Challenging Empires : Open Space and Dissent in Movement

(SOCI 5805)

Expected course output

This course will aim at 3-4 types of output by course participants :

  • a) Review notes one every week, just 1-2 page/s long : Critical reviews of weekly assigned readings or of watchings, listenings, and/or web participation you do. You should see the review notes you prepare as reviews for publications (and wherever appropriate and possible, we will attempt to actually get them published). Your notes should therefore aim to summarise whatever you have read / watched / taken part in; to critique / critically engage with it (including by attempting to locate yourself with respect to the subject); and to raise questions and issues for further exploration, both by the authors and by readers. (The notes should give full reference and access details of the article or webspace being reviewed.)


  • b) Interviews (keyed-in transcripts) with women and men - and especially from the margins (class, race, religion, sexual preference, other) - who have been dissenters in movements, NGOS, or political parties – one every two weeks, 2-5 pages long. The interviews should be based on some degree of prior research into the organisation or movement in question, and of the role of the individuals, and with prepared questions that can also be handed in, if useful. The interviews should attempt not to glorify the role of the dissenters but to critically document and analyse the issues they raised and the effects of their interventions. The transcripts should give full name and contact details of the individuals being interviewed, as well as a brief (50-100 word) bio blurb giving relevant details of their experience. Please only note that in some cases, you may feel it necessary to not give their full name and contact details. Please use your judgement carefully, use aliases as required, and give a summary of why you feel you should keep this information confidential.

(You are free to do some of both of the above options, (a) and (b), over the course of the semester.)

[It was ultimately agreed that we would not attempt to publish the Review Notes as yet, or even to publicly post them as yet on the Course webspace. The course participants felt that their Notes were too hurriedly prepared and that they were not ready to publish them as yet. Some offered / proposed to review them after the course, and to then decide whether or not to publish. Ultimately, no one opted to do Interviews, although some considered the possibility, because they were felt to be too time-consuming.]

  • Course review : A note critically reviewing the first month / part of the course, for presentation at the first / mid-term Review Workshop at Session 6 in this course, ie October 12. 1-3 pages long; this can be in point form, if you prefer.

[Here too, and with regard to the possibility of posting the Course Reviews on the course webspace, the Course Participants (CPs) decided that they would like more time to finalise their Reviews. Based on this, but in order to be able to make their draft Reviews available to each other as well as to the Course Discussants (see footnote 1 on p 1), it was agreed that CACIM would create private folders on the course webspace where the Reviews would be posted, and that these Review folders would be available only to CPs, the Facilitator, and to Course Discussants; and with the view that CPs would again, later review their Reviews and then post them on the pubic folders on the webspace. The first part of this has now been carried out.]

  • A research paper, to be written individually or as a group, on a subject of your choice and within the broad framework of the course : Outline proposals for the paper should in by Session 6, October 12 (3-5 pages in length), and with the final paper (10-25 pages long) to be ready and submitted by Friday, December 1. (Please note that I leave Carleton / Ottawa on December 5, so getting your paper in after December 2 will be too late.)

Plus, an optional extra :

  • One substantial (and publishable) review essay critically reviewing a book, film, audio recording, play, poem, or webspace, or any other performance to do with the subject of the course, to be written individually. This essay, which should be about 7-10 pages in length, should not just summarise what you have chosen to look at but critically review it in terms of the interests of the course. You should submit an outline of this essay by Session 5 in this course, ie October 5, and aim for final submission by Session 9, November 2.

[Ultimately, no one opted to prepared this review essay.][

Output format

The course will be primarily oriented towards written output, but in case you would like to prepare your presentation/s in other media, please first consult me with concrete proposals, including with details of feasibility of production within the time frame given. All papers must be typed (10-12 point), double spaced, and have standard margins. All assignments are due in on the dates specified. The course process is going to be tight; so late notes, outline proposals, and papers / presentations will lose half a percent per day late. Retain copies of work submitted : It is crucial that you retain hard copies of all assignments submitted in the course. Also remember to do a computer / disk backup.


  • Participation 30%
  • Review notes (1 & 2 above) 20%
  • Research paper or presentation 50%
  • All grades will be assigned on a plus/minus scale.
  • Final grades are subject to the Dean’s approval.

To help me with my grading, I have developed and will maintain Course Participants Assessment Matrices for each of the Course Outputs and for course participation. [These tables were circulated among Course Participants at one of the sessions midway through the course, to get some feedback.] In the final week, all Course Participants will be invited to fill in and submit a Self-Assessment? table, which is broadly based on the Course Participants Assessment Matrix for course participation.


I encourage you to see me with any questions or concerns, either by email or personally during my office hours or by prior appointment.

Additional information

Course participants with disabilities requiring academic accommodation should contact the Paul Menton Centre for Persons with Disabilities to obtain a Letter of Accommodation before October 11.

This brings us to a difficult point : Plagiarism. Please do avoid this, at all costs ! Please also be aware of the University’s own policies here : The University has a policy on instructional offences (such as plagiarism). For details, consult the 2006/2007 Graduate Calendar, pp 69-70.

NOTE : Please keep your mobile phones switched off while in the seminar sessions !

Created by admin. Last Modification: Monday 27 of November, 2006 11:19:07 GMT by admin.
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