A reflection on my favourite PAIS modules
Being in my third year now, I think I’ve completed about 9 modules so far, and am currently doing 5 modules now in my final year. So, I thought it might be useful to share with you both the modules that I have opted for, and those which I have enjoyed the most. These do include a couple of modules that I’ve taken from outside departments, as in each year I’ve had the opportunity to take 30 CATS, or 25% of my year, from a department outside of PAIS. If you have any questions at all regarding the modules I’ve taken, please do not hesitate in dropping me a message or leaving a comment below!
1) Introduction to Politics – 30 CAT (Compulsory)
2) World Politics – 30 CAT (Compulsory)
3) Political Research in the 21st Century – 30 CAT (Compulsory)
4) Justice, Democracy and Citizenship – 15 CAT
5) Understanding Social Inequalities: Issues and Methods – 15 CAT (Sociology module)
1) Political Theory from Hobbes – 30 CAT (Compulsory)
2) Theories of International Relations – 30 CAT
3) Themes in European Integration – 30 CAT
4) Gender and the Law – 30 CAT (Law module)
1) Issues in Political Theory – 30 CAT (Compulsory)
2) Critical Security Studies – 30 CAT
3) Dissertation – 30 CAT
4) Introduction to Social Analytics I – 15 CAT (Sociology module)
5) Introduction to Social Analytics II – 15 CAT (Sociology module)
My favourite modules
1) World Politics
‘World Politics’, a module that I took in my first year, was my first real taste of studying International Relations. Before starting PAIS at Warwick, I thought it was the more domestic side of politics that interested me the most, but I was quickly proven wrong as I progressed through my course and realised it was the International Relations theories and the topics of migration, terrorism, borders and inequalities that interested me the most. It wasn’t until I was in a last minute frenzy trying to cram the contents of this module in my head just before the looming 3 hour exam that I realised just how fascinated I was by the actual content.
The module enables you to explore a multitude of International Relations theories; for me, the critical theories were what appealed to me the most. Alongside theories such as Postcolonialism and Feminism, there were the theories of Constructivism (which looked at social construction) and Poststructuralism (which looks at the relationship between power and knowledge/language); all of which completely altered my worldview and formed the basis of my interest in International relations. As we moved into the topics of states, territory, borders, terrorism and migration, these theories previously explored provided me with a completely new perception of the international realm and provided me with a new toolkit for analysing all of these issues. I always knew I had strong opinions on these areas, and being able to back these up with academics was something I thoroughly enjoyed
2) Theories of International Relations
I took this module in my second year because of how much I’d previously enjoyed the ‘World Politics’ module; I could see that it would build upon the theories and topics I’d already studied, and that it would give me a more real-world based understanding of all of this. What I found particularly interesting was utilising the theories to deconstruct the labels and identities assigned to a ‘migrant’, a ‘refugee’, a ‘nation-state’ or a ‘terrorist’, and to see how there is a lot of hidden hierarchy and power relations behind every bit of political discourse and language that we are seeing on a daily basis. The ‘Critical Security Studies’ module I am currently taking in my final year continues to build upon a lot of these topics, asking why we see certain things as security threats, and why others are not framed in this same way.
3) Political Theory from Hobbes
I must admit, I wasn’t exactly overcome with excitement when I first read i’d be taking this module, and I thought that the more philosophical side of politics wouldn’t quite appeal to me. On the contrary, this module was full of fascinating topics and philosophers that were incredibly relevant to the contemporary political climate and events. From looking at women’s rights, to Fanon’s works on colonisation and decolonisation and Arendt’s examination of the refugees left ‘rightless’, each week brought a new philosophical insight into a new topic, making it one of the favourite modules I’ve taken.
4) Gender and the Law
This was a module that I took from the law department, and was a module that I thoroughly enjoyed. The topics covered ranged from feminist legal theory to international law, domestic abuse, sexual assault and sex work; I’d definitely recommend this module to anyone interested in studying feminism and women’s rights, particularly if you’re interested in this within a legal framework. What I liked most about this module was the opportunity for independent work, as I opted to be assessed through coursework only. In my first piece of work, I researched and wrote about intersectionality, and in my second I examined the differentiating approaches in legislating prostitution. There was a lot of scope to pursue the areas that you were most interested in, and both the lectures and seminars provided a really comfortable space for discussing all sorts of issues and topics.
5) Themes in European Integration
With the current political climate and political discussion being undeniably dominated by all things Brexit, this was a particularly interesting and topical module to be taking. Within this module, we had the opportunity to look at areas such as the evolution of the EU, its institutions, immigration, democracy, enlargement and Brexit (amongst many others). We also took part in a simulation exercise whereby each person was assigned a country and we had to negotiate with the other ‘countries’ to come to a solution, with this being based around the refugee crisis.
So far, I haven’t regretted my decision to undertake a dissertation at all. For me, its been a great opportunity to explore what interests me the most. Particularly due to the current debate surrounding media bias, I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to work independently on deconstructing the narratives that are fed to us through newspaper headlines and party campaigns, specifically on the topic of migrants and how their identities are framed. I would 100% recommend to anyone considering it to take a dissertation as it’s a great way to bring together everything you’ve learnt and everything you’re interested in