My Teaching This Week (20 February 2012)

21 02 2012

In my history of globalisation class, my lecture this week was on the history of the Multinational Company. I started the lecture by giving the students a brief history of the legal concept of the corporation. I then moved on to discuss early-modern chartered trading companies such as the East India Company. I also spoke about 19th century Free-Standing Companies, the origins of some of today’s great multinationals, and the role of multinationals in the two world wars. I would say that the students were most interested in my discussion of IBM and the Holocaust. In the seminar associated with this lecture, the students discussed Harm G. Schroter,  2008. “Economic culture and its transfer: an overview of the Americanisation of the European economy, 1900-2005.” European Review of History 15, no. 4: 331-344. The students seemed pretty interested in this article, which generated a great debate about the welfare state, the difference between European and American values, and selective Americanisation. I got the impression that my students like American fast food and music but have no wish to adopt the values that have been in evidence in the ongoing Republican primary race in the US.

I also teach a class on the history of nationalism in the Western world since 1775. My lecture this week was on the impact of the First World War on nationalist movements and the concept of self-determination. In the lecture, I spoke about Woodrow Wilson’s conception of nations. As a way of illustrating my general points about the evolving nature of nationalism, I spoke about the impact of this war on the followings nationalisms: Australian nationalism, Zionism, German nationalism, Italian nationalism. In lecture, I showed some primary sources related to the Versailles Treaty that I had taken from the Founding Documents section of the online Museum of Australian Democracy.  I emphasized the signature page of Versailles Peace Treaty, which contained spaces for the signatures of the representatives of the British Empire’s self-governing Dominions. I explained what the presence of these signatures signified for diplomacy.

In my US history survey class, my lecture this week was on the Great Depression and the New Deal. In seminar, the students discussed an assigned section of   David Reynolds, America, Empire of Liberty: A New History. (London: Penguin, 2010) and a podcast on the history of unemployment from BackStoryRadio .

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