Mar 6 2013

Featured Alumni: Dr Joe Hoover (MSc Philosophy, Value and Social Policy, 2006 and PhD International Relations, 2011)

Joe Hoover
MSc Philosophy, Value and Social Policy (2006) and PhD International Relations (2011)

Dr Hoover is currently Lecturer in International Politics at City University, London. 

Dr Joe Hoover

Dr Joe Hoover

I have been part of the LSE community for more than seven years, first coming to the school as an MSc student in 2005, when I studied Philosophy – though I took classes taught by Prof Chris Brown and Dr Kirsten Ainley. The Department of International Relations, however, has been my intellectual home since 2007 when I began my PhD studies. After defending my dissertation in 2011 I continued in the department until the end of 2012 as a Fellow. After so long it is difficult to gauge just how important my time there has been.

Looking back on my time in the department I am struck most by the sense of community I found there among PhD students, faculty and the BSc and MSc students who I taught. Many of the alumni writing here have mentioned the diversity of LSE and it is certainly very real. Having spent many years in the department, however, what stands out more strongly is the support and opportunities I found there. My fellow PhD students have become close friends, as have the faculty members who once seemed very intimidating – and even the students I taught have often become friends who I stay in touch with regularly. This community made the demanding process of completing a PhD not only bearable but also more often than not joyful. Also, the people in the department open up the world to each other, sometimes in the simple way of assisting in getting that much needed scholarship or job but more profoundly by confronting each other with new ideas and sharing their wide experience.

I can say without hesitation that I would not be the scholar I am today (nor the person I am) without the influence of my time the department – and that influence has been wholly positive. The Department of International Relations is a dynamic and open environment in which to do a degree, especially a PhD, as the range of scholars working there is diverse and the intellectual environment supportive and critical. My work on ethical theories of human rights was sharpened by the critical insights of faculty like Professor Kimberly Hutchings and Dr Kirsten Ainely, and I found myself pushed to connect my philosophical reflections to both the conduct of social science and matters relevant to everyday world politics, especially by Dr George Lawson and other LSE alums such as Dr Paul Kirby (Sussex) and Dr Meera Sabaratnam (Cambridge).

In particular, I found the International Theory research seminar to be paragon of academic engagement and the discussions I participated in during those many Monday evenings have been vital. As I begin an academic career as a lecturer and take responsibility for running an MA programme in International Politics and Human Rights, I find that my training at LSE has prepared me exceptionally well and my time has been well spent. I hope to bring the same sense of open and critical intellectual engagement to my new home – in the Department of International Politics at City University London – and will be lucky to find the same supportive sense of community.

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