Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the Fourth, Academic Style

I wonder what life in universities would be like in the Expanded Star Wars Universe.  Insert flashback transition video here:

Of course, the life of a prof would be very different in three key eras: Old Republic, Empire, New Republic (I am ignoring the ancient time era and the post-post-post Return of the Jedi era).

The Imperial University would, of course, involve sticking close to the approved syllabus with little tolerance or study of dissent.  Repression and its role in promoting order would be a favored topic, as long as the results all demonstrated the merits of a forceful approach to governing.  There would be no need for comparative politics, at least officially, since a very centralized rule would minimize cross-planetary variation (plus it might suggest that there are other/better ways to govern).  The political science job market would actually be really good because there would be so much turnover.  Which, of course, would be very, very bad

The New and Old Republic would be similar but not identical.  The profs in the New Republic focus a whole lot more on trendy topics such as insurgency, state-building, dissent, and the like.  The profs in the Old Republic focused more on voting rules in the Senate, how monarchs (like Naboo's Queen) can be elected,and the principal-agent problems of having empowered individuals (the Jedi Council) working with/under/next to the government.  The job market in the Old Republic would be, of course, awful as the declining capabilities of the government would mean cuts at the universities.  The New Republic's job market would initially be quite good as the Imperial Political Science Professors would get early retirement packages, but eventually things would return to the status quo ante--politicians under-funding universities as they focus spending on stuff that seems more attractive to voters: super-weapons such as Sunkillers and Planet Destroyers. 

Anyhow, May the Fourth Be With You.

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