- Hope Murray
- Atlanta, GA, USA
- MSc in Nationalism Studies
- January 2005
- Doing Now
- PhD in Politics at Edinburgh, specialising in genocidal nationalist movements
Why Nationalism Studies?
Because it’s one of the most interesting global phenomenons the modern world has ever seen! I got interested in nationalist movements as an undergraduate; I minored in German and began to spend a lot of time in Germany. Seeing how the lasting consequences of a nationalist state still effect a modern state made me very interested to learn more about how and why nationalism works so well. Plus, American nationalism, especially with its more recent military decisions, is fascinating to talk to people about.
What are some of your favourite memories of the year in the programme?
Two particularly cool things stand out and both are very different. From a more academic perspective, I really appreciated how much leniency my supervisors gave me in doing my work. They always seemed excited that I was excited by nationalism, so they always really supported me in shaping my project. I was always surprised at how much time and energy they put into me. Secondly, we had a really great group of people my year. We would have weekly nights at the pub and the odd big night out, but the really cool thing was that our student reps set up dinners out for us! They split us up into groups and sent out hand-written formal invites for us and a guest to meet at various (formerly unknown) restaurants around town. It was such a great idea and a cool way to get to meet new people.
What was it like entering the job market with an MSc in Nationalism Studies?
It was great, actually. I felt really prepared, especially in writing and analysis. It was kind of strange to be in interviews and hear things like ‘Yours is exactly the kind of background we look for’. It gave me a lot of options; looking back, I think that Nationalism Studies gives you enough of a specification to be interesting with out being so fixed as to be inflexible and cornered in the job market.
But you decided to return to Edinburgh in 2006 to do a PhD. What was that like?
It was a hard decision to make, actually. Like I said earlier, I was looking at taking a great job in the US; however, after doing the MSc there was just a feeling like I wasn’t quite done. I enjoyed it and my project was so intriguing – I knew there was so much more to be had. Now I’m studying how nationalism progresses in genocidal states and am hoping to go into policy analysis in prevention and intervention when I finish.
What is it like being a student in Edinburgh?
Fab. Even when I have rough days, I get to have rough days in the best, coolest city in the world. Most shops and restaurants have student discounts and, as a post-grad, you usually get the best of both worlds: all the discounts students get without the student reputation! I’ve got the most amazing flat only 10 minutes from uni, there’s always tons to do and people to do it with and it’s so easy to get out of the city for a well-deserved weekend in the highlands or the boarders.