Friday, March 16, 2012

Quoting from the recent report, "Regarding an ideological or faith test as condition of employment at Providence University College" by William Bruneau and Robert Chernomas:

If academic freedom means academic staff must be free from ideological, doctrinal, or theological tests, then one may argue Providence University College is a “university” in name only. The fact that Providence has been chartered by the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba gives Providence the power to say it is a “university.” But there must be substantial doubt that free teaching, instruction, research, and public comment occur at Providence.

As a professor in the employ of Providence University College, this last sentence by Bruneau and Chernomas is absolutely false. I also find it insulting, and makes me particularly uncomfortable.

You can read the whole report here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I just posted the following to

A University board member asked me whether I was “in media.” I mentioned that I was the professor of Communications & Media, so I suppose I was “in media” (of course, I think that’s all she meant). In any case, we had a great conversation about what we do in my University courses and what might be done in a community college. She appreciated the “analysis” portion of my courses, that one needs to understand what the “texts” of film mean. She didn’t use those exact words, but this is what she meant.

It made me think about discussions I have had regarding Zack Snyder’s film, Sucker Punch. I liked the movie; I thought it looked really good (there is a lot to be unpacked in that last statement of 6 words). Many would think that the film is a wonderful example of third-wave feminism, the notion that female erotic power can be used in favour of the female using it (awkward sentence, I know). But there is something wrong with Snyder’s film; I felt uneasy watching it, not only because I thought it looked good.

It might be an example of “third-wave feminism,” but it really does depend on the male gaze. It’s third-wave feminism with a whole bunch of voyeurism; now, maybe that’s an intrinsic part of third-wave, but I’m not so sure that the film is right.

These are the sorts of discussions I like to have with my students because, ultimately, this is more important and effective than saying, "Don't watch it."