Throughout my time being taught at university the courses I have participated in privilege extensive teaching methods over intensive methods. The idea of extensive teaching is the approach of covering a lot of topics and material during a semester or two. This means there is courses like – Globalisation, Introduction to International Relations Theory, Terrorism, Global Politics and Culture, Political Theory…Without a doubt these courses are invaluable and help to ‘introduce’ a lot of topics about the subject. However, and this is a major problem, these type of courses lack the ability, and capability, for intensive teaching and studying. Issues and topics are merely ‘touched’ upon before the next topic has to be introduced. I cannot remember being offered a course like the ones run by David Harvey and Herbert Dreyfus. Both these lecturers take one book (Harvey = Marx's Capital & Dreyfus = Heidegger's Being and Time) and only address this book in the course. The advantage is the students get to experience an intensive method of learning that will enable to engage at the depth required for these classic and demanding texts. I often laugh when I look back at some of my course handouts and the reading lists they have attached to them. The list often contains books that would themselves require a course to fully appreciate their purpose and method. (I remember seeing Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge listed as secondary reading for a first year course on Introducing Global Politics!) I tend to think that students could learn a lot more about the world if they fully read and understood one (master) text than having to skim into a multitude of articles and books that address, for example, the topic of ‘Globalisation.’ Of course, the problem would be the politics of selecting this text.
2 days ago