Current social conflicts 101
Occupy movement, oilsands covered in new course
Don’t understand the Occupy Wall Street movement? Wondering why the oilsands are such a big deal, anyway?
There’s a course for that.
Mount Royal University will be offering a new general education courses on the Occupy protests and Alberta oilsands.
Roberta Lexier, assistant professor in general education, will be teaching the Occupy Wall Street section of the course. She said it could be a fascinating challenge because the movement is so contemporary.
“It will be an interesting process going through the event and the course at the same time,” Lexier said. “It will be us figuring out together what Occupy Wall Street is all about.”
Lexier said she will start with historical perspectives and how Occupy Wall Street fits into a larger historical context with other social movements, but will also be looking at the modern movement.
“It’s a bit of a risk to do something that is still happening,” she said. “The purpose is to use a contemporary and exciting, yet somewhat unclear situation to look at social movements, social change and how we interact with other people and other institutions.”
Both new sections are part of a larger course called Conflict in the Social Context. David Ohreen, a professor in general education, helped develop the pilot course.
The course will be about, “how a particular conflict can be viewed from a multitude of perspectives,” Ohreen said. He stressed that the oilsands part, though it is about environmental issues, will not be a science class.
“It is going to be about the social impacts,” Ohreen said. “The science might be used as a springboard for the larger issues.
“Conflicts in society are very hard to understand from one disciplinary point of view,” he said. “We want to break out of the ‘silo’ mentality and look at a very specific conflict from a multitude of perspectives. These conflicts are not in black and white, but multiple shades of grey.”
Conflict in the Social Context will be offered as a pilot course in the winter semester. The topics will likely run for a year and professors will look for student feedback to determine future topics