Apply to Whitman & Lauren’s Favorite Class

Don’t forget the regular decision postmark deadline is January 15, and if you are applying for need-based aid, the FAFSA and CSS profile should be on their way by February 1. Don’t hesitate to contact your area admission officer or use the Ask a Parent or Ask an Alum pages for questions.

This week a Lauren McCullough, a senior admission intern and star politics major from Canby, OR, shares her favorite class:

Every time I think about classes that have been really important to me, I always come back to a class I took last year, Politics 363: the Genealogies of Political Economy.

Prior to the class, I had taken courses from a wide array of departments (this happens when you change your major too much). I hadn’t taken a lot of Politics courses, and when I had, they were always environmentally related. So before taking Genealogies of Political Economy, my approach was something like this: “Politics? Ick. Theory? Gross. Political theory? No thanks.” But the professor who taught this course is my absolute favorite instructor. He has this knack for pushing you and bringing out the best dimensions of everyone in class, so I really wanted to give it a try.

The course was seminar style with an insane amount of reading (200 pages of dense, theoretical material for each class), high expectations for the quality of in-class contributions, and weekly essays. The course studied the development of capitalism, starting in the 1600s with Adam Smith, and ending with texts on current issues, like the 2008 financial crash.

I get that this class could sound boring (Capitalism? really?). However, this class perfectly merged theory and practice into praxis, and it was fascinating. We examined how discourse works; how the ideas of one theorist influenced thinkers to follow; how this discourse in turn gets shaped into policies and infused into daily life. The course taught me how to critique, how to discuss a text with confidence, how to read well.

I loved this class so much, I re-declared as a Politics major, and I’ve been talking with other professors in the department about going to graduate school in Politics.


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