Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Behold: The Peace and Justice Dodecahedron!

Alert reader and noted St. Thomas alum Nick e-mails regarding the school's Justice and Peace Studies program I mentioned this morning:

The program essentially is a major or minor in liberal activism and is relatively looked down upon by most St.Thomas students who realize how pointless this program is. A friend of mine during freshman year who wanted to go to law school thought the JPST program was a pre-law program. It made for one long semester.

Wait until he has to take 15 credits featuring courses on both Articles 2 and 9 of the Uniform Commercial code, future interests in estates and moot court. That's a long semester.

The scars take so long to heal... But I digress.

Nick provides us a link to the program's homepage. Duct tape your head:

The Justice and Peace Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to be responsible critics of contemporary societies and effective agents for positive social transformation. The two core courses for the minor, and the pattern of requirements for the major, make use of four stages (the "Circle of Praxis"): (1) experience (actual and vicarious) of poverty and injustice; (2) descriptive analysis (study of the economic, political, and social realities of a culture, and the historical events that produced those realities); (3) normative analysis (moral judgment on existing society, study of alternative possibilities for that society, and analysis of the moral values at stake); and (4) action possibilities (Strategies and skills for transforming society from its present condition to a better condition -- including a variety of strategies such as those outlined in the "Social Change Wheel").

Ah yes, the Social Change Wheel. That of course is the corollary of the well-known Physical Fitness Triangle, The Octagon of Conflict, and the Wellness Parallelogram .

Anyway, just by reading this brief introduction, I can tell how useless this program is. For cryin' out loud, the four stages of didacticism outlined here as the "Circle of Praxis" (which is, I believe, a band of warriors from ancient Visigoth mythology who did battle against the evil Trapezoid of Blothar) is nothing that your average college student already experiences. Of course, no tuition is paid and no credits are earned. Let me break it down:

(1) experience (actual and vicarious) of poverty and injustice

"Dude, I hardly have any beer money, and that hot chick won't get with me simply because I only do my laundry once every two months."

(2) descriptive analysis (study of the economic, political, and social realities of a culture, and the historical events that produced those realities).

"Dude, I'm a friggin' college student. Since when have college students ever had any money? Plus, It took me about six months to even figure out where the laundry room is."

(3) normative analysis (moral judgment on existing society, study of alternative possibilities for that society, and analysis of the moral values at stake).

"Dude, THIS SUCKS! Maybe if I got her drunk... Would that be wrong?"

(4) action possibilities (Strategies and skills for transforming society from its present condition to a better condition -- including a variety of strategies such as those outlined in the "Social Change Wheel").

"Dude, I'm always looking for 'action possibilities'. I s'pose I could try to not smell like a walking puke-encrusted fart all the time. Or I could invite her to my pad and get her drunk. Can the Social Change Wheel be used as a drinking game?"

Send your tuition to me, care of this blog.

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