Sociology teachers tackles terror ideology

Shari Theresia / Roundup

The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates but the great teacher inspires. And according to many of his students Professor Chuck O’Connell is the type to inspire.

“O’Connell’s class is an eye opener, it’s truly an informative, inspiring experience. He gives a fresh, passionate interpretation of terrorism,” said student Lesbia Lopez.

This is the fifth semester O’Connell, sociology professor at Pierce college, is teaching his US and Terrorism class. The class explores the change in terrorism and the United States response to it as well as the U.S. presence in Central Asia and the Middle East. Now his students are learning how class structure is relevant to understanding the war.

Class, or economical position may not appear relevant to the war, but as O’Connell explains it “The top 20 percent of the population controls about 80 percent of the wealth. This concentration of wealth produces also a concentration of power.”

So the wealthy are in control of most of what is going on. He continues by saying, ” This fact gives them great power over politics, education, and the mass media. Indeed, the mass media are giant corporate conglomerates owned and operated by the upper class and, as such, produce ideologies reflecting the class interests of their owners.”

There are different reasons why this subject would be helpful to any Pierce student. Even if the subject isn’t relevant to your studies.

“I find this class beneficial to Pierce students because it helps them explore how the class structure of a society and its political system can be directly related to the wars that nations fight,” O’Connell said. “It shows them how war may be related to the political and economic interests of a society’s upper class which is the class that orders young people from the lower class to war and then taxes them to pay for it.”

The three hour Monday night class is an engaging, vivid look at our governments, past and present.

“Sometimes when I go home I can’t sleep because of all the stuff he lectured about,” said student Joel Morin. “So it’s pretty intense in that sense.” Another student Alex Ruiz said, ” This guy is interesting, it’s like this every week. He doesn’t skip a beat.”

O’Connell started out teaching late night classes at community colleges. “People would come to class after getting off work or dealing with stuff at home and they were tired, so I developed a teaching style to keep the atmosphere alive.”

Aside from the intense atmosphere O’Connell throws in the occasional joke, but as he says, “Usually I’m the only one laughing.” But even better you get the occasional dance moves to the unpredictable ring of a students cell phone.

Some of the students in his class are there because it’s a requirement, some are taking it as an elective, but many of the students are taking his class because it was a recommended by another Pierce student.

“I just want to get information on America and our government. I wanted info on what’s not in the media and what isn’t brought up in everyday conversation,” said student Monica Seferian. “I don’t trust the media, there seems to be a lot of contradiction. He isn’t afraid to offend anyone.”


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