Dorian Alt on first impressions and future plans in and around Magdeburg

DorianAltLast Friday, I had the opportunity of talking to the newest addition of the European studies team, Dr. phil. Dorian Alt, and I asked him a few questions about himself, his teaching and his arrival in Magdeburg.

I started with addressing thoughts we all had throughout our academic paths. Some of you might have been asked that question, or might have been wondering about it regarding your peers and professors: What moved and moves you towards European studies?

Dorian: Like a lot of the students you meet in the first semester of European studies, I was interested in the EU and I wasn't ready yet to pick a discipline and I wanted a bit of everything. Well, I was politically socialised during the economic crisis of the late 2000s. So, you know, understanding the economy was - and still is - a big thing. But then what caught me very quickly was more of the sociological part of it and that's where I am now.

If you are a student in the first semester of European studies, you might relate to Dorian Alt’s answer. As Dorian told us about how his path started - with the economic crisis of the late 2000s scratching his brain and urging him to understand economics - and where he is now - researching at the intersection of Political Sociology and European studies -, it seemed pertinent to ask him about his path between the then and now.

Dorian: Yeah, so as I mentioned earlier, in my socialisation it was the big question. Or, the big question when studying European studies was the economic crisis and how all this happened and I kind of stuck to that from a very sociological perspective. So I wrote my PhD about how people that didn't study economics - so all of us essentially - how citizens talk, debate, understand and argue about economics. The question behind that is, of course: if we want to eventually maybe change economic structures, change the way things are run, what are the conceptions we need to work on and what are the discourses we need to pick up on? Where is that subversive potential that can be mobilised? And it's a wonderful time for me right now because I'm kind of rearranging myself. I haven't started a new big research project yet, but I would be very interested in –it is something I'm thinking about right now - Marxist theories of European integration, for example. And I don’t think there's a good one, just to say that. So, what could be done to improve that?

A thought-provoking answer approaching topics that you will hopefully get to discuss with Dorian about, as you will have the chance to meet him this semester in a classroom, during his office hours or just around campus. On that note, I wondered what to expect from Dorian Alt this semester. What will he be teaching?

Dorian: As I am joining the team in very short notice, before the beginning of this semester, I'll be teaching a colloquium and I'll teach something very special, which is a class in which we are going to develop a simulation game. So I am very excited about that! It's going to be a simulation game about fake news and the European Union. And, we are presented in two different, very nice venues: one is the Long Night of Science; and the other is the French Embassy. So this is very exciting and I invite everybody to join. It is going to be fun! it’s going to be creative! I hope you will be there.

This sounds very promising and Dorian’s teaching will be bringing students to settings beyond G40 and even the university campus. Thinking of engaging with surroundings outside the university bubble and since we could get a first impression about Dorian Alt - the former student, the now researcher and lecturer - I addressed Dorian’s recent arrival in Magdeburg and found out about his first impression of the city.

Dorian: My first impression was when I came in for the job interview. I stayed the night before and took a lovely walk through the old town. It was just really wonderful and it was a really cold and quite romantic atmosphere. I was listening to a history podcast and exactly what I was listening to, it was actually touching on the Ottonian dynasty just by coincidence. Yeah, I don't know. It was something cosmic, something really wonderful.

Apparently, the historic significance of the ‘Ottostadt’, the charm of the old town and fortuity added up to a lovely first impression of Magdeburg. An omen to a favourable start for a newcomer?

Before ending our conversation - and leaving Dorian to proceed with one of his first days at Otto-von-Guericke - since he had not yet met most students, I asked if there is any message in particular that he would like to pass on to European studies students.

Dorian: One of the main things that I thought was something cool about the university programme in particular was that it is so intimate. It makes it possible to meet everyone. I've studied part of my studies in Britain and there this is a total tradition in every classroom, to go for a beer, at least once. So that is a tradition I like very much and I'm very much looking forward to implement it here!

Indeed, this customary practice from Britain pairs well with the course’s intimate atmosphere. Besides, exchanging a few words with Dorian Alt suffices to say that either at the bar, in the classroom or at the French Embassy, he and students will certainly be seen discussing interesting issues ranging from Marxist theory and European integration, to medieval European history and present-day British traditions.

Last Modification: 25.04.2023 - Contact Person: