in the Arab World with Mona Eltahawy, we undertook The Role of Media in the Rwandan Genocide with Gerald Caplan.  Professor Caplan is a Canadian genocide scholar and activist, and though having specialized in the case of Rwanda for over a decade he provided for us a globally cognitive perspective.

This class was less interesting for me as it was about 95% review and refresh, and because a lot of the discussion was emotionally charged, which inevitably engenders a roadblock in reasonable academic discussion, which inevitably engenders boredom.  This said however, from a perspective where the information and ideas we studied would have been new, I can imagine a much different response.

What I enjoyed most about The Role of Media in the Rwandan Genocide was the opportunity it afforded me to write a paper about something I’ve long considered- the argument for the Bretton Woods Trio and other members of the transnational class as genocidaires, which I wrote over the winter break.  I guess I’ll elaborate on that terminology later.

Having arrived back at UPeace from an icy vacation home to Saskatchewan, I joined my friends, peers, colleagues and classmates as we began our elective courses.  Due to logistical nonsense, I had to forgo a couple of options that I would have liked to take, and went with Peace, Conflict and Development– a course sure to be a nice, easy coast into the new year given the intertwining of development and conflict in International Studies at USask.

So it was a review, but happily an intense one.  Professor Tony Karbo (Karbs), an acclaimed scholar from Ethiopia, brought us through the leviathan content involved in studying international development in the context of conflict with healthy doses of realism and humour.  I could be comfortable with calling the topic of international development with most depressing and hopeless area of study in the world, and Professor Karbo’s lecturing style helped a lot of us keep our heads above the murky water.

There, all caught up.  We’re nearing now the end of Media and Ethno-Cultural Conflict with professor Clyde Sanger, a brilliant Canadian journalist and academic whose level of experience should astonish most.  His lecturing style has been more encumbered by anecdote and conjecture than would be my preference, but it’s undeniably interesting if not cognitively engaging.

The next class will be something about Media and Terrorism with professor Victoria Fontan, compacted into two weeks with four or so hours each day, happily resulting in a three-week Easter Break.

Love in Socrates.  Pura vida.

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Published in: on 18 February 2010 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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