Banter from Brabant

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Retrospective Post Number One

The Dean has Left the Building

Over Christmas break the students of BSIS were informed that our dramatic musclehead Dean ‘resigned’ from his position. As the guy founded the Brussels School (as a department of the University of Kent in Canterbury [UK]), and spent the last 10 years as Dean, it was a rather sudden announcement.

After a brief Q and A session regarding this subject, the students were implicitly informed that the cause behind this sudden departure was indeed a titanic confrontation between massive egos. Our Dean’s muscled up ego against a group of British overlords in Canterbury resulted, quite predictably, with the forced resignation of the Dean. It appears that this was a typical power struggle over future direction, offered courses and financial allocation (and, assumedly, all the things that “powerful” positions entail), injected with a healthy dose of haughty superiority complexes. Interestingly, a few of the female students, most particularly an American girl, were utterly devastated by this turn of events – clearly reflected in their shrill protestations at the Q and A session. This particular American, who previously, in one of the “Student Council’s” dubiously appropriate fundraising schemes, donated some 175 odd euros in order to have one ride on the Dean’s Harley (Yes, this guy drives a Harley in Europe), protested to such a level that she claimed she came to the school and subsequently staked her entire academic career on this guy. Hmm…

Fortunately, aside for the unexpected and rather bizarre despair exhibited by some of the girls, this was opportunity for those of us in the International Political Economy program. Because our program is run by Dr. Azmanova, (the former Bulgarian agitator and product of the New School), we were positively affected by the change. Of course, she was immediately saddled with more work and thus less time for the IPE students, however, we were no longer subject to any meddling by the Dean and all in all, in retrospect, I believe the freedom of inquiry and student-inspired direction the program took in this power vacuum was a positive thing. I do not think this student involvement in decision-making (for instance we basically designed an instructive intermediate macroeconomics course with guest professors coming from Canterbury to teach us) would have happened were it not for the Dean’s departure which created space for Azmanova and her democratic sentiments. Of course I do not know what happened behind the scenes…

Sunday, May 13, 2007


So I (Doug) have now finished my exams and have only a 40 page thesis to write by August (Snap)... At this point my academic standing is the best its ever been. We shall see after the exams are corrected -- I am confident it will be maintained.

The last 5 months were rather tumultuous so major apologies for not writing. I think the forthcoming postings (if anyone is still reading this), will have to be retrospective about, well, the people... Those that we have met, grown to adore, grown to despise, etc... Or we could write about what we have been learning. What Adam Smith actually said, Immanuel Kant's ethics, Marxist applications to the concept of 'human capital' (good stuff there), Feminist Ethics, why there used to be a welfare state, Consequentialism, liberal arguments for US hegemony (world domination), Marxist deontological ethics, why the French are French and the Americans are Americans (J.J. Rousseau vs. James Madison)

So if anyone still reads this blog... of course we certainly understand if you don't due our negligence, make a post soon and we will try to revitalize the blog...