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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Sociocultural Research (German Language)
The luxury of two instructors for one student?

Hayao Yajima
4th Year Student, School of Political Science and Economics

Faculty of Political Science and Economics
Professor Koichiro Agata

Faculty of Political Science and Economics
Professor Yoshiyuki Muroi

Normally, this course consists of giving group presentations based on a summary of information acquired from literature. A different presentation theme is decided for each class. However, during this term, there was an unusual class composition consisting of two instructors and one student (myself). As a result, it was decided that the theme of the course would be my graduation thesis theme of "Rise of the Left-Wing Party in Modern Unified Germany and Flow of Supporters from the Social Democratic Party (provisional title)."

Let me continue by explaining the contents of the course. The left-wing party (Die Linke) is a successor party to the Socialist Union Party which had complete control in the one-party system of former East Germany. After the unification of East Germany and West Germany, Die Linke was completely ignored by the western side and was treated as nothing more than a regional political party of former East Germany. However, Die Linke has recently begun to acquire supporters from the social democratic party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands - SPD) which is an independent left-wing party of the western side. As a result, Die Linke is rapidly expanding its influence on the western side.

Currently, my graduation thesis is set to examine the following questions: "Is Die Linke leaving the position of an eastern regional political party to become a German national-wide party? Or, is Die Linke simply being temporarily used as a party to absorb dissatisfaction towards the SPD?"

Textbook actually used in course

My weekly task in the course is to carefully read German literature related to the Die Linke and to create my own written summary of the material. Then, the normal flow of the class consists of Professor Muroi conducting a grammatical check of my summary, after which I debate the summary with Professor Agata. Debate is conducted exclusively in German, and the class feels more like a seminar than a regular course.

It is not easy to create the summary which serves as a base for debate. However, the process of creation enables me to experience intensive writing in the German language. Additionally, I get the extremely luxurious experience of having the full attention of two instructors who renowned within the graduate school. I believe that these positives more than offset the difficulty of creating a summary. When writing theses in the future, I hope to fully utilize the knowledge which I gained from this course.

I highly recommend this course to students who truly want to study Germany and the German language.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)