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Unreasonable rage, disobedient dissent

The social construction of student activists and the limits of student engagement

Jessica Gagnon

Abstract

This article explores the limits of student engagement in higher education in the United Kingdom through the social construction of student activists within media discourses. It scrutinises the impact of dominant neoliberal discourses on the notion of student engagement, constructing certain students as legitimately engaged whilst infantilising and criminalising those who participate in protest. Exploring media coverage of and commentary on students engaged in activism, from the 2010 protests against university fee increases and from more recent activism in 2016, the article draws upon Sara Willful Subjects and Imogen Revolting Subjects to examine critically the ways in which some powerful discourses control and limit which activities, practices and voices can be recognised as legitimate forms of student engagement.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

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Heritage or hate?

A pedagogical guide to the confederate flag in post-race America

Cameron D. Lippard

Abstract

The Confederate flag has been a hotly debated symbol of heritage or hate in the United States. In 2015, 54 per cent of Americans polled saw the flag as a symbol of ‘Southern pride’ whereas 34 per cent saw it as racist. However, 27 per cent of Whites compared to 69 per cent of Blacks saw the flag as racist. In this article, I suggest how instructors can better explain this controversial topic within an America society that is ‘post-race’. First, I describe an opening activity to get students thinking about symbolism through flags. Next, I present a lecture that debunks myths about the flag’s meanings by presenting its factual history. Finally, I describe an open debate activity to complete the discussion and comprehension of the confederate flag. Student responses suggest that these lesson plans lead to a better understanding of its symbolism and its relationship to the continuing significance of racism in the U.S.

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Relocalising academic literacy

Diversity, writing and collective learning in an international Master’s programme

Nana Clemensen and Lars Holm

Abstract

This article contributes to the continuing discussion about academic literacy in international higher education. Approaching international study programmes as temporary educational contact zones, marked by a broad diversity in students’ educational and discursive experiences, we examine the negotiation and relocalisation of academic literacy among students of the international master’s programme, Anthropology of Education and Globalisation (AEG), University of Aarhus, Denmark. The article draws on an understanding of academic literacy as a local practice situated in the social and institutional contexts in which it appears. Based on qualitative interviews with eleven AEG-students, we analyse students’ individual experiences of, and perspectives on, the academic literacy practices of this study programme. Our findings reveal contradictory understandings of internationalism and indicate a learning potential for students in allowing a more linguistically and discursively diverse dialogue on knowledge production in academia.

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Eli Thorkelson, Guy Redden, Christopher Newfield, Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, and Marie-Pierre Moreau

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Riding alone on the elevator

A class experiment in interdisciplinary education

Anna M. Frank, Rebecca Froese, Barbara C. Hof, Maike I. E. Scheffold, Felix Schreyer, Mathias Zeller, and Simone Rödder

Abstract

The ability to conduct interdisciplinary research is crucial to address complex real-world problems that require the collaboration of different scientific fields, with global warming being a case in point. To produce integrated climate-related knowledge, climate researchers should be trained early on to work across boundaries and gain an understanding of diverse disciplinary perspectives. This article argues for social breaching as a methodology to introduce students with a natural science background to the social sciences in the context of integrated climate sciences. The breach of a social norm presented here was to ask people whether the experimenter could ride on an elevator alone. We conclude that the approach is effective in letting students with a natural science background explore and experience the power of social reality, and is especially suitable for a small-sized introductory class.

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Teaching globalisation in the social sciences

The effectiveness of a refugee simulation

Stacy Keogh George

Abstract

This article describes the incorporation of a refugee simulation into an upper-division sociology course on globalisation at a liberal arts institution in the United States. The simulation is designed to inform students of the refugee process in the United States by inviting participants to immerse themselves in refugee experiences by adopting identities of actual refugee families as they complete four stages of the refugee application process. Student reactions to the refugee simulation suggest that it is an effective tool for demonstrating the complexities of the refugee experience in the United States and for evoking social empathy.

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Jeroen Huisman

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

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Susan Wright and Penny Welch