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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!

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.

Postgraduate Open Day - 2nd November 2016

last modified Oct 19, 2016 10:59 AM

The University of Cambridge is hosting its first Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday 2 November 2016 and the Department of Politics and International Studies will be taking part. 

Attending the open day is an excellent way to explore the graduate courses and opportunities available at the Department.

During the first part of the day participants will be able to attend a registration hub where detailed information about the graduate application process is available; current graduate students and Graduate Admissions Office staff will be on hand to answer questions about postgraduate study and student life in the vibrant city of Cambridge. In addition, prospective applicants will have the chance to learn more about individual courses and talk to academic staff from the departments and Colleges.

We will have a stall in the Law Faculty where you can speak to administrators about each of our courses. 

In the afternoon, the Department will be holding information sessions for all of our MPhil and PhD courses. Details of these sessions are below -

Location: West Road Concert Hall

2pm: PhD in Politics and International Studies, Professor Brendan Simms

2.20pm: MPhil in International Relations and Politics, Dr Pieter van Houten

2.40pm: MPhil in Public Policy, Dr Finbarr Livesey

2.55pm: MPhil and PhD in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies, Dr Lauren Wilcox

3.15pm: MSt in International Relations, Dr Julie Smith


3.30pm: MPhil and PhD in Latin American Studies, Dr Joanna Page

3.40pm: MPhil and PhD in Development Studies, Dr Graham Denyer Willis and Dr Ha-Joon Chang

4.00pm: MPhil in African Studies, Dr Adam Branch

4.15pm: MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies, Professor David Washbrook



If you would like to attend the University of Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day, you can book here.

The University of Cambridge Postgraduate Open day is open to current undergraduate students or graduates who are seeking to enter into postgraduate study at Masters or PhD level. Due to limited places it is essential that you book via the link above and bring your ticket with you on the day. You are welcome to bring a parent or supporter with you. Please register them for the specific parent/supporter ticket at the link above. Access to hubs, facilities and Colleges will be restricted to ticket holders only.

If you have any queries about the main part of the day, please do get in touch with

If you have any queries about the Department's sessions, please email 


Dr Josip Glaurdic wins 1.5 million ERC Starting Grant

last modified Sep 02, 2016 11:38 AM
Dr Josip Glaurdic wins 1.5 million ERC Starting Grant

Dr Josip Glaurdic

Congratulations to Dr. Josip Glaurdic for being awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant of 1.5 million Euros from among the nearly 3000 applicants in the 2016 call.

ERC Starting Grants are designed to encourage young talented research leaders to gain independence in Europe and to build their own careers. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. The grant will fund Dr. Glaurdic’s latest project titled "Electoral Legacies of War: Political Competition in Postwar Southeast Europe”.

Dr Glaurdic is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow and a fellow of Clare College. He received his PhD in political science from Yale University, and his work is primarily concerned with the European Union, its role in international relations and its policies in South-eastern Europe.

Lisa Smirl Prize awarded to PhD Alasia Nuti

last modified Aug 03, 2016 10:29 AM

Congratulations to Alasia Nuti, who has been selected as the 2016 winner of the Lisa Smirl Prize for her fantastic work towards her PhD and thesis, "Historical structural injustice: on the normative significance of the unjust"

"This is an excellent thesis that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It is ambitious in its objectives... it is a beautifully presented piece of work and written with an impressive command of language." - Internal Examiner, Dr Jude Browne

Alasia became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Frankfurt upon completion of her PhD programme here at POLIS, and is now currently a lecturer in Political Theory at the University of York.

The Prize is named in memory of Lisa Smirl, who gained her PhD in the Department in 2010 but who sadly died of cancer in February 2013. A full list of winners since the creation of the prize can be found here.

Thanks and farewell

last modified Jul 24, 2017 10:05 AM

As we reach the very end of the 2015/2016 academic year, we have some people to thank for their input to the Department over the past year and, in some cases, for a lot longer.

IMG 2733   Copy

Professor Christopher Hill, Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations

Professor Hill joined the University in 2004, first as Director of the Centre for International Studies (CIS). He later became Head of Department of the newly merged POLIS, serving between 2012 and 2014. In his final year Chris has taught the large Part I International Relations paper, an MPhil course on Foreign Policy Analysis and has carried an heroic administrative load as one of the senior members of the Department.

Professor Hill gave his valedictory lecture in May 2016: ‘What’s left of the international?’ He retires on 30th September 2016 but we hope to see him around the Department for many years to come.


Professor David Howarth’s secondment as Director of the MPhil in Public Policy (MPP) comes to an end this year and he returns to the Department of Land Economy to enjoy a year’s sabbatical. Prof Howarth created and oversaw the first three years of the MPP in POLIS.

Dr Nikitas Konstantinidis leaves us after three years as a temporary lecturer to take up a tenure-track post in Spain. 

Dr Lior Erez departs for Italy after two years as a Teaching Associate in POLIS, giving numerous supervisions to undergraduates taking the second-year international relations paper.

Dr Payam Ghalehdar has spent the past year teaching US Foreign Policy: History and Theory to our MPhil students and is returning to life as a postdoc in Germany.

Dr Julian Huppert’s secondment to the Department has also come to an end and he returns to the Department of Physics. Dr Huppert has just been re-selected by the Liberal Democrats to stand for election as MP for Cambridge in the next election.

Dr Nazia Mintz Habib has been lecturing on the MPP over the past two years as well as undertaking research on development and policy.

We also say goodbye to two Leverhulme Early Career Fellows, Dr Alexander Anievas and Dr Josip Glaurdic.

We wish all our colleagues well as they move on from POLIS: thank you for everything and all the best for the future.

Dr Lauren Wilcox awarded International Studies Association, Theory Section's Best Book Award for 2016

last modified Jul 15, 2016 12:49 PM

Congratulations to Dr Lauren Wilcox, Deputy Director of UCCGS, for winning the International Studies Association Theory Section's Best Book Award for 2016 at the recent ISA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.  Dr Wilcox's recent book, Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations, engages with feminist and queer theory to provide a re-reading of several contemporary modes of political violence and its management, which aims at moving from bodies being an 'absent presence' in studies of war and security (such as torture, force-feeding, suicide bombing, drones and more) to considering a political analysis of bodies and embodiment as both shaped by, and productive of, practices of violence.

POLIS Undergraduate Prize Winners Announced

last modified Jul 01, 2016 03:34 PM

Our undergraduates have now completed their end of year assessments and prizes have been duly awarded.

The John Dunn Prize for the best dissertation by a final year student has been awarded to Eleni Courea (King’s College), whose dissertation “Society, government and political obligation: The role of war in the political thought of David Hume and Adam Ferguson” was the stand-out work submitted this year. In the dissertation, Eleni showed the different ways in which Hume and Ferguson up-ended Hobbesian premises about the role of war in the formation of society.

For the first time, the Schmidt Prize, for the best long essay by a second year student, has been jointly awarded to two students: Addye Susnick (Newnham College) and James Riseley (Trinity College). Addye wrote on whether can be local solutions to environmental problems, drawing upon her earlier work on water scarcity in Peru. James wrote on why relational inequalities matter more than luck inequalities. Our prize panel considered both to be excellent pieces of work, and were unable to decide between them. Therefore it was decided to award both students the prize.

The Geoffrey Hawthorn Prize for the highest average in papers POL1 and POL2 is awarded to Alex Paturel (Jesus College).

Congratulations to Eleni, Addye, James and Alex, and to all undergraduate students on their hard work this year.

POLIS graduate Nivi Manchanda wins 2015 Salje Medal

last modified Jun 27, 2016 02:13 PM

Congratulations to POLIS graduate Nivi Manchanda, who has been awarded the 2015 Salje Medal for the best PhD dissertation in the Arts and Social Sciences by a student at Clare Hall, Cambridge. Her dissertation was on “Imagining Afghanistan: The History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge Production.” Dr Manchanda is now an Assistant Professor of International Studies at Leiden University.

ARB Green Team achieves Gold award

last modified Jun 07, 2016 01:36 PM

On 2nd June, the Alison Richard Building Green Team was presented with the NUS Green Impact Gold Award, in recognition of the work it has done to make the building and the departments working within it more environmentally sustainable. To achieve an award, teams must provide evidence of changes to policy, procedures and attitudes within the department or College. The ARB Green Team was one of only 16 teams to attain Gold. Some of the ARB achievements include installing PIR lights to save electricity, improving biodiversity by putting up a nestbox, monitoring duplex printing and encouraging greener travel with our Sports Relief bike challenge. POLIS was also recognised for a Special Award, as joint Runner-Up in the Environmental Improvement Award category for creating a new online admissions database, saving 6 000 sheets of paper each year. For more information on the Green Team, click here.

POLIS PhD student wins Bill Gates Sr Prize

last modified May 20, 2016 10:41 AM

POLIS is delighted to announce that Njoki Wamai, who is studying for a PhD in Politics and International Studies, is one of two Cambridge Gates Scholars who have been awarded the Bill Gates Sr Award in recognition of their outstanding research and social leadership.

Njoki was recognised for both her research and her work in promoting greater diversity in Cambridge. She is the founding president of the Cambridge East African Society (CamEAS), co-founder of the African Society of Cambridge University (ASCU) and the Black Cantabs project which aims to curate the achievements of black Cambridge alumni. Her PhD research on the politics of justice during the transitional period in Kenyan politics after the 2007-8 post election violence has identified her as one of the next generation of leading scholars in the field of peace and security in Africa.

The Bill Gates Sr Prize was established by the Gates Cambridge Trustees in June 2012, to enable Scholars to nominate a fellow Scholar in recognition of their impact and contribution to their peers whilst in residence in Cambridge.

Further detail about the award can be found here

POLIS Academic Poster Competition

last modified Apr 29, 2016 01:47 PM

We are delighted to announce the 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.

Dates for your diaries

  • 10th June - Deadline for the initial submission of your first draft. 
  • 10th July - Feedback from POLIS academic judging team will be given to all entrants. This feedback can be used to improve the poster before the final deadline, or before you take it to conference with you. 
  • 10th September - Deadline for final poster submission.
  • October - Induction Day. The top posters (chosen by the panel of judges) will be printed and displayed in the Alison Richard Building. PhD students, postdocs and academics will be invited to vote for the overall winner who will receive a prize of £100. 

The competition is open to all POLIS PhD students and the winning poster will win a prize of £100.

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

For more information, please contact