Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Hockey a College Course in Canada?

As I was surfing along Reuters on the Internet looking for something to discuss on the [much hated] PSU student radio station as a special guest of the DJ there, I found a story that I should mention here as well.

A Professor of English Literature at the University of Saskatchewan, Michael Kennedy, has a unique class on the curriculum. At the college, Prof. Kennedy teaches a course called Reading Culture Canadian Hockey. The class there is so popular that for the Spring 2003 semester, the allotment of 39 students has already been filled.
"Themes such as isolation, survival or the immigrant experience are more common threads in Canadian literature." But Kennedy argues that hockey -- a sport that Canadians love with a near-religious passion -- is often used as a metaphor in the country's writing. "It's a device for protagonists to "find themselves," and a means for defining Canadian culture", he said.
To achieve this, Kennedy has a reading list of novels, poems, and a play script "Les Canadiens" about a history of Quebec within the confines of a hockey rink.The class really seems legitimate as the students are expected to learn from many different sources of fiction and nonfiction sports articles and applying critical thinking to distinguish fact from opinion. One assignment saw students learn about jargon, rampant in hockey commentary.
"Students learn to research and write essays, defending their positions on the game," Kennedy said.
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