Lecture in the Taylorian

2006-07-07

in Bombs and rockets, Canada, Oxford, Politics, Security

Graffiti near the Oxford CanalThe lecture today on Canada-US security and defence cooperation went well; it could even be a solid demonstration of the preferability of lecturing over research. I did talk overly quickly, burning through my forty-five minute presentation in just over half an hour, but the questions were good and I think I fielded them pretty well. The fear of going overtime can generate unwanted haste. I did manage to avoid a frequent error I’ve made in the past, namely that of getting lost in my own notes. It’s easier to avoid when you really know the material you’re covering, and the notes are for structure, rather than content.

A presentation on a topic like this is always a political act. On that basis, I think I struck the right note. I took the more truthful bits of the ‘staunch and eternal allies’ premise sometimes hammered upon by Canadian politicians under fire from the US and mixed it with some of the more essential elements of the ‘importance of legitimacy and international law’ scolding that with which we tend to fire back. All in all, I think it was reasonably balanced and candid. Wearing my NORAD pin – with Canadian and American flags on it – probably contributed positively to my ability to represent myself as someone who genuinely wants a friendly and constructive relationship between the two countries, and has considerable respect for both.

Lecturing itself was quite enjoyable, despite the associated anxiety. With a bit more practice and confidence, I think that I could get very good at this, indeed.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim July 7, 2006 at 8:48 pm

After hearing the public discourse (or what passes for it) surrounding Harper’s visit with Bush, I pray for that kind of attitude and mutual respect. It seems obvious that both countries ought to pursue a productive and constructive relationship, built on trust, and avoid the poisonous rhetorical fire-breathing that tends to exhibit itself when the relationship is considered.

Anonymous July 7, 2006 at 9:32 pm

I am betting you got a lot of “isn’t Canada soft on asylum seekers/immigrants/The Global War on Terror” questions.

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