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Witwatersrand-Cambridge Exchange Programme Announced

last modified Sep 19, 2017 01:20 PM
The SARChI/Newton Bilateral NRF/British Academy Research Chair in Political Theory, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, and Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge, hereby announces a new academic exchange programme.

Early career lecturers, postdoctoral fellows and PhD students whose research in political theory (broadly conceived) would benefit from spending time in the other institution are encouraged to apply for this scheme. The scheme can accommodate visits for one month up to six months in either institution. This exchange programme is one of the central pillars of the Bilateral Research Chair in Political Theory, held by Professor Lawrence Hamilton, who as a condition of the Chair is based at Wits for the first six months of each calendar year and at POLIS for the second six months of the year. Researchers should ideally therefore arrange their stay so that it coincides with the teaching terms at Wits and Cambridge and includes some overlap with his movements (though this is not mandatory if timings can not work out this way).

For more information, click here

Tammy Chen 1984-2017

last modified Aug 15, 2017 04:32 PM
The Department wishes to express our profound shock and sadness at the death of our student Tammy Chen

The Department Politics and International Studies and the Centre of Development Studies wish to express our profound shock and sadness at the death of our student Tammy Chen in a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso.  Our very deepest sympathy goes out to Tammy’s family and her many friends.

Tammy was finishing a PhD in Development Studies focusing on poverty, gender and women’s empowerment. Staff at the Centre of Development Studies paid tribute to her –

“We are profoundly saddened by the recent killing of our student, friend, and mutual inspiration, Tammy Chen. She was a superlative woman whose steps through life reflect a kind of conviction that few people show, or care to show. Whether she was teaching Canadian anglophones French, or working with impoverished women in Sub-saharan Africa to build new pathways to safety, food security and self-sufficiency, Tammy was an embodiment of what the world should be.  She moved against the grain of injustice and inequality, pushing and breaking through boundaries to make mutual understanding and care for others a foundation of a world that we do, in fact, all share. We hold Tammy, and all that she worked for and was inspired to make, as a model of what a human being should be. She made the Centre of Development Studies, and those around her, better.”

As a member of Gonville and Caius College, Tammy has been remembered as “a bright and enthusiastic student, and a warm and compassionate human being” and a studentship is to be established in her memory. You can read the College’s full tribute to Tammy, here.   

You can read the University's statement here

PhD poster competition winner announced

last modified Aug 10, 2017 10:17 AM
The department of POLIS is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 PhD poster competition is Nabila Idris.

Nabila Idris

Nabila is studying the politics of policymaking. Her current research investigates the political settlement behind social protection policy in Bangladesh. Other than this, she is also interested in social policy, civil society, youth activism and ethics in development.

She is a second year PhD student in Development Studies and also the founding president of CommunityAction -- a youth-led civil society organisation in Bangladesh that has over a thousand members. The organisation built Bangladesh's first digital textbook library for the visually impaired, and runs a successful scholarship program for underprivileged students as well as a business development and seed funding program for extreme poor households. The upshot of these activities is that she has been interested in the status quo of girls in Bangladesh for the longest time because that had a direct impact on her work. 

Her poster presents her findings and conclusions after studying the lives of Bangladeshi girls and how they learn, earn, save and keep safe. 


Winning poster:

Poster Nabila Idris


Runners up:

Poster Paola Velasco Herrejon

 Poster by Paola Velasco Herrejón


Poster Arief Lubis

Poster by Arief Wibisono Lubis



Adam Branch and Sarah Nouwen (Law) receive School support for 'Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives'

last modified Jul 18, 2017 10:43 AM
Adam Branch and Sarah Nouwen (Law) receive School support for 'Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives'

Adam Branch and Xolela Mangcu (credit @crasshlive)

The School of the Humanities and Social Sciences has awarded Dr Adam Branch and Dr Sarah Nouwen (Law) funding for Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives, a multidisciplinary, international, collaborative research and advocacy programme that seeks to establish a new foundation for transitional justice in Africa.

The programme seeks to develop new ways for collaboration among scholars and activists in universities in the Global North and South and aims to make the practice of transitional justice more relevant to the needs of (post-)conflict societies by scrutinising its very foundations.

Drawing on law, politics, development studies, anthropology, history, gender studies, international relations and ecological studies, the investigators hope to examine what goals transitional justice seeks to achieve and propose new tools to meet those objectives. 

The programme's experiences could make the University of Cambridge a leader in a new way of engaging in collaborative transnational research, in transitional justice and beyond.  


Our POLIS Undergraduate Prize Winners Speak

last modified Jul 05, 2017 10:32 AM

The Department of POLIS is delighted to announce that our undergraduates have completed their end of year assessments and prizes have been awarded.

The Geoffrey Hawthorn Prize for the highest average mark in papers POL1 and POL2 is awarded to Zsofia Hesketh (Gonville and Caius College):

"I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have received the Prize, and would like to thank the Part I examiners for awarding it to me. I am so proud of my hard work, which has allowed me to achieve such great results in my politics papers. Having thoroughly enjoyed the course in first year, I cannot wait to continue my studies on the Politics and International Relations track.’’

 The John Dunn Prize is awarded each year to the Part IIB student who submits the best dissertation. This year Jade Treneary (Trinity Hall) and her dissertation ‘’Rousseau and the prospect of perfectibility’’ was selected as the most worthy winner. Here is Jade’s comment about her work:

 I really loved doing a dissertation in my third year and it felt great  to have a long term project running alongside other supervision work. The extended time frame was useful in allowing me to explore lots of areas before focusing on Judith Shklar and Ernst Cassirer's interpretations of perfectibility. I found it really interesting to analyse how two readings of Rousseau could be so different, and learnt a lot about secondary interpretation of texts in the process.’’

The Schmidt Prize is awarded each year to the Part IIA student who submits the best long essay and this year the Examiners judged the essay ‘Are conspiracy theories a threat to democracy?’ written by Theodore Demolder (Selwyn College) to be the best POL5 essay in the crop.

Theo Demolder writes:

‘’I really enjoyed the scope to explore particular interests which POL5 provides - and with this essay in particular it was very helpful to be able to draw on some of the talks and research from the five year CRASSH conspiracy and democracy project. I began with only a vague sense of conspiracy theories in Russia and Poland - and an interest in them - but working on the essay helped me to gain a better understanding of those cases as well as the lessons they might provide for the most obvious contemporary instance of conspiracy theories: Trump's America.’’

Congratulations to Zsofia, Jade and Theodore, and to all undergraduate students on their hard work this year.

Supervisor Award 2016-17

last modified Sep 04, 2017 04:05 PM

New for 2016-17, the Department has established a Supervisor Award for staff and students who have supervised on our undergraduate papers as part of the HSPS Tripos. 

Students across the Tripos were invited to nominate their supervisors, and we were delighted to receive over 60 nominations. Students were asked to evaluate their supervisors against certain criteria - organisational skill, communication skill, essay support etc - but were also invited to leave comments; you can read a selection of these below. 

Having considered all the nominations and comments, the Department is delighted to announce that the joint winners of the Supervisor Award are Dr Thomas Hopkins, Teaching Associate, and Dr Caroline Ashcroft, Postdoctoral Researcher. They will share the prize of £100. 

Comments in support of Dr Thomas Hopkins - 

"Tom is an amazing supervisor who seems to have no limit in his knowledge or his ability to transmit it. He is an endless provider of helpful tips for thinking, reading and writing...He manages to make every supervision a fun and engaging exercise, turning even the most poorly researched essays into a chance to deeply think and learn about the issues at hand, and his enthusiasm for political thought and philosophy is contagious. He is not only the best at providing academic support, he helped me with figuring out what to do after Cambridge, and has always been amazing and understanding in those times when Cambridge gets difficult. He is an incredibly friendly and dedicated supervisor and DoS, and I dearly hope he wins."

Comments in support of Dr Caroline Ashcroft - 

"Caroline was an incredibly kind and helpful supervisor who would respond to even the slightest concern with huge emails filled with reassuring and interesting answers to questions."

"Caroline is also the best supervisor I have ever had in terms of actually reading and offering to help with things listed on my student support document...she went above and beyond to offer help wherever possible."

Honourary mentions - 

Dr Burcu Ozcelik - "Burcu was one of the best supervisors I've ever had here at Cambridge- she provided extremely valuable constructive criticism, was extremely approachable, and managed to build- rather than undermine- my own confidence in my work."

Dr Devon Curtis - "Devon went above and beyond to convey her passion for the course and made a real effort to cultivate this same passion in her students...She was very approachable and always asked me how I was feeling and coping which I valued a lot in my final year of university."

Dr Glen Rangwala - "Dr Rangwala was an extremely helpful, interesting and enjoyable supervisor. Available, both inside and outside of supervisions, to assist with questions and thoughts, he would very much happily listen to your own ideas and arguments (even if they were to be later comprehensively refuted!). Dr Rangwala provided myself, and no doubt many other students, with a real sense of passion for, and knowledge of, the politics of the Middle East."

Dr Peter Sloman - "Dr Sloman is not only incredibly knowledgeable, but he is approachable, gregarious, and kind, with a great sense of humour. He's incredibly responsive to emails, and put up with extremely long supervision essays from me and my supervision partner, even at short notice. He has immensely enriched the study of British politics for me, and his lectures and supervisions were among the best, if not the best, I've had at Cambridge."

Dr Damien Valdez - "Dr Valdez was born to teach...A pleasure all around."


Dr Jude Browne awarded a 2017 Pilkington Prize for Teaching Excellence

last modified Jun 23, 2017 10:21 AM

Dr Jude Browne, Director of the Centre for Gender Studies, has been awarded one of the thirteen Pilkington Prizes given to academics across the University in recognition of their outstanding teaching.

The Pilkington Prizes were initiated by Sir Alastair Pilkington – graduate of Trinity College, engineer, businessman and the first Chairman of the Cambridge Foundation – who passionately believed that teaching excellence was crucial to Cambridge’s future success.

In his letter of support, the Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies, Professor David Runciman wrote:

“For fifteen years Jude Browne has been an outstanding teacher of Gender Studies, pioneering both undergraduate and graduate courses and contributing an enormous amount to help raise the profile of interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of gender across the University.  Her personal commitment has been tireless and transformative.  As course director and a fully engaged, hands-on teacher she has developed the MPhil in Gender Studies into one of the leading programmes in the country, designing and delivering courses that have received consistently outstanding feedback.  In the last two years she has introduced a new paper in Gender and Politics into the HSPS Tripos, which has garnered glowing tributes from students, who speak of its range, its topicality and its ability to broaden their horizons.  ‘The best thing I have studied here!’ is a wholly typical response.  Jude has been a superb supervisor and Director of Studies for King’s College and has played a significant role in ensuring the overall success of the HSPS Tripos.  It is hard to think of anyone who has done more for social science teaching in Cambridge in recent years: Jude has helped to change its focus, to engage our students and to draw different subjects together.”

The Pilkington Prizes are organised by The Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, which supports staff by providing training, developing networks, hosting events and encouraging and funding innovation. The Centre also provides a focus for strategic priorities within Cambridge and for engaging with national and international developments in higher education.

Postdoc success

last modified Jun 13, 2017 02:03 PM

POLIS is delighted to announce that Dr Burcu Ozcelik and Dr Eliza Garnsey will be (re)joining the Department in 2017/18, having both been awarded Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Dr Ozcelik’s research proposal, Resurgence or resilience? Religious nationalism, democracy and violence takes an innovative approach that reconsiders the cross-border politics of piety to further our understanding of the relationship between religion and nationalism in the Middle East. Examining minority-majority relations between religious identity groups and the state to historicise the dichotomy and its relevance today will involve questions of how religious nationalist movements confront the state system to reform at certain junctures, but can contribute to the resilience of illiberal states at others.

By focusing mainly on three cases—Kurdish Islamism and Alevism in Turkey and Shi’a nationalism in Iraq—as well as comparative analyses beyond the Middle East, Dr Ozcelik will examine diverse constructions of populist religious nationalism, focusing on hybridity, mimicry and adaptation within and beyond the region. Her work will challenge orthodox narratives about populism and power in the Middle East, exploring the extent to which religious nationalist actors captured ideas on social justice, equality, and even cosmopolitanism—crafting non-Western accounts of democracy that captured the imagination and loyalty of many. Throwing into question conventional assumptions about politicised religious identity in the Middle East, the project will also consider, for example, socialist, radical-democratic and secular Muslims beyond the tired Sunni-Shi’a sectarian lens. She has been awarded funding by the Leverhulme Trust and the Isaac Newton Trust.


Dr Garnsey will be working on Visual jurisprudence: a new theory of art and justice. ‘Visual jurisprudence’ is a recent concept referring to the array of visual evidence used inside the courtroom. For example, how do photographs engender belief when presented as evidence during a case? However, what does it mean when ‘visuals’ are not only presented as evidence but when they take the form of artworks and inhabit the space of a court? How do artworks and other instances of visual culture affect the provision of justice both inside and outside the courtroom? While images of judges and insignias are common sights in courts, other artworks and art collections are increasingly housed by and displayed in courts. The conception of visual jurisprudence Dr Garnsey proposes to develop through her research theorises how artworks become central to the bodies of aesthetic knowledge that shape how justice is understood and that shape the appearance of justice—two key concerns in political theory. She has been awarded funding by the British Academy.

Dr Zarakol’s After Defeat selected as a Book of the 21st Century by Russian newspaper

last modified May 24, 2017 08:47 AM

Dr Ayşe Zarakol’s After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West (Cambridge University Press, 2011) was named as one of the nine books one must read in order to understand the 21st century by the Russian daily newspaper, Republic. The short list was created from a survey of leading journalists in Russia. Among other books so named are From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Misra, Submission by Michel Houellebecq and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan.

Dr Geoffrey Edwards wins CUSU award for best supervisor

last modified May 18, 2017 04:14 PM

Dr Geoffrey Edwards has been awarded the best postgraduate supervisor prize in the CUSU teaching awards.

These student led awards are based on student nominations. CUSU received nearly 600 nominations for this year's awards, and Dr Edwards - who is a Senior Fellow in the Department and Emeritus Reader in European Studies - was given the overall prize for best postgraduate supervisor by the student judging panel. A group of current POLIS PhD students worked together on Dr Edwards' nomination, on behalf of the dozens of MPhil and PhD students who he has supervised and supported over the years, and three of them attended the awards ceremony with Dr Edwards on the 9th May.  

To see the rest of the winners in the CUSU awards, please follow this link: 

Congratulations, Geoffrey!

Our Gates International Scholars Announced

last modified May 08, 2017 01:45 PM

Fifty-five of the most academically outstanding and socially committed international applicants have been selected to be part of the 2017 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge - and seven will be joining the Department of POLIS.


Ms Maria Hengeveld

PhD Development Studies 

Maria's M.A thesis used the feminist philanthropy and humanitarian alliances of the sports giant Nike as a case study to examine the consequences of this trend, a topic she was able to further investigate as a journalist in Vietnam. For this investigation, which was published at Slate and supported by The Nation Institute in New York, she interviewed 18 Nike workers about their wages and working conditions. These conversations, coupled with other journalistic work on this subject and a consultancy project with the International Labour Organization sparked her desire to investigate the CSR industry, particularly its labour dimensions, as a PhD student at Cambridge's Centre for Development Studies.


Ms Leena Dahal

MPhil Modern South Asian Studies

Leena's proposed study explores how social media helped or hindered nuanced discussion on nationalism and identity in response to the 2015 unofficial border blockade between Nepal and India. By highlighting the ways in which social media driven narratives can influence how nationalism is embodied, her research will attempt to unpack the process by which complex phenomenon can turn into ‘broad-brush’ approaches to strategically influence particular stakeholders involved in the conflicts. 


Miss Kerry Mackereth

PhD Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies

Kerry's PhD in Gender Studies will examine spectacular acts of political violence committed against the self, and the narratives surrounding these acts of political self-sacrifice. She plans to focus on women who undertake such radical acts, with a specific focus on female hunger strikers. Her thesis will explore the stories their ravaged bodies tell about politics, and what kinds of stories we tell about these bodies. She is particularly concerned with the powerful role discourse plays in shaping our beliefs about gender and sexuality, as evidenced in the international news media’s coverage of radical political acts. 


Ms Mayra Tenorio Lopez

MPhil Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies

Mayra's research at Cambridge will explore the creation of corporeal responses to violence and collective resistance with other women from the perspective of indigenous women in Guatemala. As an aspiring feminist scholar in the social sciences, her studies will prepare her to engage rigorously with the challenges posed by gender inequality, and further, expand her analysis and vision so that her work may expose and create alternative worlds and possibilities for everyone, especially women.


Ms Yassamin Ansari

PhD Politics and International Studies

Yassamin served on the climate team that advised UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and helped to deliver the historic Paris Agreement. She continued working to address climate change as the Director of the Climate Action 2016 Summit and as a consultant in the Office of the UN Youth Envoy. At Cambridge, her MPhil research merges her interests in climate change and international security. As a PhD candidate, she will build upon this work with a focus on the Middle East.


Ms Erica Gaston

PhD Politics and International Studies

Erica's research explores whether the control mechanisms that external actors establish when working with local or hybrid security forces can successfully mitigate the risks and costs of doing so. Whether or not such mechanisms work has significant implications for local civilians in an increasing number of areas, and for international security strategy as a whole.


Mr Sergio Giuliano

MPhil Public Policy

Sergio was born in San Juan, Argentina, and studied law in Buenos Aires at Universidad de San Andrés where he is currently on leave from teaching Constitutional Rights and Interpretation of the Law. He also holds a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School where he focused on comparative constitutional law and human rights. Sergio will pursue an MPhil in Public Policy with the objective of acquiring tools and skills to explore ways in which courts can successfully be part of public policy development and implementation.


To read the full biographies of our Scholars please follow this link:

Professor Christopher Hill awarded the Ufficiale del’Ordine della Stella d’Italia

last modified May 08, 2017 09:54 AM

POLIS is delighted to report that Professor Hill has been decorated by the Italians, having been awarded the rank of Ufficiale del’Ordine della Stella d’Italia. 

Chris Hill Italy

The honour was conferred last Wednesday (April 26 2017) in the Italian Embassy,  by Ambassador Terracciano  The award does not directly correspond to anything in the UK, but was awarded to Professor Hill for encouraging the development of the academic subject of International Relations in Italy, and for contributions to the study of Italian and European foreign policies.

Polis PhD Alasia Nuti Wins PSA Elizabeth Wiskermann Dissertation Prize for the Study of Inequality and Social Justice

last modified Apr 27, 2017 04:55 PM

We are very pleased to announce that Polis PhD Alasia Nuti has won the inaugural Political Studies Association Elizabeth Wiskermann Dissertation Prize for the Study of Inequality and Social Justice for her thesis, 'Historical structural injustice: on the normative significance of the unjust past'.

Dr Jude Browne quoted the piece as '... an outstanding thesis. Drawing on a wide and deep reading of relevant literatures, it makes a major contribution to the historical injustice literature and to the literature on gender injustice/ inequality. The research is ambitious in its objectives, meticulously executed as well as being beautifully presented.'


POLIS Poster Competition 2017

last modified Apr 25, 2017 01:09 PM

We are delighted to announce the 2nd POLIS Academic Poster Competition, open to all PhD students in POLIS.

Academic posters are a great way to disseminate your research and to promote your work at conferences. A good academic poster will capture attention, explain your ideas and open further discussions. Entering the competition will give you valuable experience in presenting your research to your peers. All entrants will receive individual feedback from our team of judges and the winning poster will win a prize of £100.

Dates for your diaries:

26th June -Deadline for final poster submission.

July - The overall winner will be announced and will receive a prize of £100.


Full details, guidance, examples and resources for creating an academic poster can be found on the PhD Poster Competition Moodle Site

For more information, please contact 

Dr Ayse Zarakol's takes up editor position with Palgrave Studies in International Relations (PSIR)

last modified Mar 22, 2017 11:34 AM

Dr Ayşe Zarakol has recently taken up one of the editor positions with Palgrave Studies in International Relations (PSIR) series. PSIR, published in association with European International Studies Association, provides scholars with the best theoretically-informed scholarship on the global issues of our time. The series includes cutting-edge monographs and edited collections which bridge schools of thought and cross the boundaries of conventional fields of study. If you are working on a manuscript that you think may be appropriate for this series, feel free to contact Dr Zarakol for a discussion. 

Our new blog - In the Long Run

last modified Mar 15, 2017 12:08 PM

The Department is delighted to have launched its new blog - In The Long Run. The blog aims to cut through the ephemera of trending news to provide insight from leading academic voices in Cambridge and around the world. The blog will feature accessible writing on politics and public policy based on timely reflection and cutting-edge research. It will also publish short commentary, interviews, book reviews, and videos, using today’s news to stimulate new thinking about the past, present, and future.

The editorial team for the blog is based in the Department of POLIS and includes academics and graduate students from across the fields of politics, development studies, public policy, and international relations.

Contributions are welcome from academics and students from both inside and outside of Cambridge. We welcome articles, interviews (text, audio, or video), book reviews and shorter pieces.

In the Long Run has been up and running since the start of 2017, and you can read the current posts here 

Launch event

To celebrate the launch of the blog, the Department hosted a roundtable discussion on Monday 13th March on the French presidential election. Chaired by Dr Dennis Grube (POLIS), the panellists included Hugo Drochon (CRASSH), Olivier Tonneau (MML) and Melanie Lamotte (History). The panellists surveyed the issues at stake and examined what an Emmanuel Macron, Francois Fillon, or Marine Le Pen presidency would mean for France and Europe. 

Professor Michael Kenny joins POLIS in June 2017

last modified Mar 09, 2017 09:50 AM

The Department is very pleased to announce that Professor Michael Kenny will be joining us as the new Professor of Public Policy from 1 June 2017.

Michael will be taking on leadership of the MPhil in Public Policy as the programme continues to develop and evolve following an interesting and exciting four years. Michael will also be joining up with colleagues across the Public Policy spectrum in Cambridge and will be working with the Department to extend its teaching into new areas.

Before he arrived in Cambridge, Michael held positions at: at Queen’s University, Belfast; the University of Sheffield, where he was appointed Head of Politics; and Queen Mary University of London , where he was the inaugural Director of the Mile End Institute. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the UCL’s Constitution Unit, sits on the Leverhulme Trust’s Advisory Committee, and is co-director of the British Academy’s “Governing England” programme.


Profiles of POLIS Gates Cambridge Scholars

last modified Mar 02, 2017 12:10 PM

Gates CambridgeSagnik Dutta is a PhD in Politics and International Studies student whose research focuses on the relationship between Muslim rights and the Indian constitution.

Sagnik Dutta has long been interested in the interaction between minority rights and the law, having spent several years working as a journalist in India covering the Supreme Court and the Muslim women’s reform movement. His PhD, which he began last autumn, looks at the relationship between religion and constitutionalism in the context of Muslim personal law reform in India. Based on an analysis of the judgments of the Supreme Court and an ethnographic study of sharia courts run by women in Mumbai, he will be examining the complex interplay between religion and a liberal ‘rights’ regime.

For the full article about Sagnik and his research, click this link:


Sharmila Parmanand is a PhD in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies student whose research builds on her policy work on countering trafficking in human beings.

What makes for an effective policy to counter trafficking in human beings? Sharmila Parmanand’s research will examine the current anti-trafficking ecosystem. It’s an area she knows well having worked at the Philippines’ leading anti-trafficking organisation as Head of Policy for several years.

She is particularly interested in the policy-making process, but also the knowledge claims made about victims and women in vulnerable employment situations and how these claims are negotiated and produced, the relationships among international funders, the state, and civil society actors, and the effects on women of measures such as raids and rescue operations and rehabilitation.

For the full article about Sharmila and her research,  click this link:


If you would like to see the Gates US Scholars joining us in 2017, click this link:

Dr Jude Browne awarded Pilkington Prize 2016/17

last modified Feb 22, 2017 01:16 PM
Dr Jude Browne awarded Pilkington Prize 2016/17

Jude Brown

The Department is delighted to congratulate Dr Jude Browne, Reader in Gender and Politics and The Jessica and Peter Frankopan Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, on being awarded a 2016/17 Pilkington Prize for teaching.

In his letter of support, Head of Department Prof David Runciman wrote:

“For fifteen years Jude Browne has been an outstanding teacher of Gender Studies, pioneering both undergraduate and graduate courses and contributing an enormous amount to help raise the profile of interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of gender across the University.  Her personal commitment has been tireless and transformative.  As course director and a fully engaged, hands-on teacher she has developed the MPhil in Gender Studies into one of the leading programmes in the country, designing and delivering courses that have received consistently outstanding feedback.  In the last two years she has introduced a new paper in Gender and Politics into the HSPS Tripos, which has garnered glowing tributes from students, who speak of its range, its topicality and its ability to broaden their horizons.  ‘The best thing I have studied here!’ is a wholly typical response.  Jude has been a superb supervisor and Director of Studies for King’s and has played a significant role in ensuring the overall success of the HSPS Tripos.  It is hard to think of anyone who has done more for social science teaching in Cambridge in recent years: Jude has helped to change its focus, to engage our students and to draw different subjects together.”

The Pilkington Prize awards were inaugurated in 1994 and endowed by Sir Alastair Pilkington to acknowledge excellence in teaching. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole. There are twelve prizes awarded each year, with nominations made by each School.  The prizes are awarded annually by the Vice-Chancellor.

Our Gates US Scholars-elect 2017

last modified Feb 09, 2017 01:53 PM

Thirty-six of the most academically outstanding and socially committed US citizens have been selected to be part of the 2017 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge - and six will be joining the Department of POLIS. 

Mr Montana Wilson

MPhil Development Studies

Montana Duke Wilson is an enrolled member of the Gros Ventre tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and is descendent of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Prior to receiving his bachelor degrees, Montana held commissions as a criminal prosecutor and public defender for the Fort Peck Tribes. Upon the successful completion of his MPhil, Montana plans to return to his reservation to pursue a career in economic development for his tribes.

Mr Nicholas Ahamed

MPhil International Relations and Politics

Nicholas Ahamed joins Cambridge from Stanford University where his research focused on bringing rigorous methodologies to questions of politics, race and voting. His thesis examining Islamophobia in America synthesized the lessons of his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and his minor in Statistics. Subsequently, he served as a data scientist at Civis Analytics providing data-driven strategic recommendations and targeting guidance to PACs in the 2016 election.

Ms Anna Forringer-Beal

MPhil Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies

Anna Forringer-Beal’s undergraduate research at the University of Michigan focused on understanding the experiences of Central American women as they migrated to the United States. While researching at the Undocumented Migration Project, she was able to explore how cultural perceptions of immigration and gender influenced modern policy. As an MPhil student at Cambridge, Anna’s research will compare human trafficking policy in the United Kingdom and the United States to better understand their impact.

Ms Rebecca Resnik

MPhil Public Policy

Rebecca Resnik has served the United States in the Department of Defense and as a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State. After graduating from Georgetown University with a degree in international politics and security studies, she began her career in the world of intelligence, concentrating on counter-terrorism and combating proliferation. Rebecca currently serves as the Public Diplomacy Coordinator for Mainland Southeast Asia, developing outreach programs that promote U.S. Government priorities in the region.

Ms Chelsie Riche

MPhil African Studies

At Rutgers University, Chelsie Riche received her BSc degree in Africana Studies and History. She served as president of the Galvanizing and Organizing Youth Activism (GOYA) organization, where she planned 5k walks to promote literacy, and collected school supplies for local and global communities. At Cambridge, Chelsie’s research will centre on the contemporary student led #FeesMustFall movement in post-apartheid South Africa.

Ms Jessica Van Meir

MPhil Development Studies

As an undergraduate at Duke University majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Jessica Van Meir has focused on using policy for the advancement of gender equality, whether through combatting campus sexual assault, advocating for transgender rights in Ecuador, or increasing menstrual product access for girls and women in Kenya and the US. Through the MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge, Jessica plans to further study how states and citizens negotiate space in cities and explore methods for combatting poverty in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. 

CRIA MPhil Prize

last modified Jan 30, 2017 09:44 AM

Generously supported by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA), the Department is delighted to announce a new prize for current MPhil students. The prize will be awarded to the student who achieves the highest average mark in their MPhil.

The Cambridge Review of International Affairs is a peer-reviewed journal which publishes original scholarship on international affairs. It is committed to publishing diverse approaches, methods and areas of analysis, and encourages the submission of interdisciplinary work from academics and policymakers.

This year the journal celebrates 30 years of publishing and is launching the new prize to mark the occasion.

The 2016/17 winner of the prize will be announced in October 2017. 

Al Jazeera Center for Studies Media Project final Conference

last modified Jan 25, 2017 01:45 PM

On January 7-8, 2017, the final Conference for the Media in Political Transition in the southern Mediterranean was held in Doha, the Al Jazeera headquarters.

The Conference brought together the eight academics from Morocco, and seven from Turkey, who make up the scholarly team for this second tranche of the research project.

Presided over by Director and Primary Investigator of the project, Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian, and by the Director of the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Dr. Salah Eddin Elzein, the proceedings were moderated by Al Jazeera News anchors, and academic papers received commentary from respondents drawn from the academic community in Doha, including Georgetown University of Foreign Service in Qatar, and Northwestern University in Qatar.  Read the Project's Findings here.

Dr Farmanfarmaian has also recently been awarded, along with fellow CIRMENA researcher Dr Ali Sonay, a Philomathia Forum 2017 grant, which you can read more about here


Professor Jason Sharman, the new Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations

last modified Jan 09, 2017 01:29 PM

Professor Jason Sharman is the new Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge, succeeding Prof Christopher Hill who retired in September 2016.

Jason received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999, and his undergraduate degree in history and politics from the University of Western Australia. Previously, Sharman worked at American University in Bulgaria, the University of Sydney and Griffith University, and he has spent shorter periods as a visitor at St Petersburg State University, Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

He will be teaching on the second year undergraduate paper POL3: International Organisation and the MPhil in Public Policy. Jason’s recent publications include International Order in Diversity: War, Trade and Rule in the Indian Ocean (2015) which won the 2016 Jervis-Schroeder Award and the 2017 Francesco Guicciardini Prize, and his next book The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management: On the International Campaign against Grand Corruption is due for publication in March 2017. 

Dr Ayse Zarakol becomes Associate Editor for the Journal of Global Security Studies

last modified Dec 16, 2016 09:30 AM

Starting January 2017, Dr Ayşe Zarakol will be stepping in as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Global Security Studies, replacing outgoing editor Kimberly Marten (Barnard/Columbia). The journal, launched in 2016 by the Oxford University Press on behalf of International Studies Association, aims to showcase first-rate work addressing the variety of methodological, epistemological, theoretical, normative, and empirical concerns reflected in the field of global security studies.  


Africa's Voices awarded MRS President's Medal 2016

last modified Dec 05, 2016 10:12 AM

Africa's Voices, a non-profit research organisation originating from the Centre of Governance and Human Rights in the Department of POLIS, has been awarded the Market Research Society President's Medal 2016 for the impact the organisation has made through its work with UNICEF Somalia. 

The President's Medal is awarded annually to an organisation that has made an extraordinary contribution to research.

Africa's Voices began as an applied research pilot at CGHR in 2012 and 2013. In late 2014, it was spun out as an independent non-profit organisation and registered UK charity. CGHR's Director, Dr Sharath Srinivasan, and CGHR Research Associate, Dr Claudia Abreu Lopes, are closely involved in the spin-out, and have built active and ongoing research links between Africa's Voices Foundation and researchers in Cambridge University, from linguistics and psychology to physics and computer science. 

Africa’s Voices Director, Dr Sharath Srinivasan, says: “We’re excited about how seizing the communications revolution, through rigorous, innovative research, can amplify hard-to-reach citizens voices and enhance well-being in African countries. To be recognised by the Market Research Society with the President’s Medal so early on in our journey puts wind in our sails.”

More information about Africa’s Voices Foundation can be found here. More information about their work with UNICEF Somalia can be found here.

2016 Gamble and Hill Prize Winner

last modified Dec 02, 2016 11:23 AM

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries for the Gamble and Hill Prize.

The overall winner was Rosie Kat - you can view her film below. 

The judging panel were looking for originality, personality and personal engagement with the topic. 

The judges made the following comments regarding Rosie's entry - 

Rosie Kat is a worthy winner of the Gamble and Hill prize. The film looks in a provocative way at the hollowness of much of contemporary political debate. Rather than take on a preachy tone, though, it engages subtly with how spectacle has come to dominate over substance. The film was imaginatively and cleverly designed, and brought out well how short films can be effective in illustrating a political standpoint.



Scholarships Available for 2017/18 Applicants

last modified Feb 07, 2017 11:52 AM

If you are applying to the POLIS PhD or Masters programmes for 2017/18 and are in need of funding, we are pleased to announce that we have a number of scholarships available:

The David & Elaine Potter Foundation Fund

This scholarship is available for students from African countries undertaking either a one-year MPhil in International Relations and Politics, or a three-year PhD in a field related to governance and human rights from 2017. Jointly funded by the David & Elaine Potter Foundation and the Cambridge Trust, the scholarships will pay the full cost of study and living in Cambridge for the length of your course. To be eligible, you must apply to either the MPhil or PhD programme via Graduate Admissions by the 7th December, 2017. For further information, please contact  

YouGov Scholarship

YouGov are working alongside the Department of POLIS to provide a fully funded three-year PhD scholarship for Home/EU students in a field related to the study of public opinion, starting in the 2017-18 academic year. The scholarship will pay the full cost of study and living in Cambridge for the three-year course. Please indicate your interest in the fund on your PhD application form, and submit this by the 31st January, 2017. For further information, please check out the Fees and Funding webpage on our main website:

The Gabrielle Sacconaghi Bacon Scholarship 

The Gabrielle Sacconaghi Bacon Scholarship is available to applicants in 2017-18 who are either final year students at McGill who are currently enrolled in the International Relations Programme; or alumni of the Page Programme (House of Commons or Senate) in Canada. Further information, including the criteria and how to apply, is available through Hughes Hall.  


POLIS Alumnus Zafar Ansari makes Test debut

last modified Oct 28, 2016 10:09 AM

POLIS Alumnus Zafar Ansari, who graduated with a BA in Politics, Psychology and Sociology in 2013, is making his Test debut for the English cricket team in their International Test Match Series against Bangladesh. 

Zafar was due to make his England debut in 2015 but was prevented by a dislocated left thumb; an injury he obtained on the same day as his England call up. 

Zafar is a slow left-arm spinner and has been picked alongside two other spinners - Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

You can follow the live coverage of the Test match via the BBC Sports website

Good luck, Zafar!

2016 R.A. Butler Prize Winners

last modified Sep 19, 2016 01:25 PM

The R.A. Butler Prize for essays in Politics and International Studies is a competition that can be entered by students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. 

The Prize is jointly organised by Trinity College Cambridge and Cambridge University’s Department of Politics and International Studies. The Prize was established in memory of the former Master of Trinity College, Lord Butler, who most famously served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and who was responsible for the introduction of free secondary education for all students in the UK.

The objectives of the R.A. Butler Prize are twofold. Firstly, it aims to encourage students with an interest in modern politics and world affairs to think about undertaking university studies in Politics, International Studies or a related discipline; it is not limited to those already studying these subjects or indeed other social sciences. Secondly, its intention is to recognise the achievements both of high-calibre students and of those who teach them.

The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college.

This year we received 104 entries, a record number for this prize. 

The winner of the 2016 prize is Silas Edwards from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol, who wrote his essay to the question "Does the rise of social media make politics more polarised?". 

Second prize went to Eliza Harry from Greene's Tutorial College, Oxford, who wrote her essay to the question "Is there a meaningful distinction between economic and political power?". 

Special commendations were awarded to Caleb Darwin (Ysgol Gymmraeg Bro Morgannwg, Barry), Charlotte Phillips (Portsmouth Grammar School, Portsmouth), Jamie Arthur (Marling Grammar School, Stroud), Queenie Choi (Australian International School, Hong Kong), Cassia Roberts (Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe) and Toby Cohen (University College School, London).

Congratulations to all the winners!


Professor Lawrence Hamilton awarded NRF/British Academy SA-UK Bilateral Research Chair

last modified Sep 12, 2016 04:28 PM

In February 2016 Professor Lawrence Hamilton was awarded an NRF/British Academy SA-UK Bilateral Research Chair in Political Theory (the only one in the humanities, see award ceremony, 4 May 2016).

The condition of this Chair is that he spend 6 months a year in the Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa and 6 months a year in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Cambridge, UK, building research networks in political theory between the two institutions.

The Chair has four central purposes: to enable the two institutions to build on their excellence in political theory through a vigorous exchange of ideas from the perspectives of two very different contexts; to use this collaboration to increase the prominence and promise of political theory in South Africa, transforming both the discipline and showing how the growth of political theory in South Africa is central to its transformation agenda; to build a vibrant exchange programme for graduate students and colleagues between the two institutions; and for Lawrence to supervise graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at both institutions.

The Chair will enable growth in the number of graduate students and research fellows researching in political theory by offering scholarships at various levels. Over time the Chair intends to expand the exchange programme to include the London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Queen Mary University of London, New York University, University of Helsinki, University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town.

In terms of his own research and graduate teaching, Professor Hamilton offers a novel approach to political theory. His research interests include topics in contemporary political theory, such as states, power, representation, freedom, needs, rights, resistance, democracy, markets and political judgement, as informed by real world politics, particularly in the global South, the history of political thought, and South African politics, political economy and intellectual history.

He welcomes interested PhD students (or prospective PhD candidates) in Cambridge for supervision on any of these or related topics or thinkers. Notices will soon also be posted regarding the exchange programme. Please feel free to contact Lawrence on to find out more about supervision or the exchange programme.

Lawrence has taught and researched at 4 universities on 3 continents and currently, at Wits, is supervising 8 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral fellows. He is the author of several books including The Political Philosophy of Needs (Cambridge University Press 2003); Are South Africans Free? (Bloomsbury 2014); and Freedom is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (Cambridge University Press 2014). He is a Life Member of Clare Hall and an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). He is editor-in-chief of Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, and has received more than ten awards for research excellence, including this Research Chair, a TOFAC Award (2014), an NRF President’s Award (2007-11) and the Gladstone Memorial Prize (1996). For more, see his CV at the Association for Political Theory in Africa (APTA), which he co-founded and co-directs.