History and International Relations Personal Statement
Submitted by Katie
I am fascinated by the way the international political system often fails to recognise the way in which historical influence provides an indispensible perspective on the present. My A-level studies have enlightened me on how political, social and economic historical events are intrinsically linked with the development of modern day nations. I hope that the interdisciplinary nature of the course will shape my thinking so that I can better understand society’s relationship with the past and how it is shaping current and future events and policies.
Through studying American history as part of my A level course, I have been able to see the arguments of the current debate of gun laws in the United States in a different light. The Second Amendment of the American Constitution enshrines the American right to bear arms as an acknowledgment of a divine individual right. The Constitution is often used a source to oppose gun laws as many believe their right to bear arms is preserved in their revolutionary history. Moreover, I am particularly interested in the way in which historians, in their writings, have such an impact on the way we perceive and remember historical events to fit a certain political agenda. Paul Revere’s “Midnight Ride” is a classic example of this, with his cry ‘The British are coming’ being a major misquote attributed to him.
With the Brexit campaign of 2016, we will further see the impact of the past on our present and future relationship on an international level. This is seen in the way in which we strive to maintain the economic benefits of the European Economic Community, while reducing its laws and migration rates in Britain. It is yet to be seen how this national decision will have an impact on international law, economic prosperity and cross-cultural communication internationally. An interest in Psychology has framed my thoughts upon the current divided in Britain regarding Brexit. Through the theories of social psychology I have gained knowledge of the ‘out-group’ mentality of some British citizens regarding the migration issue in the UK. This has further influenced my decision to want to study the combination of subjects at university, as I am curious of the anthropologic effects regarding human behaviour both socially and culturally.
Alongside History, studying English at A-level has enabled me to broaden my analytical skills and consideration of context. Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures. Through my exploration of authors of the genre, I have developed an appreciation for the way in which writers express their concern of social and political issues. Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, uses historical events to create Gilead, an authoritarian, theocratic regime that oppresses women. Atwood’s dystopian tale reflects many political and social issues that suppress people in society today. Likewise Psychology has aided in my consideration of the viewpoints of various peoples and societies, ultimately translated in their own history. The combination of these subjects has, therefore, widened my interest in history and its relationship with the real world.
I enjoy overcoming challenges, such as my Gold DofE, which encouraged me to push myself while working as apart of a team to achieve goals. My grade 8 in singing demonstrates my determination and commitment. I was chosen to represent our school at the European Youth Parliament, allowing me to debate and enhance my knowledge of political issues. As History Prefect I have worked with younger students to develop their historical knowledge, while widening my own.
The role of history in society is diverse and most importantly, inherently linked with politics and international relations, as history influences the human mind and social norms. Thus, through further study I hope to develop a greater understanding of critical theory as well as gaining further knowledge in a subject I love with the aid of experts in the field.