Posts By: Jason Sullivan

Jason Sullivan

An unofficial AU advocate at large, Jason never misses a chance to recount the merits of an Athabasca education. Jason’s studies began alone in front of a rustic rural fireplace in December of 2003 and carried on through various brick and mortar college classrooms yet always with Athabasca as part of his journey. In 2014 he completed his BA in Sociology and in 2022 graduated with an MA in Cultural Studies. To this end, his columns seek to explore edifying moments of learning how to learn within the challenging ideological terrain of that great bugaboo facing students everywhere: the real world!

Fly on the Wall—Behind the Curtain

What’s in behind any belief is what matters most; without addressing origins, any idea falls flat on its keister, philosophically speaking.  Jacques Derrida, in a university lecture during the 1970’s (he’d have been epic in the TED talks era for challenging our preconceptions) succinctly addressed the slippery matter of how to truthfully talk about natural… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Nature as Humans or Humans as Nature?

At AU, the whole world becomes our classroom, in that our lived experiences become fodder to illustrate our essay and exam answers.  Our natural proclivity toward curiosity finds expression in a different way than at a brick-and-mortar university; what once seemed a natural learning environment can even feel a bit foreign when, for whatever reason…. Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Nature As Part of a Long Trail of Life

Some reputable scientists claim that we should cast the florid notion of harmony into the dust bin of ecology and instead assess what plants and their cohabitants really want (as it were) (Davis et al).  Freud famously began a speech with a rejoinder that he and his colleagues address the, to-them, most timeless of all… Read more »

To Belong or Not Belong

Spring is the stuff of dreams as we find solace in our studies during the long Canadian winter.  Yet the dawning of botanical life with the warming sun is by no means immune to binaries of good and evil.  Springing forth plant life can seem warm and inviting until we find out that some plants… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Setting the Stage for Remembrance Day

The 1969 funk lyric refrain lingers in our cultural consciousness: “war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing” (Star, 1969).  Yet, this Remembrance Day, aghast as we are at the continued inhumanity of humans to humans, we might recall that without war many bad deeds go unpunished.  Thanking our veterans reminds us that being Canadian… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall—How Not to Be a Halloweenie.

Amidst gourds and ghouls and roasted pumpkin seeds our studies remain a lingering ghost within all that we do.  No matter our course load, or even if we’re between courses or embarking on personal research, the struggle to learn and grow runs headlong into the reality that life has oh-so-many distractions.  Proverbial dark forces seek… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—When Reality Rends Calamity as Entertainment

Between puppy videos and snazzy floral arrangements, the violent facts of the news invariably enter our mind’s fray.  Terrorists seizing hostages and destroying buildings full of people in Israel is the most recent harrowing barbarity.  Fake news and dubious facts give way when we see other people’s lives become all-too stark and harrowing and real. … Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Dude, That’s Not Normal!

A 2019 worldwide study finds that the average respondent spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online per day; Canadians in 2021 clocked an average of 4.4 hours per day, up from 3.9 hours the previous year.  (Salim, 2019.  Somos, 2022).  These facts might lead us at AU to ponder how many hours we’ve personally wiled… Read more »