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Annual Course Review 2000-1

MA Social and Political Thought


Convenor: Dr R Fine

Recognised by ESRC as 'S'. One ESRC quota award

The aims and learning objectives of the programme were unchanged from the previous year. The teaching environment was enhanced by an especially full and active programme of Social and Political Thought seminars organised by the Social Theory Centre and held on most Monday evenings. It was further enhanced by the three conferences organised by the Social Theory Centre: one on the life and work of the founder of the Social and Political Thought programme, Gillian Rose; the second on the theme of the plurality of modernities, which focused on the work of the previous director of the programme, Peter Wagner; and the third on the shape of the new Europe – a major international conference. Students were also able to participate in discussions with our two social theory lecturers this year: Prof. Zygmunt Bauman and Prof. Jürgen Habermas.

Admissions for the year were slightly down on last year. There were five new full time and one new part time students. Three of the full time students were overseas. The part time student withdrew for personal reasons. The five full time students have been permitted to proceed to dissertation and are currently completing their dissertations. The annual Gillian Rose Prize was awarded for the best essay in social and political thought and went to a part-time student. One of our students is going on to do doctoral research and has won a Warwick Postgraduate Research Fellowship.

The monitoring of modules and the programme was done through periodic meetings of staff teaching on the programme, through student review and feedback sessions, and in the graduate SSLC. The convenors of the various modules organised their own methods of student feedback which took the form both of written and oral evaluations. In addition, there were informal meetings held between students and staff to discuss the programme as a whole and any problems that arose.

The connections between teaching and research were consolidated through the publication of many new books and articles by members of the teaching staff on the programme. The report of the external examiner (Prof. Miriam Glucksman of the University of Essex) praised the high standards of the teaching and the quality of the work achieved by the students. The teaching staff on this programme were: Simon Clarke, Robert Fine, Steve Fuller, Kyriaki Goudeli, Charles Turner and Joan Haran.

We now have a web site running but we still to improve it and the promotional material we use to advertise the programme. Charles Turner kindly agreed to take over as acting convenor of the programme for the Autumn term of 2001 during my sabbatical leave.

Robert Fine