College students in Courtenay learning about war and peace

Comox Valley students interested in the topic of war and peace can take three university transfer courses linked by this theme.

Comox Valley students interested in the topic of war and peace can take three university transfer courses linked by this theme.

Three North Island College instructors have joined together to offer the Institute of War and Peace in May and June. English teacher Anne Cumming, history teacher Dan Hinman-Smith and philosophy teacher Jeff Lawrence will work together to offer thematically linked second-year university transfer courses English 230, History 220 and Philosophy 230.

“All three of us are excited about it,” says Cumming. “To do something like this takes an enormous amount of co-ordination and planning and so you have to really want it to happen.”

English 230 will focus on war narratives from the First World War, ancient Greece, Iraq and Afghanistan. History 220 will feature a mix of themes, national traditions and individual case studies, including ancient Greece, First World War, Second World War and the Vietnam War. Philosophy 230 will look at the Gulf War, Second World War, the ‘War’ on Terror and 9/11, the 2003 United States attack on Iraq, armed humanitarian intervention in Rwanda and Somalia, the Bosnian Civil War, and post-war reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Students can register for one, two or three of the six-week courses. Each course features two classes per week individually, but each Wednesday students and instructors from all three courses will join for a plenary session.

According to Cumming, students will hear guest speakers and watch films during the weekly plenary sessions. Students enrolled in any of the three courses can attend the plenary sessions; they don’t need to be registered in all three.

One of the guest speakers will be past NIC student Karina Sangha, who went on to get her MA in political science at the University of Waterloo. Sangha will speak about drone warfare.

As well, extracurricular activities, such as a curated art show and dance performance, are in the works.

Cumming says the topic of war and peace is an interesting, noting war is part of the human psyche.

“Sometimes we don’t really know much about it or we have knee-jerk reactions, either pro- or anti-war,” she says. “So, I think it’s a good opportunity for us as instructors to look into that more deeply, and also for students and the broader community.”

She adds students really seem to enjoy courses with connected themes, pointing out they make many connections between courses already, and purposely connecting the course material for students can make the courses more fun for students, and instructors.

“It’s so interesting from an instructional perspective to be just getting really immersed in something like this that when you’re teaching it, then it’s fun, too,” she says.

Registration is now open for the Institute of War and Peace. For more information, visit www.nic.bc.ca.

Meanwhile, the college will host a film series leading up to the institute. The Act of Killing was shown Wednesday evening in Comox Valley campus’ Stan Hagen Theatre. Waltz with Bashir will be shown Feb. 5, and Defiant Requiem will be shown March 12.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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