Rethinking an Undergraduate Course in European Government and Politics –

A Case for Integrative Learning in Political Science: Rethinking an Undergraduate Course in European Government and Politics

By Brian Mello, Muhlenberg College

Many of the issues that define the world of politics are complex and changing types of issues that require scholars, students, and voters to approach them with humility and from a variety of angles. At its heart, the skills to approach complex problems from different angles is what the emphasis on integrative learning in higher education is designed to develop. And it is precisely these skills that should define the continued relevance of higher education to meet both the needs of 21st century careers and the essential provisions for reinvigorating democratic citizenship.
This article provides an overview of my approach to redesigning my undergraduate course on European Government and Politics in a way that emphasizes the goals of integrative learning. For me, the question of Muslim immigration in Europe represented the kind of complex problem ideal for integrative analysis, linked to the rise of the extreme right; cultural political struggles over clothing, architecture and even food; and the redesign of the European integration project. Therefore, I have redesigned my Introductory European Government and Politics course based on the principles and practices of integrative learning in such a way as to combine political science with work in sociology, anthropology, religious studies and analysis of cinema and literature. This essay develops a narrative that explores the content of this course and the course assignments, which include the use of analytical writing assignments, as well as the development of a Brexit-based classroom simulation. While I argue that such an overhaul of European government courses is valuable in itself – for example, I argue that by bringing the experience of Muslim immigrants to Europe to the fore, we can help our students to question the Orientalist thought on Islam and to explore the limits of Europe Liberalism in practice – the main aim of the article is to suggest this course as a model for revising other introductory political science courses in order to highlight the goals of integrative learning.
Overall, I suggest that redesigning unique undergraduate political science courses based on principles of integrative learning will better reflect current research in the field and position the discipline well to address higher education increasingly. more difficult. environment.

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The Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, innovative, and seminal journal that publishes scholarship of the highest quality in issues of political science teaching and pedagogy. The journal aims to represent the full range of issues, problems and approaches concerning the teaching of political science, including teaching issues, methods and techniques, learning/teaching activities and devices, l educational assessment in political science, higher education and curriculum development.

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