Infield Interview

I had the wonderful opportunity of conducting an interview with Professor Manfred Henningsen, a Political Science faculty member. I chose to do my infield interview with Prof. Henningsen because of his research interest; one is how regimes of terror come to power. When I emailed him to setup an interview he responded promptly and was kind enough to send me a section of one of his books that has been translated in English (his original is written in German) to give me an idea of what his position and views were. The section is names, On the Ruins of Civilizations: the Regimes of Terror.

When you walk into Prof. Henningsen’s office in the College of Art’s and Sciences building, you will see a collection of books on politics, history and political theory with notable authors such as Marx and Engles, and Lenin to name a few.  I very much enjoyed the interview, though I was very nervous at first. One might describe the interview as a personal lecture full of knowledge; I learned a considerable amount of perspectives on the history of regimes of terror.

As I talked with Prof. Henningsen, we talked about his research and interests. His research moved and in a way transformed from when he started out. His beginning research was as he put it, “was primarily in political philosophy” and so his research was interpreting and analyzing. The texts he had used have as he said, been around for about 1000 years or so and also Greek texts. He later became interested in how Germans dealt with the past of their regime of terror to Native Americans and African Americans.

At one point in the interview I asked Prof. Henningsen if he had any advice for a Political Science major and he told me to be open to politics and follow what is going on in politics and not to fall for political clichés. When he said that, I realized that I was doing the opposite and in a way became convicted. I was reminded of an account of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, when he was a student. It was said that Ban had been open and followed politics when he was a student. Perhaps that is why he became so successful in politics.

I gained new insights of social science research and how research subjects and types of research can and most likely will change. This correlates with what Dr. Joseph said when he spoke to our class.

Research Question

I have now discovered that when looking at trends in history it is a somewhat difficult thing to do because there are so many varying factors that may have attributed to a particular trend. So now I ask,

What are the reasons efforts to develop Communism in the 20th century turned into dictatorships?

If one looks at the countries where Communism became the political engine one might notice a trend. From what I’ve observed that trend is that some, not all, of these countries were going through some sort of internal unrest or chaos prior the rise of Communism. A few examples are North Korea and the U.S.S.R.

Japanese flag being lowered

Japanese Imperial flag in Korea being lowered after the Japanese surrender.

On the Korean peninsula, the Koreans had been facing occupation of the Japanese empire, which a young charismatic named Kim Il Sung is attributed as being an excellent guerilla war leader, and ultimately a war that left much of the peninsula in ruble. In Russia there was a number of factors such as: food scarcity, war, shift of power from the Tsar, poor working conditions and so on. I hardly touched on some of the attributing factors in these two countries because I can go on and on about Communist countries and their turbulent beginnings. However, having identifying a commonality between these countries and maybe others, though they have different factors that attributed to these commonalities, can it be inferred that dictators came to power because they took advantage of the vulnerable people who were in need of a savior and stability?

bloodysunday

A group of protesters in 1905 called for reform on the war Russia was in and were fired upon by the police.

Futures Studies

In the past week in Political Science 110, we had been going over the subject of the Futures Studies and Prof. Dator at UH Manoa. I found it rather peculiar that you can get a PhD in something called Future Studies and that UH Manoa is the only university in the country where you can get a PhD in Futures Studies. The instructor, Prof. Frey, had said that the point of Future Studies is to “forecast futures,” and not a one set future, that is why the word future is always plural, to prepare for or to try to go in that direction. Futures Studies is described as being a weatherman, though he makes forecasts, they are not always right or set in stone.

Prof. Frey added that Prof. Dator had said that people can’t dwell in the present and past and need to look to the future to solve their problems. It was very interesting having read how the Hawaiians viewed time. In Ha’ena, Andrade quotes Kame’eleihiwa as saying that Hawaiians referred to the future as the “time which comes behind or after” and the past “the time in front or before.” I thought the two opposing ideas of time and the future were interesting especially at a university where Hawaiian culture is very important.

At first I was slightly skeptical about the program as it sounds like a program that creates fanciful scenarios of flying cars and buildings one might see in the Jetsons, or at least what I thought they did. I thought how is this relevant to Political Science? In a sense it is something to take worthy of looking into, especially in politics. I believe the reason we covered Futures studies is to equip us to think about what may one day come to being and what problems may arise not in the near future but in the distant future. Overall, it was a different yet interesting topic.

In a Prezi that was presented, they created scenarios that would take place in the year 2060 based off of information and statistics today.

You can view the Prezi of what Futures Studies is and the scenarios here.

http://prezi.com/xthbek4s4mln/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

My Research Question

untitledIt has been a while since I last posted anything; so I have decided that my research question should have its own post rather than be thrown in a different post with another topic.

My research question I have developed is: Does Communism always lead to dictatorship and tyranny? I think this is a question I have often found myself wondering. Is North Korea, China, the U.S.S.R. what Karl Marx envisioned with Communism? Did Marx maybe foresee such an outcome? What would he say to the leaders of these nations and their “communist” leaders? I ask this question because most, if not all, the countries that have claimed they’re a Communist country, have had a history of terrible Human Rights violations. When I think of Communism I think of the karl-marx-MEDmillions that have died under the rule of Communism. I am passionate about Human Rights and it has been a driving force in my educational career and it would seem many Communist countries have a horrible track record for Human Rights violations. But I have also wondered, is there a country or perhaps a community that is Communist that does not have a dictatorship? Why have dictatorships happened in other countries and not others? Perhaps there is no answer to some of these questions. Or maybe they haven’t been found….yet! I have yet to find resources and already my question has opened the door to many questions!

The First Post

I have never blogged before so not only is this post my first blog post for the Hon 101 course at UHM, but it is my first blog post ever. I’m not entirely sure what to do or how to do it but hopefully I get the hang of things soon.

With that being said, in my first post I thought it would be appropriate to talk about my first week at UH Manoa. I have enjoyed my time at UHM very much so and I’m very excited. I like all my classes so far and I like my professors. I look forward to all the new things I am going to learn as well as all the new experiences university life has to offer.

In reflection of the discussion that took place last week Thursday in my Honors 101 class, Prof. Jolly was talking about John Henry Newman’s the Idea of a University. If I remember correctly she said something along the lines of a university is there to create gentlemen, refinement, and a sense of being well read. That is something I really desire from my time at the University. I want to not only receive the impartation of knowledge but to become refined in a sense.