Of all the unique communities one can find in Greater Victoria, few are more identifiable than our local universities and colleges. Bubbling forth with ideas and creativity, by their very nature universities create community by providing a central location, set borders and a common goal.
They can also be places with a pretty original outlook on the world, reflected in the often quirky classes offered.
Some courses at the University of Victoria, for instance, focus on subjects most people wouldn’t immediately think of as academic, but delve into interesting aspects of modern society.
The Fine Arts department offers a technology and society class on Mario versus Minecraft: The History of Video Games, as well as a new course on the representations of time travel in popular culture.
In the Humanities department, students can choose to study motorcycle culture and literature. The English course looks at literature, Internet culture, movies, history and anthropological and sociological research, all relating to the two-wheeled vehicles that have long captured our imaginations.
An electrical engineering class teaches computer network security and exposes students to ethical hacking and penetration testing, to learn how to keep a network safe and secure.
History students can take an in-depth look at Hockey Night in Canada, a starting-off point for studying sports and their relationship to Canadian Identity. Such questions are posed as ‘Why do Canadians love hockey?’ and ‘How did specific sports over the course of our country’s history impact our perceptions of culture, class, gender and ethnicity in Canada?’
Another history course offers a light-hearted introduction for students planning on travelling in Europe. The Backpacker’s Guide to European History teaches students the context and background to the art, architecture, monuments and historical sites they’re sure to come across overseas.
Modern post-secondary studies are a far cry from the stuffy Latin and philosophy-fuelled academics of yore, but still help us build a community within a community.