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Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Central European University
We will be trying out an innovative class excercise with this course. Students will have to use one of the three 'Grand IR' theories (Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism) to argue about different readings of / analyze two exciting cases: UNDP resolution 1973, and the Apparent failure of the WTO. Any throughts? 



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Looking forward to TA-ing 'International Organizations, Past, Present and Future' with Wolfgang this semester.

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Jan Luedert Politics
Assistant Professor at City University of Seattle
29 days ago

Taking on particular debate issues (e.g. by adopting a particular theory) are useful excercises. I have tried to help students synthesize such material by offering a clear set of assumptions each theory takes on and how these actually map with the empirics in a given case. Once three student groups are ready to debate these cases you bring the class back together. Works effectively to help students appreciate the utility and breadth of IR theory in praxis. 

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Peter Marton Politics
Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Central European University
23 days ago

Thanks. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. It's the first time. Hopefully the course will be around to be able to benefit from first experiences.

Jan Luedert Politics
Assistant Professor at City University of Seattle
22 days ago

Let me know Peter, I am always curious about new teaching approaches in IR. In fact, you may find this useful: http://www.e-ir.info/2017/11/19/nurturing-cognitive-and-affective-empathy-the-benefits-of-perspective-taking/

Peter Marton Politics
Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Central European University
17 days ago

Thank you. An insightful piece! It's been my experience that groupwork can be great, but for some students it simply doesn't make a difference as they have mor fundamental issues of not being able to open-up. I guess this applies especially for a school like CEU, where the English language requirement might be..simply too prohibitive as some students don't feel like they can speak EN well enough. Although, of course they can... since the requirements for getting in are quite strict... a problem, that I have yet to see a solution to.

Peter Marton Politics
Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Central European University
8 days ago

@Jan Luedert - The simulation is going to happen this Friday. The idea is pretty simple in the end. We have a starting point and an endpoint that we establish as factual (the creation of the WTO and it's current institutional crisis, spanning a period of about 25 years). Students are divided into three groups - Realists, Liberals, Social Constructivists - and are tasked with comming-up with a plausible causal mechanism, or narrative as to why the WTO is where it is. I give them stepping stones - pointing out that trade has become more contentious in general as we have moved away from tariffs to regulation, or that the Doha Round was a spectacular failute... but they are expected to do independent research!

Jan Luedert Politics
Assistant Professor at City University of Seattle
8 days ago

That sounds great Peter. A great way to bring the conversation back together is to highlight how the various assumptions of the theories will likely point towards different empirical exectations (e.g. what to look for in terms of data collection and expected outcomes). Keep me posted! 

Peter Marton Politics
Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Central European University
7 days ago

Will do!

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