Class Meeting Tmes

MWF from 2:00 to 2:50 p.m. in Ruebush 113

Thursday, September 8, 2011

GCP Application Deadline: Sept. 19

One major quality that makes Shenandoah unique from most universities is our Global Citizenship Project (GCP). All full-time Shenandoah students, faculty and staff members are welcomed to apply for the 2012 GCP. During spring break, selected GCP-ers will travel to one of five yet-to-be-revealed destinations around the world. The University funds the trips! Shenandoah believes it should “provide students with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to be active, ethical, and productive citizens in a changing and diverse world.” I hope you'll apply!

Applications and essays must be submitted no later than noon on Monday, Sept. 19. Watch for more information in the student newspaper The ’Doah, in the dining halls, residence halls, and classrooms. Watch for individuals wearing “Ask me about GCP” stickers, too. They have already participated and are anxious to tell others about their experiences. Go to or log into Blackboard, click the Community tab, click the Global Citizen tab. Or, contact Study Abroad Adviser Jean C. Hayes in Cooley Hall Room 108, (540) 665-5460 or

The Mythical Norm

You'll remember that in last Friday's class we discussed the concept of the "mythical norm." We drew a chart together on the board--with "normative" qualities that are socially and culturally privileged across its top and those that are the basis of oppression around the bottom. Thanks for a great discussion! You are a smart class. I'd like to underscore two points here:

1) The mythical norm is mythical, not normal. Although our culture presents a picture of the average American as white, heterosexual, Christian, middle- to upper-class, (see the photo above left for a clearer idea), the majority of United States residents do not meet all of these criteria (see the family pictured below right). Thus, the "norm" is not actually the only kind of normal.

2) The chart we drew on the board calls attention to the numerous aspects that make up each of us: gender, sexuality, race, religion, physical characteristics, economic status, education level, and so much more. Each of us is more complex than simply any one of these.

How would you respond to either of these two points above? What is your personal experience with various aspects of privilege or oppression? What other kinds of families exist beyond the few examples pictured here? Are these other families pictured in our movies, television, and media? Are they protected by law? Why or why not?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Janet Mock to Transgender Teens: It Gets Better Editor Janet Mock recently came out as transgender. Mock's history is briefly profiled on the GLAAD blog, which also features Mock's "It Gets Better" video, part of the YouTube campaign originated by Dan Savage to staunch a recent spate of bully-induced lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) teen suicides. Mock's decision to come out is courageous because transgenderism continues to be viewed by many worldwide as strange and/or sinful. In certain regions, homosexuality is legal grounds for death. Some believe that more LGBTQ people coming out will help to make being LGBTQ seem "normal" to more and more people around the globe. After reading Mock's history and watching her video, does Mock's revelation cause you to rethink your own ideas of what "normal" gender or sexuality are? What might your reaction be if a family member came out to you? What if it was your child?

World Poverty: What to Do?

In his May 18, 2011, New York Times editorial "Getting Smart on Aid," Nicholas D. Kristoff argues that what peoples around the world need is much more important than what we want to donate. Seem obvious? Kristoff says not so much. Foreign aid for decades has been dominated by what givers want to give, but this has not always been what receivers needed or wanted. Why the disconnect? Kristoff's examples--that deworming is a more basic need than new school buildings and that relationship education proves more effective than abstinence training--require us to rethink our ideas about what actually constitutes "help." After reading Kirstoff's editorial, how do you suppose poverty-stricken families around the globe might be changed by an aid attitude change?