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History Personal Statement Example 64
History runs as a consistent undercurrent to my studies and life: whether considering the effects of Rome's conquests on the development of language and culture in Spanish or analysing the context of an anxious Victorian society poised on the turn of the century in English Literature.
While my interest in History has evolved from a childhood obsession with 'histories' of gory deaths and eccentric rulers, such as Caligula, my devotion to the subject that has allowed me to explore varying schools of thought and complex historical debate has been carried through to my higher education and further reading.
Reading Carr's 'What is History?' influenced me to explore the role of the individual in History. This debate resonated with me while reading Jessie Childs' 'God's Traitors'. While Childs doesn't quite present an individualist approach to terror and faith in Elizabethan England, her almost biographical account on the Vaux family did leave something to be desired; that being the wider critical analysis of causes and events on terror and faith in England, therefore I found my views closely aligned with the argument that Carr had set out on the individual's role.
Despite this, I still found it interesting to explore the contrasting 'Great Man' theory, in which Carlyle envisioned History as the decisive acts of heroes. This theory bears some relevance in the study of History - for example, to a relative extent, Hitler did play an individual role in the outbreak of the Second World War -however, this role of the individual is almost glorified, while often more significant factors such as economic and environmental are wholly overlooked.
This theory also sees all man's achievements lie to the few, a limiting view that lends itself to History solely being the acts of the white, upper-class man.
After reading 'Re-Thinking History' by Keith Jenkins, I began to reflect on the History that I have mainly been taught in my academic career thus far, and who it belonged to. Unsurprisingly, an education system that is made to prioritise British History has presented similar limitations to that of the 'Great Man theory'; in that it mainly lends itself to the exploration of the History of the 'winners', as this often finds itself being the upper-class British man when exploring this area of history.
This further fuelled my desire to explore histories beyond what I have previously been able to, notably the rise of Islam in the Middle East, and Latin America, at a higher level of education in order to be able to learn from the leading experts that are writing the History on these topics. I also look forward to being able to further explore the philosophy of History and challenging the views that I currently hold on this subject.
Beyond my studies, I am in the process of completing my Gold DofE award. The great physical challenge of the expedition meant that I had to rely on my own perseverance greatly, developing my skills in self-motivation. The award also helped me organise my time more effectively, as I have had to manage each section and research into my chosen project of the expedition, ‘The History and Mythology of Snowdonia’, independently - whilst also working towards my studies.
I have also completed a Law Summer School at the University of Warwick, as this is a career that I wish to pursue. This debate heavy week rapidly developed my ability to think on the spot, as well as my ability to quickly form counter-arguments in defence, especially when presented with a different scenario or evidence. I seek to implement these skills at a higher level of education, as well as further develop skills through the study of History, such as critical analysis, in order to take this into a legal career.
I would treasure the opportunity to further devote myself to the study of a demanding academic discipline that allows me to intellectually challenge myself, whilst simultaneously exploring fascinating 'histories' of the past.
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