Colloquium: University as a site of Dissent
Posted on January 18, 2010 by Tia Lalani
Nhial Tiitmamer discusses the modern University as a site of dissent with Drs. Roger and Tara Milbrandt.
By Nhial Tiitmamer –
A father-daughter pair, Drs Roger and Tara Milbrandt, will explore ways in which the modern university is a site of dissent. The colloquium talk reflects this year’s Annual Theme of Dissent.
The colloquium, according to Dr. Roger Milbrandt, “will take on an issue that — so far as we know — has not been undertaken in other dissent presentations. This issue is distinction between the kind of dissent which leaves the status quo largely unchanged and the kind of dissent that is a real threat to the existing power structure.”
The Milbrandts will explore historical and recent examples in which modern university has been instrumental in playing the role of dissent.
For example, Milbrandt said that “[i]n Cuba in the 1920s and 1930s, the university was the site of the forces which posed the greatest threat to the authority, prestige and survival of the national government. In Quebec in 2001, opposition coming from the Canadian university community was a matter of grave concern for the organizers of an event with implications for two continents.”
“The Cuban example is meant to illustrate dissent which has reached a very high level of effectiveness in threatening the status quo,” explained Dr. Milbrandt, “while the Canadian example helps us to see what the current possibilities are and what limitations apply to contemporary dissent.”
Asked what are the most pressing issues that require dissenting voices both in Alberta and in Canada, Dr. Milbrandt cited Canada’s role in what he calls “futile imperialist war in Afghanistan and Alberta’s foolish squandering of its natural resources” as some of the issues which “merit sharp public opposition.” Dr. Milbrandt said that it is regrettable that “dissent has not influenced policy or governmental behavior in either Canada or Alberta for a long time.”
If there is a single issue currently facing Canada that would be a priority for dissent, Dr. Milbrandt said it would be “the prorogation of Parliament just when the serious issue of Canada’s possible complicity in the torture of detainees in Afghanistan has become a subject of public discussion.”
Dr. Roger Milbrandt is English Professor at Augustana Campus. His interest is in 19th century English literature, literary criticism and in the literature and culture of Latin America, where he has lived and travelled extensively. In his research and teaching, he explores social and political implications of literary text in society.
Dr. Tara Milbrandt has taught courses in classical, modern and contemporary sociological theory, introductory sociology, and contemporary culture at University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus. Before coming to Augustana in 2008, she taught at York University, Humber College and Trent University in Ontaria, Canada.
Augustana’s Annual Theme Colloquium will convene on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 12:30pm in room C014 of the U of A’s Augustana Campus.
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