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ERIC Number: EJ794344
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0033-1538
University Teaching and Social Cohesion in the Age of AIDS: A South African Case Study
Lesko, Nancy
Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, v37 n3 p333-344 Sep 2007
In the context of ongoing social divisions, lack of coherent leadership by government, and even divisiveness over medical advances and public health mandates, how might universities respond? What university actions can support "social cohesion" in a society splintered by class, race, gender, colonial legacies, the history of apartheid, and HIV/AIDS? More specifically, what approaches to university teaching of HIV/AIDS might foster social cohesion? During 2006, I interviewed 22 instructors at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) at three campuses. The interviewees were faculty members in education, sociology, history, psychology, theology, gender studies, and theater. I observed numerous classes that focused on HIV/AIDS and interviewed approximately 40 undergraduate, honours (4th year), and graduate students. I found that the curriculum and teaching went beyond the technical, individualistic, rational, self-interested assumptions and approaches (such as how to distribute information and condoms) typical of much safe-sex education. The courses explicitly critiqued assumptions, beliefs, and stereotypes that contribute to social divisions and stigma. The teaching efforts consciously included cultural understandings, specifically Zulu cultural understandings of health, community responses, and individuals within communal relationships. The approaches explicitly connected HIV/AIDS with social divisions and inequities of power. The teaching promoted an awareness that public health initiatives (and church or counseling responses) are fraught and controversial. Thus, the teaching tried to place its own ideas within history and society, offering a post-colonial/critical understanding of knowledge, theories, and social "solutions." In foregrounding social divisions in relation to AIDS, these programmes promoted a critical-edged social cohesion.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa