All Posts Tagged With: "culture"
Students talk of a brilliant but sexist professor
News of David Gilmour’s proud indifference to ideas and people unlike him has rocked the Canadian Twittersphere.
Gilmour and his off-the-cuff paean in Hazlitt to macho men of letters earned him attention in the American press and incited the wrath of Jezebel writers and academics eager to point out that the Canadian novelist does not have a PhD (because a doctorate, as we all know, is the prerequisite to a sound and tolerant mind). After that first cringe-worthy interview, Gilmour did himself no favours by attempting to clarify his remarks in the National Post. Again he insisted that those interested in reading the works of women, gays and Chinese people go “down the hall.”
“I don’t love women writers enough to teach them. That’s all I’m saying,” he explained. “What I teach are guys. If you want women writers, you go down the hall. … I have a degree in French literature, and I speak French fluently, but I don’t teach French literature because I don’t feel it as deeply and as passionately as some of the other teachers here. So I actually send people down the hall to somebody who can teach it better. The same thing goes for German writers, for women writers, for gay writers, for Chinese writers.”
Down the hall … it’s a big theme in Gilmour’s worldview. It’s also, I’m assuming, as a gay female writer, where he thinks I belong.
So who exactly is down the hall? I decided to find out.
Emma Teitel on why this may be the worst film she’s seenThis post originally appeared at Teitel Page.
I know I’m a few days late to the party, but if spring break is forever, as James Franco’s “Alien” reminds us every 15 seconds in
Skrillex’s 92-minute music video Harmony Korine’s latest think piece, then I have plenty of time to kill. I never intended to write about Spring Breakers, until I saw it on Saturday night and have since felt worse than Stan and Kenny post Passion of the Christ. I want my money back. I want to round up my best girlfriends, invest in some pink balaclavas, day glo bikinis, and squirt guns, and hold up Harmony Korine’s house like it’s the chicken shack and I need to get myself to Florida, stat.
For some reason I find myself almost entirely alone in this sentiment, which leads me to believe that either the film’s greatness was lost on me (I am a boring nube and just don’t get it) or perhaps, Spring Breakers is the Emperor’s New Clothes of our day: a nude spectacle critics are falling over themselves to endorse. Sure it lags a bit, they say, but in a self conscious way. Can’t you see? It’s laughing at itself. It’s ironic. It’s rebellious. It’s a searing indictment of Western hedonism and materialism. It’s the only American movie that matters right now.
Why these narcissistic self portraits have to go
I bet you’ve done it before or at least tried. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be the only one. It seems that almost everyone does. Even Rihanna encourages it. But I think you should be a little ashamed. I’m talking about the “selfie”—that awkward photo that people take of themselves. Camera in hand, arm extended as far as it goes, head tilt, serious eyes and a pursed lip. Click. I’ll bet about 15 tries later you’re satisfied with one, and with a click of a few buttons you’ve uploaded it to all the social media platforms you’re connected to.
Last week, Anna Maria Tremonti discussed the selfie revolution on CBC’s radio show The Current. She had three guests—all writers—each with a very different opinion. Tremonti asked whether taking selfies is empowering, narcissistic or just fun. The first guest, Sarah Nicole Prickett, not only likes and takes selfies; she said that they should be considered another medium of art and photography. She added that because 20-somethings are having a tough time getting jobs, they have no choice but to sell and brand themselves. Selfies just happen to be a part of that.
Self photos from shirtless guys, actresses and an astronaut
Students at Nipissing U. early to embrace trend
Students have a new online obsession. Quickmemes.com allows anyone to add their own funny captions to photos of familiar Internet stars, like Rebecca Black, before sharing them on Facebook.
The trend is starting to spread, but one community’s Facebook walls are already littered with Quick Memes. There are more than 1,300 “likes” on the unofficial Nipissing University Memes Facebook page. That’s a lot for a school with just 4,500 students. The page for the North Bay, Ontario school has become a place to share both points of pride (the fries at campus pub The Wall) and common complaints (transportation to the hilltop campus). Here are just a few of the dozens of memes from the Nipissing page that will make you laugh and then share, just like that Rebecca Black video.
Share your Quick Memes with us in the comments section!
Follow @JoshDehaas and @maconcampus on Twitter.
Blame culture. Or genes. Or Dilbert. In engineering, it’s a man’s world—for now.
The Eurythmics had it only partly right. Back in 1985, the British pop duo of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart recorded Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. A modern feminist anthem, the song makes this interesting observation: “The inferior sex has got a new exterior. We got doctors, lawyers, politicians too.” Indeed, much of that has come true. At several Canadian medical and law schools, women now outnumber men. But there’s one traditionally male-dominated field where men are still a clear majority—and where women’s representation has even declined in the past few years: engineering.
According to Engineers Canada, the number of women enrolled in engineering programs was on the rise for a full decade before plateauing in 2001, when 20.6 per cent of students were women. But since then, as more and more men have taken engineering, the number of women has remained flat. Since 2001, the proportion of female engineering students has dropped nearly every year, to just 17.3 per cent in 2007, and a mere 17.1 per cent in 2008. At the University of Toronto, for one, women comprised 26.6 per cent of engineering students in 2001, but just 21.4 per cent in 2008. And the phenomenon is not conﬁned to Canadian universities: female enrolment in engineering has plateaued across North America.
The reasons are the subject of a heated debate in and outside of the academy. “Certainly, it is not due to a lack of effort to encourage women to go into engineering,” says Judy Myers, the past president of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT). Indeed, universities have embarked on a number of initiatives to attract women to the field, and the deans of some of the country’s top engineering schools are female. Yet the male-female gap continues to grow, confounding professors and university administrators. And before they can address the phenomenon, they must first figure out why it exists.
One hypothesis, endorsed by CCWESTT, suggests that women aren’t turning away from engineering so much as they’re turning toward other sciences that seem to offer not only challenging career opportunities but also the chance to make a difference. As Elizabeth Cannon, dean of the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, explains, there are now many science disciplines that fit the bill, and so women might enrol in health or environmental sciences instead of biomedical or environmental engineering. “With so many doors open,” says Cannon, “you get a little bit of a dilution across all of these areas where women can be successful.”
Others suggest the field may still have an image problem—engineers as out-of-touch geeks or nerds. As Tyseer Aboulnasr, the dean of the faculty of applied science at the University of British Columbia, says, “The perception of engineering as a pure-technology field that doesn’t really connect with society is certainly an issue.” A recent study supported by Engineers Canada found that young women tend to “equate engineering and technology . . . with construction work, outdoor work, working in a cubicle, and relating primarily to computers and machines, rather than people.” Says Kathleen Sendall, an engineer and the first woman to chair the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, “Dilbert has contributed to a number of stereotypes about engineers.”
Would you believe it’s because of peer pressure?
Today I went to work dressed as follows: blue dress shirt, blue tie, and jeans. I say again, jeans. And no jacket, mind you. But I was wearing that tie, and before I even got into the building — walking in from the car — a fellow faculty member said to me, “what are you all dressed up for?”
Later that same day, another faculty member stopped and knocked on my office door and asked what was with the tie. I almost took it off right then and there to avoid any more hassle.
I used to think one of the great things about being a professor was the personal freedom afforded at the workplace. I could go to school wearing whatever I wanted. But now I see that it’s not true. I can wear whatever I want, as long as I dress like a teenager. The former chair of my department used to have a special shirt he wore to departmental meetings. It was a t-shirt that said, “Who pissed in your Cornflakes?” I never heard anyone comment on that shirt, but my blue tie set me up for cross-examination.
I’m not sure why my fellow scholars are so put off by neckties. Maybe they think it smacks of corporate conformism– though if my brother the investment banker showed up at work wearing what I was wearing today, they would have sent him home. But to me the tie doesn’t say corporate; it merely says serious. And while I wouldn’t say everyone has to be serious all the time, in attire or thought, I do worry that such seriousness is discouraged in general at universities by the quiet shaming of inquiry. Besides, why is corporate conformism any worse than academic conformism? Maybe my tie makes me the real individual.
Or maybe somebody just pissed in my Cornflakes.
Hi everyone, This is my introductory post for Maclean’s OnCampus. As my awesomely creative blog title suggests, I hope to pamper you with campus news about cool extracurricular activities, artsy going-ons, outstanding cultural leaders, culinary wonders, fashion funsies and anything else hip and exciting. Everyone could use a healthier, more balanced brain. Sure, the school [...]
This is my introductory post for Maclean’s OnCampus. As my awesomely creative blog title suggests, I hope to pamper you with campus news about cool extracurricular activities, artsy going-ons, outstanding cultural leaders, culinary wonders, fashion funsies and anything else hip and exciting.
Everyone could use a healthier, more balanced brain. Sure, the school books are important, but so is building social networks and exploring your inner Picasso. Or Jane Austen. Or David Cronenberg
Personally, I like to tap into the creative juices of Lady Gaga.
Just joking. Or am I?
But before you answer that question, a bit about me: I’m currently a Master of Journalism student at the University of British Columbia. I’m also a summer arts and features reporter for the Victoria Times Colonist.
Oh, and follow me on Twitter: @AmandaAsh. Sometimes I say really great stuff in 140 characters.
Exploring the disconnect between the experiences of immigrant parents in education and the environment their children will experience
Here’s some mail I’ve been meaning to reply to, from a U.S. reader. It’s edited down somewhat for length:
My son is in his senior year of high school and he has applied to quite a few universities/colleges. In his school years, he has demonstrated his interest and strength in fine arts and he has received three acceptance letters [for study in this area]. Meanwhile, he also applied to some non-fine art majors including business, environmental sciences, and psychology and already received a few acceptance letters from [other reputable schools]. Now he is struggling to make his final decision on whether to go with his relatively stronger interest and strength in fine arts or with a non-fine art major for a realistic job market (better and more secured salary compensation) taking fine arts as his hobby. Since our college choices were chosen quite blindly when we were young in our motherland, China, we really can not help a lot for his decision. I really appreciate it if you could provide us with more tips or guidance for consideration.
Now here’s a common situation. Immigrants often prioritize education very highly (for somewhat obvious reasons) but at the same time may not have a very good idea of what’s going on in North America. I credit the father in this case for realizing as much and for seeking advice about how things work here rather than simply pushing his own experiences as an example to follow. I believe there are very significant differences between educational culture in China and educational culture in North America. But I must also acknowledge that there’s nothing “wrong” with the lessons and assumptions associated with the parents’ experiences in China. Their experiences are different, and may not apply to North American culture, but that doesn’t make them wrong. We all have our biases, and so I’d like to examine my own.
I am very firm about my advice to students that they should follow their interests and their aptitudes. I advise students to take time off school if they aren’t ready. I absolutely advise students to take “less practical” degrees if that is where their inclinations lead them, rather than compromise on something that seems safer. And I fully believe that the best job security available is to be really good and to genuinely care about the field you are in. There will always be jobs for people who are good at what they do. Hence, the “safe” thing to do, in my opinion, really is to stick with what you care about.
Coming from a campus where there are a lot of first and second generation immigrants (I’m second generation myself) I’ve found that a lot of students get family pressure in the opposite direction. They are pushed towards medicine and science and business (regardless of inclination) under the assumption that that’s the way to succeed. Exactly as the father in today’s letter suggests. You care about art? That’s nice. It will be a good hobby for you in your future career. Now get a real degree.
All of this came very clear to me, one day, when I was called out for my own assumptions about education. My ideas were called Western-centric or something like that. And the truth is – they are. No sense denying it. When I advise students to follow their passions and their interests I give that advice not because it’s some universal truth but rather because it works, here, in our cultural context. And I’ll illustrate from my own experiences.