As a member of the CAP Global Citizens stream, I attended the year-end CAPCON Conference which brings together each stream in CAP. I was unsure of what to expect at first until I entered the gateway space of room 308 at the Irving Barber Learning Center but when I entered, all the unease went away. What I found was that CAPCON was a way for students to combine all they had learned in each of their respective CAP courses and present their own research of research built onto what was learned. Below, I will speak of three presentations that stood out to me.
The first presentation I viewed was done by Law and Society stream students: Vanessa Chan, Caroline Cassinelli, Niki Konstantinovic and Melissa Tan. Their presentation stood out to me because they successfully analyzed how the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar, The Last Airbender served as a counter narrative to the traditional methods of cartoons at the time in terms of characters and the overall plot. They started off their presentation stating on how the film series did not present normal cultural norms. The series successfully meshed together Asian and Native cultures to provide viewers a different experience from the typical. From here, they compared the series to the film that was released. The presenters associated the failure of the film with the director’s lack of understanding of what made the show so great in comparison. I agreed with this completely. What stood out to me the most however was how the presenters demonstrated that in the series, the directors blurred the line between typical gender norms of strength and weakness. The show’s characters exhibited emotions of the opposite genders deliberately therefore blurring the lines. I would like to congratulate the presenters for this panel as it is a very unique way to examine a television show. This project makes me want to watch the whole Avatar series on Netflix haha.
My fellow Global Citizens students carried out the second presentation viewed this was by: Peija Ding, Nico Jimenez and Ina de Weerdt. Their project was focused on body security with a sociological perspective using the studies of scholar C. Wright Mills. The project was divided between body security of females and then of males. I found their study on the male perspective interesting as it turns out males may suffer more body security issues yet keep it hidden. What makes the experience of males different is the lack of a support system they may have in order to speak their minds. I associated this to the pressures put on males to be the strong alpha. I connected to this project really well as I at one point had to deal with body image issues head on starting in elementary school and carrying on to approximately grade 10. Guys, this was an excellent project, and it looks like practice makes perfect! (Before entering CAPCON, I saw them practicing). I was very impressed with the findings.
The final presentation I viewed was by another one of my fellow Global Citizens members, this time by Isabelle Semmelhack and her spoken word: “More than Just a Story”. What made this work stand out to me was how she illustrated the life of a young man trying to fit into the “new world” (North America). I connected to this on a very deep level as Isabelle spoke of how this man in desperation for a new life decided the best way to form bonds was through a gang. Being a member of the South Asian community, I have seen and heard of many men arriving from India but despite having connections here (through family) he does not feel like he belongs. This lack of belonging compels him to dig deeper for friendship only to arrive at the front doorstep of a gang who take him in as if they are brothers. The fact that gang issues run rampant in my demographic community made me connect well to this spoken word. Isabelle, this was an excellent project and your spoken word has made me understand perhaps why these men more than ever need us to make them feel a sense of belonging.
In the end, I found CAPCON a real eye opener however in the end, I took away something else as well. CAPCON is the final CAP gathering of the year and that the year is almost over. I am so glad I signed up for CAP and for all the people that brought me to UBC, thank you. I hope I will have another amazing year come September. This year, I met many friends that I hope to retain for the rest of my life. FAREWELL CAP 2016!