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.