Current Position: Rhodes Scholar, University of Oxford
Past: Yale Parker Huang Fellowship
Education: Yale University
Hannah Carrese attended the 2014 Hertog Political Studies Program. She is now attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Previously, she studied refugee and migration policy with the support of the Yale Parker Huang Fellowship. For those interested in Hannah’s work on migration, you can follow her blog here.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
While at Yale, Professors Norma Thompson and Steven Smith in the Humanities Program recommended me for Political Studies. They suggested that it would be a way to supplement my study of the Great Books and to think more deeply about political conversations—all in DC, which is an exciting place to think about those things. And then it just became obvious that this was what I should do with my summer.
DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC POLICY?
Of course! I’m going to do an MPhil in Politics at Oxford, with a focus on refugees, migration, and the political theories that underpin our ideas of human rights and state order. The degree isn’t directly related to what I studied at Hertog, but all that I studied at Hertog is implicit in it.
These crucial crises of our time have to be solved by people who have an understanding of the ideas that came before us and the theories that underpin our own thought. T. S. Eliot talks about knowing the canon before you can change it, and it’s the same idea with politics. To know the canon in the way that Hertog taught us and then inspired us to do at our own universities is a great gift for people who want to go into public policy and public service.
WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
The Gettysburg staff ride was really memorable. By the time we got to the field where Pickett’s Charge happened, it was pouring rain. We were running across this muddy battlefield, and it felt like we were really examining the relationship between the American history we learned about when we were younger and the great ideas we were discussing at Hertog. Pickett’s Charge was enmeshed in a broader discussion about strategy: It’s about Lee’s moral vision of the war and Lincoln’s language of the war.
After we came back from Gettysburg, a group of us ran down to the Lincoln Memorial and just sat there for a bit. It felt wonderful to be there in that city reading those books, feeling the presence of those figures. That’s what Hertog does best: They bring these texts, ideas, and events alive. All this was evident throughout the Program, but especially on that day.
OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
The intellectual community at Hertog is really special. There’s this sense that everybody’s done the reading, so when we go into discussion, there’s an ability to focus on what’s really being said. It’s sometimes rare to get an unfiltered look at a great book or a great person.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
My current plan after Oxford is to return to the United States and attend law school to study asylum law, problems of refugee movement, and general migration. Then I want to use the theoretical training I’ll gain from Oxford and the legal training I’ll have as well to make policy on these issues.
I think matters of migration touch aspects of our politics that go beyond humanitarian factors. Refugees flee political crises, and we have to solve the conflicts that they flee through political means. The first step is to understand refugee crises as inherently political, and that’s what I want to work towards.