APSA Teaching and Learning Conference: Day Two
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By Lee Trepanier, February 13, 2011 in Pedagogy and Teaching, Professional Development

Yesterday was the second day of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference. In our track, "Internationalizing the Curriculum," we had four papers in the morning that discussed certain pedagogical techniques to consider in the classroom to make students aware of the world outside the United States. Two of them focused on mass media, while the other two used service-learning. Although the papers were interesting, I was a little disappointed that they didn't relate more to the theoretical literature on pedagogy. Nonetheless, it was an interesting start to the day.

In the afternoon, we had three more paper presentations: one on international political theory, one on international relations, and one on institutional concerns. The first argued that political theory needs to be more reflective of global concerns; the second argued for a non-American perspective of international relations; and the last discussed some of the challenges and opportunties at the institutional level of internationalizing the curriculum. The papers were thought-provoking, however, I wonder whether the first two papers were discussing the state of the discipline a few years ago as opposed to now. For example, political theory has already been "internationalized" to such extent, with new articles and textbooks about comparative political theory already existing. In some sense, political science has already addressed (if not completely addressed) some of these concerns.

Overall the conference has been very useful and I learned quite a bit about internationalizing the curriculum (and hopefully we were able to contribute meaningfully to the conversation, too). It certainly has given me much to contemplate about in our discipline.

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2 Comments
Jim Allen on Feb 13, 2011 at 5:22 am

While not an attendee, I quite agree with your reaction to the papers. As an instructor of both World Civilization and Western History, I find the latter area to be increasingly beleaguered by the multiculturalist wave. Ditto US history. Students who are ignorant of our political philosophical genesis and evolution, historical travails, economic history and so forth, cannot possibly make sense of our history "in the wider world", or "in the global perspective" or any of the other usual bromides peddled in course catalogs.

Lee Trepanier on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:33 am

It is interesting that you raised this point. One of our contention was to to understand the world, one should understand his own regime first. However, this was a a minority position in the discussion groups. Although both sides of this question have their merits, I found the biggest obstacle was to find some common ground where both positions could express and clarify their views.

Last updated on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:33 am.

about the author

Lee Trepanier
Lee Trepanier

I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at Saginaw Valley State University. I teach courses in political philosophy as well as the Introduction to Political Science course. I received my B.A. in Political Science and English Literature with a Minor in Russian Studies at Marquette University and my M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Louisiana State University. My research interests are in Russian politics; politics and religion; politics, literature, and film; and political philosophy with a focus on the works of Eric Voegelin.