Posts By: Jason Sullivan

Jason Sullivan

Even erudite flies get smashed now and then for sounding too ‘school smart’. As one of many AU students not immersed in an academic social sphere, Jason’s ‘Fly on the Wall’ column seeks to aid and abet the success of others in his cohort. We won’t always be understood when we speak of what we are learning in school but we can rest assured that our education still has value.

His lighthearted approach to sociological philosophy stems from conducting field research at bush parties and working his day job reforesting the mountains of BC. Born in the city of Vancouver and raised on a farm in the Fraser Valley and an orchard in the Okanagan, he attained a diploma in Horticulture in the Creston Valley and then returned to school as a Sociology major. Today’s he’s an AU Master’s of Integrated Studies student who spends his spare time enjoying nature walks, snorkeling and reading whatever philosophical and sociological tracts capture his fancy.

Jason is fascinated with the micro-sociological thoughts and interactions that frame and demarcate our experience of daily life as well as the philosophical realm considering essential questions about what it is to be a human. It’s dense brush but Jason seeks answers where murkiness holds sway.

A Few Theoretical Influences: Louis Althusser, Isaac Asimov, Jean Baudrillard, Simone de Beauvoir, Aime Cesaire, Carol Clover, John Cummings, Kurt Cobain, Jacques Derrida, Emile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Antonio Gramsci, Martin Heidegger, Thomas Hobbes, Agnes Martin, Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Max Weber

Fly on the Wall—Because Deadlines

“It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” This timeless line from Silence of the Lambs (and its countless attendant memes) may enter our mind clothed in hyperbole as we study on hot summer days.  Maybe we have air conditioning and maybe we don’t; sometimes we might eschew A/C… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Summertime: Timeless Moments of Inspiration

What’s in a moment? If it’s a summer moment, there might be wisps of breeze in leaves and abundant sultry heat.  Isn’t a moment the ultimate timeless time frame; doesn’t its passing nature transcend ordinary timed context? Measuring time at the best of times is a sticky philosophical proposition: “the measurement of time is puzzling… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Enlightenment through Danger

The production of enlightened wisdom is not a matter of putting our names to a simple sign up sheet.  The methods we choose yield results proper to their context.  The devils we dance with, and classes we register in, make us who we are.  To face the unknown and the danger it entails is part… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Finding the Canadian That We Are

Jacques Derrida’s book, The Politics of Friendship, spends a swathe of papyrus exploring and questioning the work of Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political.  Schmitt claimed that, going all the way back to ancient Athens, there were two types of social conflict: the first, stasis, involved rigorous debate and argument between members of one… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Canada Day: A Celebration of Us

We’re a pretty fantastic country.  Other nations have linguini or lederhosen, croissants or crumpets, Guinness harps or apple pie and on and on.  But Canada has beavers and brews, hockey and maple syrup.  And at a deeper (if more ambiguous) level, we like to think of ourselves as a nation with a big heart that… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall—Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day!

265 000 students have graced the proverbial halls of Athabasca University since it opened in 1970.  Despite differences of age or geography, we all share an intellectual bond as members of the academic diaspora that is AU.  Turns out, we are not alone in sharing a unique bond with those who are surrounded by a… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Turning the Tables of Interpretive Dogmas

The mere mention of Charles Darwin brings to mind fishy bumper stickers (imploring us all to evolve), bespectacled chimpanzees on t-shirts (proclaiming our 98% DNA match with monkeys) and flustered debates about human nature (where everyone goes home a little bit hurt and disgruntled).  Happily, there’s more to the man’s work than a series of… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Every Picture Tells a Story

Elementary school class photos are as ubiquitous as report cards and leave a lot to be desired when answering that timeless question: how is school going? From kindergarten on through graduation, these wallet-sized mementos tell only a fragment of the story of our schooling.  For instance, many hijinks are left out of the picture.  Nowhere… Read more »