Martina Zago

Martina Zago's headshot
 
Standards of civilization. art, law, and empire 1798-1945
 
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I grew up in a small town in the countryside of Northern Italy. I always had an intense desire, which kept growing stronger, to see and know more about the world. By the time I turned nineteen, I had graduated from a 10-year Diploma di Conservatorio in Piano and started a Master in Piano Performance with the famous concert pianist Joaquín Achúcarro. I left a career as a professional musician behind and decided that I wanted to understand what kind of place there was for beauty in the world. I first started exploring this question within the discipline of international relations, in Italy and then in the United Kingdom, but ended up working mainly in the history of political thought, which is my primary interest here at UBC.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I really wanted to pursue my doctoral studies in Canada, where my Dad was born. I applied to UBC specifically because of the work of Professor Barbara Arneil. I had encountered her writings during my master’s degree and read her pathbreaking books on the history of liberalism and empire.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

UBC is an ideal place for studying the history of political thought and critical theory more generally, including postcolonialism and continental political philosophy. In my research I incorporate insights from all these traditions, so the diverse strengths of the faculty really appealed.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Probably the best surprise has been Vancouver’s playfulness and laid-back attitude.

UBC is an ideal place for studying the history of political thought and critical theory more generally, including postcolonialism and continental political philosophy.
 
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I think that discipline and a love for the musicality of writing are some of my greatest debts after all those years playing the piano. I also owe an incredible amount to my parents and to my partner.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Reading books, listening to music, watching movies. I especially enjoy Italian neorealist movies, Third World Cinema, and could watch a hundred times over and over again all the Studio Ghibli movies.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Work hard because inevitably there are going to be challenges along the way. But above all: do not forget your ideals and be persistent.

 
 
 

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