CLST 201 (Cultural Studies and Everyday Life) is a three-credit junior-level, three-credit social science course that will provide students with an introduction to cultural studies by exploring, reflecting on, and evaluating how, daily, we are immersed in culture. This course has no prerequisites.
Cultural Studies and Everyday Life is made up of six units with four assignments that weigh twenty percent, twenty percent, twenty-five percent, and thirty-five percent respectively. There are no midterm or final examinations for this course. The six units within this course cover several interesting topics, such as domestic cultures, workplace cultures, culture and community, identity, and recreational cultures. For students to receive credit for CLST 201, they must achieve a course composite grade of at least a “D”, which is equivalent to fifty percent.
Natasja Treiberg has been with Athabasca University for fourteen years and has been the tutor for CLST 201 since its inception in 2012. Alongside CLST 201, she tutors POLI 350 (Women in Canadian Politics), POLI 309 (Canadian Government and Politics), and POLI 330 (International and Global Politics).
Ms. Treiberg provides a brief introduction, stating “My background in in Political Science with specializations in international and Canadian politics. My Masters dissertation examined nuclear pollution in the Russian arctic. In my PhD (ABD) I shifted my focus to a more cultural perspective to focus on country music in relation to the War in Iraq. Personally, I am the proud mom of two sporty girls, one of which is going to the U.S. on an NCAA scholarship for water polo. My spare time is spent chauffeuring my girls and volunteering on various athletic boards.”
When asked to describe the course to students, she states “This course examines different facets of culture. While we often assume ‘culture’ means either ‘high-brow’ arts (like opera) or those things associated with ‘other’ people/ethnicities (i.e. ‘multicultural’), this course asks students to examine as ‘culture’ the everyday activities that we take for granted, as well as home, business, and pop culture. The goal of the course is to get students to examine their own lives and the world around them with a more critical lens.”
As for the structure of CLST 201, she explains that “There are four assignments in this course and no final exam. The first two assignments are learning journals in which we ask the students to provide some critical self-reflection based on what they are learning in the course. This is a great opportunity for them to examine their own lives a bit more critically. The third assignment assesses their ability to engage with the course discussion. They are asked to provide two essay answers to questions on the course content. The final assignment is a critical research paper where they are asked to write on a topic relevant to the course content. Some examples of topics students have written on include Facebook, Instagram, hockey culture, yoga, and gaming.”
Ms. Treiberg believes that “Students will need to take some time to read, view, and reflect on the course content. Often the course discussion will become relevant to them when they are out in their daily lives. For example, waiting at a bus stop or in line for a coffee. Thus, it is important to not rush through the course.”
When asked to provide some advice for students taking this course, she states “Take this opportunity to find your own voice and examine your own preconceptions and culture. We recommend this course to any undergraduate student.”
As for what she thinks students will take away from this course, Ms. Treiberg states “What we hope students take away from this course is a more critical perspective on their own culture and the world around them.”
Ms. Natasja Treiberg explains that “Many students struggle with finding their own voice in the assignments. The tutors are looking for them to provide their own critical self-reflection in the first two assignments. Additionally, in the last two assignments they need to provide the right mix of their own argumentation combined with their research and course content.”
Whether CLST 201 (Cultural Studies and Everyday Life) is a degree or course requirement of yours, or if the topics mentioned above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning interesting material surrounding the topic of culture.