2 feb 2010

Last day of the semester (and last post for my North American culture class)

As this semester approaches its end, I think that I can assert with confidence that most of the expectations I had for my North-American culture class have been accomplished; The results have been quite satisfactory: I was hoping to expand my knowledge of the United States and I have, plus I have learnt many things about Canada and its people. Of course, this is not enough. This knowledge can be easily forgotten a week after the end of this semester
However, I am even more satisfied with the transversal contents that we have tackled throughout this course. This is the kind of knowledge that I strongly believe it is fundamental to acquire in our years in college. First, I have learnt a great deal about paradoxes in this class. Paradoxically, while I was learning about a different culture, I learnt a lot about my own culture. I learnt that nations create themselves through paradoxes. The United States and Canada are what they are, but at the same time they are not. This is fundamental in order to understand that a culture is something really complex which usually can only be defined with a set of ideas that usually contradicts with one another. At least, that is what I have read in most of the articles. Related to this, ambivalence is another word which has been said many times in this class. For instance, there is ambivalence towards the Aboriginal peoples or about role State/Church in the United States. I knew that reality is never simple, and this class has helped me to confirm this statement.

Secondly, another important transversal content we have been studying is Multiculturalism. This is also a really hot issue in Europe, and I think it is quite helpful to learn how nations have been addressing this problem on the other side of the Atlantic. It has given me perspective to understand better that, even though we proclaim tolerance and understanding, this is not how this world works.

Thirdly, Aboriginal conscience was another transversal element (although it has been covered very directly in class) that it has been a subject which I had little knowledge before I started this semester. I did not know very much about the historical gaps, for instance. Certainly the history of America usually starts in 1492 in many history books. I was born in that continent and now I realize how little importance the American nations have given to the rights of the Indigenous people. This, of course, was a very personal topic which I am quite pleased for having the opportunity to learn more about and to be aware of what can be done. There are also some other issues that I would have loved to tackle in this curse but I did not have enough time, such as a comparative analysis of North America and the United Kingdom.

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© Pablo Camus
Maira Gall