Applied in: Winter 2013
University Offers: Edinburgh, Nottingham, Exeter, Sussex
I am an avid observer of international and domestic politics and through travelling, newspapers and multimedia formats my interest in how history and politics influence one another has greatly developed. Conceivably, had Gavrilo Princip decided not to head for a local cafe on Franz Joseph Street in Sarajevo, the entire course of world history may well have been utterly transformed. Or would it? Did the power politics of the time make war inevitable or was it seemingly incidental events that led to great historical change? In my History coursework topic, assessing the significance of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I have read 'One Hell of a Gamble' by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali and have learnt to appraise, critically, interpretations of history to form independent judgements of events.
The debate over how to intervene in world crises has been much debated recently in relation to Syria. How and why should one nation use militarism to solve another's internal disputes? Listening to the personal experiences of Rick Findler, a war photographer, helped me to look at the roots of the complex ethnic makeup of Syria and to try and understand the motives of leaders such as Assad. This led me to enter the Oxford essay prize competition on the paradox of ambition. I contrasted dictatorial leaders with the unique leadership of Gandhi. I am very keen to develop my understanding of global politics.
During a recent trip to India my understanding of the culture improved immeasurably. I was able to debunk some of the myths surrounding Indian politics and discovered an interest in how the West is viewed and the West views others. As Edward Said suggests, the West has constructed the view of the Orient as uncivilised and deviant. It is fascinating to deconstruct the media's images and perspectives. For example, the phrase 'the Muslim World' is used to convey many meanings, including to taint Islam with the spectre of terrorism.
I have also discovered a great interest in US politics and would like to build on this by delving deeper into the complex structure of the Constitution. Attending a lecture by Jesse Knight, the head of politics at Charterhouse, I was intrigued to hear his thoughts on the Federal Government's shutdown. From this and my current studies of American history, I have been able to deconstruct the true essence of federalism and constitutionalism. My enthusiasm for this subject was further heightened on a recent trip to Washington and Philadelphia. My understanding of global history and ability to converse freely about my views on specific historical events have been enhanced by studying both French and Spanish at A level.
I have also learnt that an argument is only ever valid with sufficient evidence. Furthermore, being given an award in a school essay competition for my essay 'Downfall of the provisional government in Russia' strongly encouraged me to delve further into the history of Russia during the 1917 revolution. Sheila Fitzpatrick's 'Russian Revolution' conveys the enormous suffering of the Russian people that was caused by a Marxist revolution intended to create a paradisiacal, Eden-like world founded on supposed egalitarianism.
As a result of my extra-curricular activities, I have become very able to manage my time efficiently and solve problems effectively. This was demonstrated when I set-up and ran the school fashion show which raised 4,000 pounds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. I have also developed group skills through being in the first team for lacrosse and rounders - I can appreciate the need to keep morale high and to work as part of a team. I feel these are all skills that will help me to study well and to contribute effectively to university life. By deepening my studies in both History and Politics I am seeking to add a theoretical understanding to my interest in political history in order to pursue a career in the media after university.