Sunday, October 22, 2006

Spy School – What’s that all about?

One of my correspondents asked me about Spy School, so I thought I would maybe talk a little about it. First of all, it is not actually called Spy School, and I am not actually studying to be a spy. Obviously, I would say that. What I am actually doing is studying for an MA in International Relations from Dublin City University. The Spy School name comes from someone on the Internet.

For many people the term International Relations conjures up no mental image. I think of it as being to do with world politics, but also global economics, cultural interaction, the law of nations, and everything to do with the world. Maybe saying what courses I have studied would give a better impression. Thus far I have done two compulsory courses, one on International Relations Theory, the other on International Law. I have also taken two elective courses, one on Eastern Europe (mainly political), one on Latin American (mainly economic, or at least about the region’s attempts to achieve equitable insertion (snigger) into the world economy). Also available were courses on peace processes, terrorism, and international trade law. Since the end of September I have been taking two required courses, one on Development and one on International Political Economy. Then in 2007, I will have to choose one optional subject from four offered, likely to be American foreign policy, African politics, political Islam, and some boring law one. Then I have to write a dissertation about something over the summer.

Sometimes people ask why I am studying this course. Partly I am doing it for the laugh, and partly because I want to change the way my life works, with the course as a stepping-stone towards my doing something more intellectually engaging for a living. Sadly, it is still not immediately apparent what exactly I can do with an MA in International Relations. What I would ideally like is to find some way of supporting myself by thinking and writing about world affairs. Or maybe just thinking about it, all that writing really tires me out. If you spot any openings for lazy self-styled intellectuals, let me know.

I notionally write about what I learn in Spy School on my other blog, Hunting Monsters , although as is the way of these things I am a bit slack about updating it. Some of my classmates started another blog (The Dublin School of International Relations) and I have signed up for that too. And if you are really mad for the International Relations, there is always the Helicopterview mailing list.


ian said...

The large building in the photo was formally the Ministerium fur Staatsicherheit in East Germany; I walked around it on Monday.

Gordon said...

Am thinking of joing a spy school of my own.

Not London's proper spy school (SOAS) but the one that the Greens run (LSE).

ian said...

The Greens run LSE? sweet.

Gordon said...

Student-union style, yep!