POL103-Benghazi-Reflection

Provide a summary reflection of the project, sharing what you have learned in this class with references to all the course elements including Serial, your Serial Blog, and the Benghazi mock podcast. Use the following prompts help you reflect on the class in this final piece of the assignment:

How has this class changed your perspective on world affairs?
Instead of saying this class changed my perspective on world affairs, I will say it provides multiple perspectives for me to deconstruct each individual world affairs. I learned to analyze a single event, also learned to put a series of events together to find the logic behind them. For example, if I did not listen to the Serial this semester, I guess I will never able to connect the earlier U.S. military’s defect with the exchanging prisoner of Taliban of the U.S government. However, finding the logic behind the whole picture is impossible if you haven’t finished every episode. I guess that’s what the podcast teaches me — be patient, not to jump to a conclusion soon, and wait for more information to get a more macro perspective.

Sometimes, it is not easy because when listening to the interviews of individuals, hearing their voice, I will automatically put myself in their shoes. Besides, when I think about people cannot fast forward or skip their life, and all of the feelings and experiences are real, I will be easier to agree with an individual’s opinion and ignore the bigger picture. I tried to be more objective. I tried to remind myself that whether a perspective is right or wrong is not that important. I hope in the future study of IR, I can continue building both the macro and the micro mode of thought when facing any world affair and can use more angles to see the world.

How has your understanding of other cultures been enhanced by these assignments?
I definitely learned more about the culture of the US during this semester. I remember when we discussed the difference between a country and a nation, the Christianity was the third element that my classmates came up with. Because Confucianism is not really a religion, if someone asks me, for example, what makes a Chinese Chinese, I may not come up with Confucianism right away. By this experience, I got to understand the role that religion can play in a society. This kind of cultural differences can also be seen when the class was discussing refugees. For me, I always thought refugees are far from me, even the concept of it was super unclear to me. Therefore, it is easy for me to overlook this issue. When talking about the rights of refugee, when other students focus on the rights of refugee women and refugee children, I was thinking about whether people in that country can even enjoy these rights. If people in that country cannot focus on the rights of women and children, then it does not make sense if the refugees there can enjoy those rights. I realize in my perspective, it is always the economic basis determines the superstructure, therefore I did not believe people in poor countries can enjoy more human rights than in rich countries. However, after that class, I started to think about why not, maybe the superstructure is not determined by economic basis… After all, I think I need to keep an open mind when facing these cultural differences, and again not to jump to the conclusions.

How knowledgeable do you feel about global events?
Very little… Especially when listening to the Serial and making the Benghazi project, I realized I only know little about global events. For example, I thought I know US government well, however, I still need to check the Wikipedia when some terms popped up. Plus, I have not had the habit to check news consistently yet, especially English media, so I guess I need to train myself to read more news and accumulate my knowledge.

Do you feel confident in your ability to search out information from a variety of quality sources?
I’m not sure… I guess I can. When working on the project of Benghazi, it took me tons of time to figure out who are the people that went to assist — why there are soldiers in CIA? Are they belong to the U.S military? Why in this article it says six people but the other says seven and another one says eight? I blame that kind of inefficiencies on my poor English ability. I guess if I know more vocabulary and then improve my grammar, I can find out the information I need more quickly.

Has that confidence increased since the start of the term?
Yes, definitely. During this semester, I looked up a lot of things. From UN to refugee. This class helps me build a basic knowledge frame of world politics, and basic skill to analyze an event. I guess I will be able to, for example, figure out which news is the fake news much more quickly than before?

Do you feel more engaged in global affairs? Why or why not?
Yes. I guess it is because I was lucky that I have a group of classmates who engaged in global affairs actively. During the discussions in the class, I can always learn something new about the world. Besides, after learns the basic theories — realism, liberalism, constructivism — at least I can explain some events by myself, and that makes me more confidence to be engaged in more global affairs. For example, environmental conservation.

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