Yesterday The Australian's Greg Sheridan wrote that 'International relations is a boom field in our universities. Ever fewer youngsters want to study Australian politics, ever more want to study international relations. These courses at universities have an almost built-in bias towards multilateral institutions and the mythology of the UN.' Gimo Laxamana responds:
Irrespective of the lecturers' own biases, I found International Relations courses to be the most cosmopolitan in terms of student makeup and degree choice. They were easily the most interesting, too.
I studied my undergraduate degree at UNSW from 2008-2010, and did a stint in three IR courses in my final year. My three courses can be summed up as this: I had a Chinese professor with a particular fondness for neorealism, a young PhD candidate who unabashedly loved the notions of constructivism, and an ex-Canberra intelligence bureaucrat who loved teaching international law and seemed to respect its institutions, or at least the power of understanding and navigating them (he didn't promote any one particular flavour of IR over the other).
I didn't know many who studied domestic Australian politics, which in my view were seen by many as boring. Moreover, a lot of my friends in IR courses – and this is a view I also share – were disappointed with the lack of foreign affairs issues in the insular Australian political landscape.
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