Princeton College senior Sam Harshbarger has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for graduate examine on the College of Oxford.
Harshbarger is amongst 32 U.S. recipients of the distinguished fellowships, which fund two to a few years of graduate examine at Oxford. In a press release, Ramona I. Doyle, American Secretary of the Rhodes Belief, stated of this yr’s Rhodes Students representing the US, “They encourage us already with their accomplishments, however much more by their values-based management and selfless ambitions to enhance their communities and the world.”
Rhodes Students are chosen from greater than 70 international locations. Particular person international locations announce their recipients on completely different schedules.
Harshbarger, of Cranbury, New Jersey, is concentrating in historical past and can also be pursuing three minors: in historical past and the apply of diplomacy; Close to Japanese research; and Russian, East European and Eurasian research. At Oxford, he’ll pursue an MPhil in historical past. He’ll start his research there in October.
He’s a member of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, a bunch of juniors and seniors dedicated to humanistic inquiry. He’s additionally a pupil fellow of the Heart for Worldwide Safety Research and an undergraduate fellow of the James Madison Program in American Beliefs and Establishments.
Harshbarger is fluent in Spanish and Turkish, with superior proficiency in Azerbaijani and Russian. He stated his senior thesis — tentatively titled “Between Chilly Conflict and Decolonization: Turkey and Submit-Colonial Afro-Asia, 1951-1960” — analyzes Turkey’s participation within the Bandung Convention of 1955 and its relationship with North African anti-colonial nationalists. He’s the recipient of the Lawrence Stone and Shelby Cullom Davis Thesis Prize Fellowhip.
“Sam is a once-in-a-generation educational expertise,” stated Natasha Wheatley, assistant professor of historical past, who met Harshbarger when he took her “Historical past of Worldwide Order” course in spring 2021. “His distinctive educational work is fueled by a boundless curiosity, an expansive humanist ethos and deep ethical engagement within the up to date world.”
Wheatley served as Harshbarger’s thesis adviser over this previous summer season till she went on maternity depart this fall. Michael Laffan, the Paula Chow Professor in Worldwide and Regional Research and professor of historical past, is his present adviser.
“Studying Sam’s work, one usually forgets that one is studying a pupil — not to mention an undergraduate pupil,” Wheatley stated. “Certainly, Sam has been doing graduate stage work for fairly a while. His multilingualism corresponds to a profoundly cosmopolitan outlook: to a extremely uncommon diploma, Sam can actually see the world from many various views.”
Whereas collaborating in trade applications in Russia in highschool, Harshbarger turned fascinated about Turkey due to its hyperlink to the previous Soviet Union throughout the Black Sea and to the Center East to its south. Earlier than beginning at Princeton, he took a spot yr as a coverage fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based Syrian Emergency Activity Pressure (SETF), working a part of that point from Turkey with SETF’s cross-border humanitarian help to communities in northwestern Syria.
When Harshbarger started his Princeton research in fall 2020, lessons on the College have been nonetheless distant as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. He purchased a one-way ticket again to Istanbul — not realizing when he would return to Princeton. There, his days started at 8 a.m. with a three-hour group Turkish language class, adopted by afternoons persevering with his work with SETF as director for Congressional technique — and, due to the time distinction, Princeton lessons and coursework within the night till the early hours of the morning.
In his private assertion for his Rhodes software, he wrote that his curiosity in how geopolitics, historical past and journalism intersect was sparked when the Azerbaijani Military superior into the Armenian-held area of Nagorno-Karabakh on Sept. 27 that fall. “I resolved then to review historical past with a watch in direction of unraveling the nationalism and historic reminiscence that lay behind this violence,” he wrote.
One of many lessons Harshbarger took that fall from Istanbul was a survey course on the historical past and cultures of the Caucasus taught by Michael Reynolds, affiliate professor of Close to Japanese Research and co-director of the Program within the Historical past and Follow of Diplomacy, who was additionally instructing remotely from Istanbul.
“Though only a first-year pupil, Sam tackled the assignments like a graduate pupil, studying with the intent not simply of assimilating unfamiliar info however to uncover the logics shaping the authors’ narratives,” stated Reynolds, who was Harshbarger’s adviser on his junior paper.
“Sam combines a first-rank mind with a real zeal for exploring and understanding the societies and cultures of larger Eurasia and the Center East,” Reynolds stated. “He’s a quiet however pushed, energetic, impartial and entrepreneurial younger man who will depart a mark on the world.”
Harshbarger stayed in Turkey by spring semester that first yr. Whereas making an audio characteristic on the politics of Syrian refugees in Turkey for a course within the Humanities Council’s Program in Journalism, taught by NPR’s then-Athens correspondent Joanna Kakissis, he started to contemplate a profession in journalism and assume tank analysis.
All through his time at Princeton, Harshbarger returned to Istanbul each summer season and winter break as his house base for analysis within the area. On campus, he has utilized his insights from these experiences as a world coverage affiliate with Princeton’s Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Willpower.
He acquired the Shapiro Prize for Tutorial Excellence in Sept. 2022. He’s a member of Forbes Faculty.
Outdoors of his educational work, he’s a researcher targeted on Turkish overseas coverage with the Overseas Coverage Analysis Institute, a Philadelphia-based assume tank. He has additionally labored as a world affairs analysis analyst with Bechtel, a world development and engineering agency; a analysis assistant with New Strains Institute for Technique and Coverage, a assume tank in Washington, D.C.; and the Evergreen Technique Group in Washington, D.C.
Harshbarger was in New York Metropolis when he acquired the information of his Rhodes Scholarship. After three years through which the American Rhodes Students have been elected totally nearly, interviews with candidates happened in individual this yr.
Upon studying he had gained, Harshbarger stated: “I used to be in a state of disbelief. I known as my household as quickly as I received the possibility.”
About going to Oxford, he stated: “I am so excited to satisfy my classmates and be taught from world-class school, comparable to Professor Zbig Wojnowski, who focuses on the historical past of Ukraine, Russia and Central Asia.”
After his Rhodes research, Harshbarger intends to return to Istanbul to pursue a profession targeted on the transnational politics of battle throughout Eurasia, both as a journalist or with a assume tank.