Alum Christopher Larkin

Christopher graduated from SUA with a concentration in International Studies in 2013. He currently works for the British Government.

Larkin Small

How did International Studies prepare you for life after SUA?
The suite of classes I took within the International Studies concentration prepared me to study in a master’s programme in political economy at the London School of Economics. The emphasis on classroom debates at SUA and the level of interaction between professors and students was a massive benefit.  I then started work for a government unit (now a part-mutualised social purpose company) in London. My work brings me into contact with senior policy makers and political figures on a regular basis. My day to day involves running evaluations and generating evidence of policy innovations within the British government, and advising on policy development.

What are some of your best memories and lessons from INTS classes?
Comparative Social and Political Systems:This class gave a broad overview of the essential theories and empirics in political science. While the survey of the literature was wide, going deep on one country permitted the application of theory to a real-world case, facilitating a more grounded appreciation of the concepts and their relevance to debates around power sharing and regime transition.

Democracy and Democratization: Democracy means something different to anyone who’s asked. It is at once a theory, a regime, a system of institutions, a set of laws, a buzz word, an abstract concept, and a concrete reality. Studying the history of this concept, its myriad interpretations and manifestations, was, I believe, exactly in accord with the purpose of academic study; to understand the richness of ideas, the nuance behind a concept, and the at times conflicting epistemologies they’re based on. The classroom debates we had were an essential start in my journey to arrive at my own understanding of democracy. If you’re interested (which you don’t have to be), I think it comes down to a pressure valve that acts through the principle of freedom of speech to facilitate the peaceful coexistence of fundamentally opposed opinions / groups within a given society. Of course, you’re very welcome to disagree with me – that’s democracy after all!

Do you have any advice for current INTS concentrators?
Study methods, but don’t neglect theory – you need both to grapple with the big questions. Keep your notes, even if you only read them once again.
Read widely.

 

Posted Fall 2016

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