Sociology Course: Issues and Insights in South Africa (Sydney)

Sociology Course: Issues and Insights in South Africa

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As some academics suggest South Africa is at a cross roads, that it “remains on a political precipice” much in need of “genuine economic transformation”. This sociology course places a spotlight on South Africa, its past and present and considers its future.

This sociology course hopes to inspire students to look not only to the Northern Hemisphere for knowledge, for study; but also to the world we, Australia and South Africa are located namely the Southern Hemisphere. More than twenty years have passed since the great optimism of the Mandela era and with the years of Zuma and the prospect of a President Cyril Ramaphosa much is at stake for South Africa to find a path to a democratic and prosperous future.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this sociology course you will:

  1. Be able to debate and discuss South African history, politics, culture, economics and foreign relations.
  2. Have a greater understanding of a major country in Africa and a country within our Southern Hemisphere region.
  3. Have learnt about the latest views, ideas and knowledge of South Africa.

Course Content

The content for this sociology course will be presented with the assistance of influential guest speakers providing you with the platform to study, discuss and debate numerous important topics including:

  • South Africa’s history, politics, economics and trade.
  • Housing, land reform and education in South Africa.
  • South Africa’s music, theatre, literature and food.
  • South Africa’s role in BRICS (the five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
  • South Africa and the African Union.

Intended Audience

This sociology course is suitable for anyone who is interested in sociology, contemporary issues and the sharing of ideas. The course will be of particular benefit to those who are interested in South Africa and a major country of our Southern Hemisphere region, its history or current topics in the public spotlight.

Delivery Style

This sociology course will be delivered as an interactive workshop consisting of an instructor-led lecture, guest speakers and group discussions. The course will be offered via video link to those in international or regional locations. Registered participants may connect to the video link using Cisco Meeting, Cisco Jabber, Google Chrome, Zoom or Skype for Business and a reliable Internet connection is required. Video connection details will be made available to each participant prior to this course.

This sociology course strives to encourage active and informed participation, group analysis and debate of the facts, issues and insights into our changing world. This course encourages the study of good factual reliable sources and reasoned arguments and conclusions.

Recommended Reading

  1. Professor Anthony Butler, Cyril Ramaphosa, (Johnnesburg: Jacana Media; Oxford: James Currey, 2013),
  2. Professor Roger Southall, The ANC has a new leader: but South Africa remains on a political precipice, The Conversation, 19/12/17,
  3. Professor Pundy Pillay and Head of Wits School of Governance, University of Witwatersrand, David Everatt, What’s in a name? Towards genuine economic transformation in South Africa, The Conversation, 1/8/17,
  4. Sean Gossal and Misheck Mutize, Why Zuma’s free higher education plan will cripple South Africa’s finances, The Conversation, 16/1/18.
  5. Jason Burke, We only see politicians on TV' - the district of Soweto in the ANC’s shadow, The Guardian, 17/12/17
  6. Professor Peter Alexander, Cyril Ramaphosa’s Marikana massacre “apology” is disingenuous and dishonest, The Conversation', 12/5/17

Course Prerequisites

This sociology course has no prerequisites and is open to all members of the public.

Margaret McDonough-Glenn has a B.A. (Hons) from University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment from Hawkesbury Community College, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She has taught at university, community college and TAFE in Australia. In the pursuit of her doctoral dissertation she researched in many famous institutions such as Bodleian Library, Oxford, Cambridge, London, London School of Economics, Institute of Historical Research, Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Keele universities, United Kingdom, Harvard, Texas, Stanford, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Columbia, Chicago and UCLA, universities, United States of America, University of Waterloo, Canada, Australian research institutions and universities in Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. She also gave numerous international research papers for example at: Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, International Standing Conference for the History of Education, Sydney, Australia and International Congress of Historical Sciences, Oslo, Norway. She has interviewed the professors of Australian historiography venturing beyond Australia to access their papers. In 2017 she attended and presented a paper at an international education conference about education for older persons.

Over the last eight years Margaret has been teaching lifelong learning; the many topics she has covered include civic education, women’s human rights: ideas, issues and history, indigenous issues and human rights, same sex marriage and human rights and in particular third phase education. Recent courses that she has taught include: Social Justice Course: Issues for Australians, Can Women Have It All: Family, Career and Power, Book Club, Hot Topics for 2016 Federal Election and State of Education in Australia. With regard to the last course for the first time a vice chancellor addressed the class, Professor Caroline McMillen of the University of Newcastle.

In 2012 she adopted Skype video that opened the world to her Sydney classes, originally Skyping beyond the borders of New South Wales to South Australia and Victoria. Since then she has gone on to Skype the world securing guest speakers from Russia, United States of America and United Kingdom, to Harvard University, MIT, London University, University of Kentucky, University of Toronto.

In 2017 Margaret began teaching at UON, Sydney campus. In the last semester 2017, Margaret’s courses ventured into the new pioneering field of transnational education and university to university video conferencing. Working with Professor Andrew White of University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China, UNNC, we pioneered university to university video conferencing transnational education, ‘Ideas from Australia and China’ course between University of Newcastle, Sydney campus and University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

In first semester 2018 University of Newcastle, Sydney campus course, Issues and Insights for South Africa was offered to Sydney students and for the first time via video link to those in international or regional locations.

Margaret strives to advance further the new pioneering field of transnational education and video conferencing; Margaret passionately believes that all students should have access to the latest topics, leading academics, professors, intellectuals, public figures, politicians, ideas and resources regardless of their background or location.


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Course Features

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