Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Beginning of Classes

I was so concerned with the conference that I have not blogged at all about the beginning of classes. My classes are fascinating.

The only one I don't like so far is my Latin class on the civil war in Rome, reading Caesar and Lucan. The professor is a wonderful young woman with a sly sense of humor (and no sense of fashion) and a cheerfulness not often associated with a military historian. However, the subject matter is just not my usual fare, sadly, and I'm having trouble getting into it.

I'm also taking two political science courses. The first is called Political Theory and Empire. I'm taking it for a half credit because otherwise I would have way too much work, between thesis and my other classes. The class is great. It's being taught by a smart and spunky female professor whose specialty involves looking at the contradictions between the imperial/paternalistic politics of (often liberal) political philosophers and their grand theories of government. The class is small, only seven people, and the discussions are lively. My favorite person in it is a history major (who happens to be dating a friend of mine) and who provides incisive commentary alongside an incredible sense of style that might have been more appropriate in some bygone era (although her clothing is fairly awesome in the present, it certainly has an anachronistic quality to it). The class is so fabulous that we have gotten out up to half an hour late because the discussions were so passionate and interesting.

My final class (other than thesis) is a political science course designed as a "research seminar," or, at least that is what my professor calls it. The class, called "What is Freedom?" is meant to culminate in a term paper that answers that question by discussing a particular point of view on freedom of some theorist. I am, obviously, going to write my term paper on Plato. However, the course is also designed around making sure that we cover a number of different critical approaches to freedom and discuss and debate them in class. However, we are also required to do a lot of outside reading as "backgroung" not technically on the syllabus, which is kind of problematic because it means that the class takes up much more time than a normal class. The professor is great-- I'm partially taking her class in the hope that she will write me a graduate school recommendation when the time comes.

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