CLS instructor Deah Caldwell is teaching Challenges in a Changing World for session II of the spring 2017 semester. Below, she describes what she finds most interesting about the course.
Challenges in a Changing World
When I was about 16, I heard a girl rattle off the stoner’s anthem: “Sex, drugs, rock and roll. Speed, weed, birth control. For all you punks who think you’re cool, (insert f-bomb here) you all, ‘cause stoners rule.” I had never heard this before and was taken back.
I grew up in a bubble, born and raised in private, Christian schools in Oklahoma. More than that, however, her creed elicited illegal activity among minors. She partook and identified with what many Americans would consider social deviance, or nonconformity. But, what is it exactly?
Social deviance is in direct opposition to institutional expectations, the mainstream, or social norms. It has been and existed everywhere—in every place across the world and throughout every civilization, since the beginning of time. Basically, anything or anyone who dares to meander outside the tidy square box their current society has created for them is a social deviant. Think Martin Luther and the Reformation. What about Martin Luther King Jr.? Or, there’s Abraham Lincoln bypassing congress to emancipate the slaves. Essentially, social deviance cannot exist without social norms, and social norms cannot be considered mainstream without deviance. This begs the question: Can societies evolve and propel forward into something new and progressive without nonconformity?
Challenges in a Changing World invites students into the sphere of unorthodoxy, discussing sex, pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, drugs, crime, immigration, environment and terrorism. These are all topics that many people maintain passionate opinions about and can even attach their identities to, leading to contentious disagreements. These issues are complex with many perspectives to consider. While students are not expected to solve all of society’s problems in one class, you can expect to challenge your own biases.
While Pink Floyd said, “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.” In this case, you do. Everyone can stand to learn how to think critically about controversial topics like sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Are you ready to get a little deviant?
Talk to your advisor to see if this class might be right for you, or see what else is offered by the College of Liberal Studies.