Against Normalcy

Have you checked out the series “Against Normalcy” by Alison Taylor?

EDST Professor Alison Taylor describes: I wrote this series of blog posts as the Covid-19 pandemic moved into its third month and in response to media stories about “when things get back to normal.” It strikes me that the pandemic has shown us some of the cracks in systems; if taken seriously, it could spark fruitful discussion about what needs to change in our society. 

  1. Part 1: Our Elders
  2. Part 2: People living in poverty
  3. Part 3: A climate of change?
  4. Part 4: Working students

Part 1: Our Elders

As we enter the second month of social-distancing and self-isolation, and as curves ‘flatten’ in some parts of Canada, there’s speculation about how our communities will ‘get back to normal.’ It’s a good time, therefore, to reflect on what parts of ‘normal’ life are not worth reviving post-COVID 19 and what issues in higher education give pause for thought….{read more}


Part 2: People living in poverty

Moving to Vancouver from Edmonton, one of my first impressions was about the obvious divide between rich and poor. One only has to walk from Yaletown to the downtown eastside to register this disparity. Researchers who have studied rising neighbourhood inequality over time in Canada find there has been a significant rise in inequality in Vancouver over time (as in Toronto and other major cities)…. {read more}


 Part 3: A climate of change?

April 22, 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, although it was eclipsed by pandemic news. When the environment has been in the media of late, it seems that stories have been lauding improvements in air quality in India and New York and water quality in Venice; the takeaway message is that the pandemic has allowed for “nature’s reset.” However, Inger Andersen, the head of the UN Environment Programme argues that COVID-19 is far from a silver lining for the environment…. {read more}


 Part 4: Working students

In these posts so far, I’ve addressed issues I’m aware of from my personal life, teaching, and thoughts as a citizen. In this post, I turn to our current research[1] on working undergraduate students at UBC and U of T. I find it troubling that although we (instructors) engage with students in our classes, we often don’t know much about the circumstances of their lives. When I was the Graduate Advisor in EDST, I became aware of some of the complex home-work-study situations faced by many of our graduate students, usually when they had reached a crisis point…{read more}