Distinguished Lecturer in Government Bradley Babson gave his students considerable leeway when it came to their end-of-year project for his course The Two Koreas and Geopolitics of Northeast Asia (ASNA 2872/GOV 2550). As a former World Bank economist with decades of experience in the region, Babson is keenly aware of the need for flexibility when it comes to tackling complex issues.
“Student projects covered a wide range of topics,” said Babson, “from the geopolitical, economic and environmental challenges facing the region, to the dynamics of social change on both sides of the border.” Students were allowed to choose a variety of media for their projects, he continued: “Some were traditional term papers, there were powerpoint presentations, creative writing—fiction and journalism—as well as an interactive website and historical art project.”
Other students meanwhile submitted audio projects in the form of podcasts. Tim Ahn ’19 and Sam Jablonski ’18, both of whom have played basketball for Bowdoin, chose to tackle the issue of sports diplomacy and the role it should or should not play in US relations with North Korea. Their podcast took the form of a head-to-head debate, with Jablonski arguing that sporting links could be a “vital tool for peacemaking efforts.” Ahn, meanwhile, argues that sport and politics do not mix and that there should be “no intersectionality between sports and geopolitics in general, based on previous attempts.” Listen to podcast.
Another podcast, presented by seniors Wilson MacMillan, Ethan Ellsworth and Luke Weinhaus, looked at three topics and how they have contributed to the current situation on the Korean peninsula: disarmament and the nuclear issue; international sanctions and their effectiveness; and the role of South Korea in the region. Listen to podcast.
Both podcasts were submitted on May 15, 2018, and refer to events of the day.