BY OFURE EIGBE / STAFF WRITER
For this feature, the Dagligtale News will be focusing on Criminology 160 and professor Geraint Osborne. We spoke with him after reading week, and this issue, we will be sharing some of his thoughts on this course, and some of the interesting research he has done so far.
Geraint Osborne, AUCRI 160 Professor.
The Dag: Can you tell us about the course you teach and some of your education experience?
My name is Geraint Osborne. I am a sociologist who teaches several courses in the Law, Crime, and Justice Program. Currently, I teach AUCRI160: Crime, Community, and Corrections.
The Dag: What are your favourite topics from the course?
I would say my favourite is Corrections and Wrongful Convictions. I grew up in Kingston. It is the penitentiary capital of Canada, so I’ve always been aware of and interested in them. They also speak on freedom, one of our central Canadian values. The decision to put someone behind bars should not be a light one. I think there is an overuse of penitentiaries, and Indigenous people and people of colour are unfortunately over-represented there. Wrongful convictions interest me because they occur far too often, and people are unaware of the contributing factors and how easily they could happen to them under the right circumstances.
The Dag: Can you tell us more about your research?
Since coming to Augustana in 2000, I have researched and published on a range of topics, including the use of prisoners in scientific experiments, senior citizens and their fear of crime, women’s experiences in war work during WWII, cannabis use and normalization, and, currently, a study on women’s experiences with sexism in the craft beer industry, which I am conducting with Dr. Geoff Dipple.
I have also collaborated with Dr. Stacy Lorenz on his research on hockey violence and masculinity and with Dr. Shauna Wilton on the role of university professors as public scholars.
The Dag: What is the strangest/funniest thing someone told you about your course?
Over the years, I have had a lot of kind comments from former students who have told me how my research methods and courses prepared them for grad school or their chosen profession, or that my courses encouraged them to switch majors and take sociology, or that later in life they still think about the issues and ideas I addressed in my courses. I can’t think of anything funny that a student said about my course. Students come up with funny nicknames for my courses, like the qualitative research methods courses, which involve a lot of observation and interviewing, which students have called “Osborne’s Creeper course.”
I used to teach a theory course on Symbolic Interactionism, where students learned about theory, approaches, and concepts. After that, we apply them to the topic of exotic dancing. We would visit a “gentlemen’s club” and interview and observe the exotic dancers and staff. The students referred to that as “the Stripper course.” Most of the course had nothing to do with that, but the name stuck! In my Sociology of Deviant Behavior class, a young married couple told me that the section I covered on sexuality helped save their marriage. I reminded them I was not a therapist or marriage counsellor! I also had a student complain that she found my criminology theory class too upsetting because there was too much material on crime, violence, and criminals. I don’t know what she expected from a criminology course, which was strange!
The Dag: What are some of your hobbies?
I volunteer as the Artistic Director for Rose City Roots Music Society and am part of the programming committee for the Bailey Theatre. I enjoy working and hanging out with like-minded people and bringing live music to Camrose. I also like to go for runs, play chess, read, watch films, and drink craft beer. In the summer, I head for my family cabin in Eastern Ontario, where I enjoy swimming, canoeing, and hiking.