Since joining UCL and CTaLE, Dr. Ramin Nassehi has initiated a bespoke “Economics Walk” around Bloomsbury, London. With the UCL Economics department being the oldest in England, this walk incorporates the history of key economic figures who spent time in the area and how they are linked to present day events. It is an innovative way of teaching the history of economics that touches upon three prominent aims –
- Democratisation: the walk is designed to give a short history of economics to non-experts
- Contextualisation: placing the life and ideas of economists in the wider social and political history of London
- Relevance to contemporary debates: to connect economics from the past to today with the mindset of “what would people in the past say about the events of today?”
The history of economics is often taught in the classroom with the teacher standing and going through the facts in a chronological order. Ramin tries to do things differently and emphasizes the method of conversation. By engaging participants with a tour through the streets, the teacher and student are on an equal footing. This creates opportunities for open dialogue, connecting the different buildings and figures to weave the story of economics. A lecture room is an abstract space but when you walk in the streets of London you start to think of all the fascinating interconnections between the history of economics and the real world. This embodies CTaLE’s commitment to innovative ways of teaching economics.
Ramin’s first tour was during the UCL Economics department’s 2018 Open Day in Term 1, and his next tour will be for the Economics department’s professional services staff. He hopes to expand the “Economics Walk” and make it available to all non-economists in the future.