Tuesday, December 7, 2010
But besides that, I did generally enjoy the class, and we did hit some issues I feel very strongly about, which I am sure will be quite obvious in my blog posts. I think more than anything I enjoyed having a class where everyone knows each other and can come talk to you about what you said in class later. It was slightly relieving to walk into the lounge the day before the mid term was due only to find seven people just as stressed out as me sitting in there rapidly typing on their computers. Luckily, that is not something that is going to change next semester, but it is something I think I will miss very much next year.
Monday, December 6, 2010
FIeld trips to places such as the French Embassy, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the Kennedy Center as part of the UC allowed for a broader understanding of the world and a plethora of new experiences. Additionally, the many stimulating class discussions that occurred over the course of the semester exposed both myself and my classmates to new ideas and differing perspectives. Overall, I would recommend UC world politics to any and all prospective students as it is not only a very effective social outlet but also a wonderful educational opportunity that should not be passed by.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The simulation…would have been better if we had simply had one or two more class periods to hash out all of the different issues. The topic was extremely stimulating and interesting and I just wish that we had been able to see it through to at least some sort of conclusion. However, overall I would deem the experience to be a success given the parameters of the assignment, although it would have been beneficial if some groups had participated in the representation of their entity more thoroughly. This would have been a good stimulus for discussion and also prevented other outside groups from influencing their decisions based on outside interests rather than internal facts about their organization. Despite this minor setback, the different constituencies brought to the conference introduced a variety of interests that were on the whole well represented. This simulation was a great way to employ some of what we have learned this semester, while forcing us to once again represent a group that we might not typically side with. As a representative of McDonalds it was difficult to separate my personal thoughts from the objectives of the McDonalds Corporation. However, as a group I though McDonalds was extremely well represented, even if some views were manipulated to support what we as individuals thought was important. Overall the simulation was engaging and informative and left the class on a good note. Thanks for all the time and work Class, Erin, and PTJ.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The correlation between Thanksgiving and our discussion of Native Americans (as well as the “discovery” of America by Columbus) could not have been more appropriate. Over the break, I became acutely aware of the flaws within this widely celebrated American holiday. Most striking was the realization that my younger sisters have been corrupted by grade-school ideas of peace and understanding between the pilgrims and Native Americans. Similarly throughout my childhood, it was taught that Thanksgiving was a time in which all the problems between “Indians” and the settlers had been alleviated. While I understand the importance of fostering a sense of thankfulness and acceptance within young children, it is wrong to do so by basing a holiday on a story which may or may not be true. Either way, many students are told that the Native Americans helped us out of good faith with no mention of the atrocities that were undoubtedly committed by settlers.
Regardless of its historical backgrounds, I believe that the festivities have become overshadowed by enjoyment of good food. While decent eating is a crucial part of Thanksgiving, the key word in the name is “thanks”. Before eating, my family takes turns explaining what they are thankful for, but is this really still following the spirit of the holiday? In a resource-rich society such as the United States, are do we actually still have the ability to understand how lucky we are? This year, I was appalled to see that chain stores such as Sears were open on Thanksgiving and would extend their Black Friday hours to 3 a.m. - it seems that more than anything else, this time of year has become associated with mega-sales and shopping sprees. But does anyone take the time to think about how fortunate we are to have the ability to even go shopping on that Friday? Ultimately, I think that everyone needs to take a step back and realize where they are living and the richness of their lifestyles, while also realizing where this holiday truly originated and understanding the true ramifications of the historical context.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I thought about it a little more, and I realized how much the institution of thanksgiving in general directly correlates with constructivism. Thanksgiving is a purely American institution, where people spend hundreds of dollars traveling to family homes to spend a long weekend together, while for the rest of the world it's just another weekend. Thanksgiving gives the American public an identity completely unique to them, which distinguishes them from the rest of the world. And so thanksgiving also contributes to the theory of constructivism.