Welcome to Secondary 5 Contemporary World

As the title of this course implies, we will be looking at the modern world -- its economics and politics, issues about social justice, the role of multinational corporations in global governance, and the way world issues are represented by media and public figures.

The Quebec Education Program outlines two main competencies for this course:
1. Interprets a contemporary world problem.
2. Takes a position on a contemporary world issue.

Thus, it is our job to first establish the basis for an informed discussion about any of the above by first laying down the framework for a broad understanding of the contemporary world as rooted in historical precedent. For Competency 1, you will learn about key events in the 20th century and how they have become the baseline by which the world measures its current progress. The vocabulary of economic and political change, the strategy and language of war, the bounds (or lack thereof) of technological innovation, and the evolving public role of women and minorities in the "global conversation" have all contributed to our current understanding of the many facets of our contemporary world.

To engage with Competency 2, we will take our knowledge of history and change, and read it against current events to discuss modern global conflict, economic crisis (and boom), ecological and green concerns, social justice issues, the United Nations, and the role of today's corporations in world economies and the idea of global governance. We will begin to question and reinterpret terms like "sovereignty" and "nationality."

As part of our inquiry, we will be participating in an ongoing blog. Over the year, I expect you to increase your level of engagement with world issues. After all, you will be gaining new vocabulary, historical knowledge, and a broader worldview.


How does a Blog work?

Sometimes, I will pose a question or series of questions from which you can choose. You will respond in the form of a short paragraph as a comment below my original post. The blog can be a forum for debate but I do not want to see students have the same answers in verbatim style (ie. "I agree with Jane" is not a good post).

My questions, links, videos or images, will all deal with an issue broad enough for you to be innovative. Use thoughtful, insightful language and always make reference to what you know or have learned rather than speculate or rely on opinion. The blog will have a set closing date, which you will find on my homework home page (see the link above). Once the discussion is closed, you won't be able to post! I will always give several days for you to respond, so don't worry.

This site also hosts external resources (see side bar on the right), and RSS news feeds from six world newspapers, below. They will be good resources as we go along, and if you have suggestions to add to the page, send them my way.

I look forward to our course. My door is always open if you have questions or concerns, or wish to post your blog response from the classroom computer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT?


Grown in Detroit




Link to the website and the full feature film is: http://www.grownindetroitmovie.com/index.php

The Meatrix -- Help Support Family Farms!

The Meatrix website is devoted to ecological preservation around farming (yes, you heard it here first!).  The site targets the hazards associated with factory farming and the death of the small family farm.  I know this issue will speak to many of you.  The film is a spoof (albeit a serious one) on the film The Matrix.

ASSIGNMENT TO FOLLOW.  Click HERE for the Meatrix website.


Round Up

This short film traces Pete Standing Alone's personal journey from cultural alienation to pride and belonging. As a spiritual elder, teacher, and community leader of the Blood Indians of Southern Alberta, Pete works with the youth to repair the cultural and spiritual destruction wrought by residential schools. At age 81, has come full-circle in his dedication to preserving the traditional ways of his people.

Canadian Residential Schools

This is a very difficult website featuring the stories of victims of the Canadian Residential School system.  The website is entitled Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust.  Listen to at least one of the stories before next class.  Click HERE.

Europe's beautiful game?

This stuff is hard to believe but it still exists!

Assignment: Political Cartoon Creation

Using the Cartoon Analysis guide I distributed in the class where Mr. Keon was observing and the power went out (remember that day?), create a political cartoon around any subject you wish from Contemporary World this year.  Remember that political cartoons have a few central elements:  they usually point out something satirical or humorous, or discrepant and disturbing, or provide a warning in the form of a visual commentary about something political or social.

Consider the cartoonist's common persuasive techniques in the creation of your cartoon.  These are: symbolism, exaggeration, labeling, analogy, irony.  If you don't have a Cartoon Analysis guide, come and see me!  I have extra and they will form the basis of a rubric to grade your assignment.

Your task has two parts:

1) Create the cartoon on white paper.  It can be a strip cartoon or a single image.  You do not have to be an artist to get great marks here.  One of my favorite cartoon strips is xkcd (http://xkcd.com/) and they use stick figures.

2) Write a short paragraph explaining your choice of topic, what point you are making through this cartoon (it should be evident FROM the cartoon) and what part of the course/history/contemporary event you are selecting.  The contemporary event does not have to be something we explicitly covered.  If you are interested in something you've heard about in the news, something interesting, do a cartoon on it.

Don't plagiarize your cartoon.  You're more creative than that.  Plus, I'll find out.

Some possible topics:
- any of the types of political and economic systems
- the interwar period
- Adoration
- WWII
- McCarthyism/communism
- Korean War
- Fair trade/environmentalism
- Mississippi Prom
- Satire on strange news like Obama's birth certificate & Donald Trump
- a song or something contextual and historical like "Strange Fruit"
- the recent Canadian Federal Election
- any contemporary news/event you feel is worthy






Do a google search of "political cartoons" and you will see MANY!  Also, if you get the joke, it's funny.  So keep your commentary and/or joke simple and the message clear.

Here are some websites:
http://www.politicalcartoons.com/Default.aspx
http://www.mackaycartoons.net/\
http://www.canadafreepress.com/toons/canadianpolitical.htm

Cities at Night

A beautiful time-lapse video. I want to show it in class to everyone to open our next session.

Timelapse - The City Limits from Dominic on Vimeo.

"Contemporary" Communism Powerpoint

Contemporary Communism (2)