Prise de la Bastille, by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel
(Photo from www.xtimeline.com)
Honestly, I can’t remember anything from my two French history courses when I was still in college. Or maybe, I just remember names like Gaul, Gallic, Merovingian and Le Roi Soleil but with no specific details I can boast of. I did learn French but not the history of the people speaking it. My bad and I deeply regret it now.
But earlier, I had the lucky/unlucky chance to report about nations, nationalism and imperialism. I volunteered to get the first topic up for reporting because I was under the impression that once I’m done with it before Christmas vacation… I’ll have less things to worry about come January. I know that this is a 201 class, which is an approximation of a 101 class in undergraduate level. And since I’m already on my last semester before comps, I thought that discussing the basic principles of international politics will be a breeze —- I WAS WRONG.
Some things I learned about the report:
1) It was an affirmation that I need to brush up more on the European history. I seem to neglect that part because I get easily dizzy with the dates;
2) We seem to focus more on the “state” part, and forgetting the “nation” aspect of international relations. We are obsessed with legitimacy, power, sovereignty, etc. that we forget the human aspect offered by the “nation”. More wars are fought on the basis of nation than the state;
3) I thank my previous Anthro class that I now have, more or less, a better grasp of the cultural aspect of international politics;
4) I was compelled to read the French Revolution and Napoléon Bonaparte for the sake of the report/presentation and I now appreciate its significance, particularly the Storming of the Bastille (shown in the photo above);
6) I had a kick enunciating all those French words correctly while reporting, hoping that the class may auto-correct themselves in case they want to pronounce them in the future (e.g. Versailles, Bastille, Bonaparte, entente in Triple Entente) =D
5) I’m glad that I’m taking this course now —- it moved beyond the purpose of being a refresher and offered a new perspective on how I understand things. I now got a better appreciation and our professor is well-spirited and animated.