Brett Rosenberg '12
Position: Rhodes Scholar
Thesis Title: “Prospect for America: Nelson Rockefeller, The Special Studies Project, and the Search for America’s Best and Brightest” Awarded the Hoopes Prize
As a brand new graduate of Harvard’s class of 2012, I’m still figuring out what my future career will be, but I know that my experience as a history concentrator will play a role. Right now, I am pursuing a masters degree in international relations at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. While I have switched fields, history has prepared me well for the task. I find myself constantly thinking like a historian, a habit that has been invaluable in helping me to view international relations theory through a lens which appreciates change and development as important aspects of the ideas we are presented with today. As an undergraduate, I wrote my senior thesis on a Cold War study designed to propose national goals for the U.S. in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In my current degree, I am looking to build on that political and intellectual history background to meld my history and IR disciplines in examining the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in its international Cold War context.
But even if I had chosen physics or English or macramé weaving as a new field, fields which lend themselves less logically to easy partnerships with history, the History Department would have been excellent preparation, for it was there that I learned how to read well, how to write well, and how to think well. I consider myself extremely lucky that I landed in a department with such a wide range of intimate seminars, passionate teachers, and incredible students. It was there that I learned that history is not simply broad swathe of everything that happened in the past, but rather the ways that we as historians analyze and assemble the past into coherent (hopefully) narratives and stories. That appreciation, that ability--or, in many of our novice cases, aspiration--to create understanding where there was none before is one that I will treasure no matter where I end up.