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POLIS Undergraduate Prize Winners Speak

last modified Aug 17, 2018 11:13 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 John Dunn Prize is awarded each year to the Part IIB student who submits the best dissertation. This year Annabel Mahgerefteh and her dissertation "Women and the Iranian Revolution"  and Alexandre Paturel and his dissertation "Science, sexuality and the state: Alfred Kinsey and American religious conservative politics" was selected as the most worthy winners. Here are their comments about their work:

Annabel: "Writing a dissertation brought with it many opportunities to deepen my relationship with the course and explore the subjects I love. Within the multiple HSPS subjects since first year, I found myself asking questions about the collaboration of seemingly contradictory forces in the Iranian Revolution and the complex development of the new female subject. Hence, the experience enabled me to delve into these issues, analysing it through a Foucauldian discursive framework, enriched by the support and expertise of my supervisor. I really enjoyed the experience of studying a single topic over a longer period, and would thoroughly recommend it."

Alexandre: "Working through my dissertation’s argument was very enriching. Focusing on the sexual illiberalism of the American political right, I was lucky to be able to combine my own political concerns with such an important part of my degree. Moreover, with the privilege of being supervised at such a high level, I found that the process of (re)writing the dissertation also taught me how to make and frame political arguments more generally."

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 economic sanctions an effective way to make states comply with international rules?’ written by Axel Larsson to be the best POL5 essay in the crop.

Axel Larsson writes: "My essay builds the argument that economic sanctions are more effective than what is often argued by bringing attention to sanctions' indirect and third-party effects. It also makes the case that there is a selection bias in the data used in several studies leading to an underestimation of the effectiveness of economic sanctions. At first, I found POL5 rather challenging as the way to tackle the essay questions is rather different from the shorter essays one writes on a weekly basis in other papers. Ultimately, however, the experience of working more independently, with a broad question for a longer time frame was truly rewarding. I especially recommend POL5 for anyone wanting to write a dissertation as -at least I- learned many valuable things of writing a longer essay along the way."


Congratulations to Annabel, Alex and Axel, and to all undergraduate students on their hard work this year.