Annalise Higgins (2016)
As a historian, I thrive on imagining the past and asking the question ‘why?’. Growing up in New Zealand surrounded by many stunning landscapes, I have developed a strong interest in how people think about the natural world. These interests were inspired and refined by the opportunity to complete a BA in History and Psychology, and a BA(Hons) and MA in History, at the University of Auckland. At Cambridge University, I will be researching intersections between the environment and diplomacy, with a particular focus on interoceanic canals. I am interested in treating international diplomatic treaties as texts which must be considered within their environmental contexts, rather than being mentally sequestered within the confines of diplomatic meeting halls. My previous research has focussed on public perceptions of international diplomacy, notably neutrality and the 1899 Hague Peace Conference, in the late nineteenth century. I have become fascinated by the challenge of trying to understand how people have grappled with ideas about their world and how it functions. Environmental challenges are particularly salient in the present, and I believe that an integral part of working towards international cooperation in addressing environmental challenges is developing historical understanding of how the inherently international challenges presented by the environment have been confronted in diplomatic contexts.