Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more


in Books and literature, Daily updates, Oxford

Today, we have our history and theory exams. Tomorrow, it’s international law. Wednesday is the exam about which I am most worried: the IR of the developing world. Thankfully, one can draw further inspiration from Henry V (III, i):

But when the blast of [exams] blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height.

Friends in Oxford should make a point of attending our post-exam barbecue on Thursday at 7:00pm. For those in the IR program, we will be wandering over to Church Walk en masse after the party in the department ends.

[Update: 1:45pm] The history exam is done. I wrote essays on the following:

  1. To what extent was instability in East Asia in the inter-war period a consequence of extra-regional forces?
  2. ‘The key international security institutions were incidental to the maintenance of world order during the Cold War, but they have become central pillars of order in the post-Cold War period.’ Do you agree?
  3. ‘The roots of contemporary conflict in the Middle East are to be found more within its processes of colonization and decoloninization than in the dynamics of the Cold War.’ Is this accurate?

Many thanks to Jason Shell for taking a group of us for lunch at Brasenose College after the exam. My IR theory exam begins in forty-five minutes.

[Update: 6:21pm] With the theory exam, I am halfway through. I wrote on the following:

  1. ‘The Realist and Liberal traditions of International Relations have more in common with each other than not.’ Discuss.
  2. What does the literature on globalization tell us about the relation between international economic inequality and international political inequality?
  3. ‘The issue is not the “right to intervene” of any State, but the “responsibility to protect” of every State when it comes to people suffering from avoidable catastrophe.’ Discuss.

I included diagrams in the first and second essay, as well as calling constructivism a ‘pseudo-counterhegemonic discourse.’

I have now finished the exams I expected to be the 2nd and 4th most difficult. Tomorrow, I have law, which I expect to more more challenging than theory but less so than history. Wednesday, I have the developing world, which I expect to be the most challenging of all.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Antonia June 11, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Sorry for the phonecall attempts. Hope e: thought you had two exams tomorrow rather than today. Hope everything went well for both. All the best for tomorrow.

Anon June 11, 2007 at 8:56 pm

Well done.

Just two more now.

Rob June 12, 2007 at 1:08 pm

The exams are supposed to be anonymous, I’d’ve thought. Anyway, well done, and I guess I’ll probably see you on Thursday.

Milan June 12, 2007 at 1:12 pm

“The exams are supposed to be anonymous”

What do you mean? You only put your candidate number on them, so the assessors aren’t meant to know who you are.

Rob June 14, 2007 at 10:04 am

Identifying which questions you answered in a public forum would perhaps be a breach of anonymity.

Milan June 14, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Identifying which questions you answered in a public forum would perhaps be a breach of anonymity.

I suppose that is possible. Still, I am inclined to leave them up unless someone officially complains. One major purpose of this site is to document the M.Phil experience, for the benefit of anyone who may be thinking of enrolling.

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