I had my first Macro II session last night. It's all growth theory, and we just had the introductory lecture, and it just raised my spirits.
Macro I was a mix of material, but it was mostly short-run type stuff. Macro Political Economy was all about income distribution and the business cycle. Needless to say, it's depressing stuff.
I found just one lecture on growth theory to be a real breath of fresh air. The world is a wonderful place and it's just going to get better. The other neat thing about this course is that after doing a lot of the standard stuff we are going to be covering what are referred to as the "deep determinants" of growth. A lot of culture/history/geography/Jared Diamond type stuff (although from economists of course). We'll also be covering "unified growth theory" which looks beyond just the last hundred and fifty years and tries to integrate Malthusian stagnation stories, transition theories, and modern growth theory.
The other courses this semester are a microeconometrics seminar that I'm looking forward to (discussion/presentation of empirical papers plus a term paper), and gender macroeconomics. Both the Macro II and Gender Macro have some good material on the syllabus (I'll be writing a paper in Gender Macro as well - I'm anticipating it will be on female scientists and New Growth Theory).
It'll be a busy semester it looks like, but only one final exam and two final papers (I like that). Right now I'm cleaning up the Critical Review article before moving on the Sloan stuff and preparing the papers I wrote last semester for submission somewhere.
3 hours ago