02 November, 2010

German University - Seminars Begin!

Today we had our first full and proper politics seminar in TU Darmstadt. The module is taught in English and entitled "Early Visions of Global Governance", which is mostly centred around pre-WWII idealist thought. Naturally, you can't study idealism from this period without focusing heavily on thinkers/theorists in the UK and mentioning the International Politics department at Aberystwyth University.

The seminar today was on (classic) Realism, and the ways in which theorists such as EH Carr dismissed, or argued against, the idealism which came directly before them.

Our reading for the seminar was Carr and Herz - the latter with whom I can't say I was familiar before now - but relatively easy, as I guess you would expect with the only English-language module taught in a German-language political science department.

One thing which I noticed today is the knowledge the students in our class have about the subject. It's not that they don't know what they're talking about - they know a great deal, and doubtless more than me! - but they seem to take a different approach to dealing with the subject than I had done whilst studying IR theories and Realism in Aberystwyth.

We (myself and Abi) have chosen to do our presentation on the Welsh Liberal David Davies (1880-1944, MP for Montgomeryshire 1906-1929) who was an important idealist, an active supporter of the League of Nations, and who funded the creation of the Chair of International Politics in Abersytwyth.

On Thursday, we launch into our seminar on Parties and Party Systems, and Friday we begin Local Politics in Germany. These are two topics I've not really covered before, or at least not since A-level Gov & Pol, and certainly nothing like the EU Politics, 20th Century Propaganda and Studying Hamas modules which I took in Aber over the past year.

But with today's seminar, one thing's for sure: it's certainly nice to be speaking in my native tongue and dealing with subject matter I can understand and have a grounding in!

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