Case study

PhD Law — Mateja Koltaj

Mateja did a PhD to help her develop a detailed knowledge of critical international law and make original contributions to the field

Why did you choose this postgraduate course and institution?

The University of Kent, and specifically Kent Law School, is the best environment to conduct this particular Doctoral project. I have grown immensely during my LLM (Master of Laws), both personally and academically, relishing in the school's intellectual stimulation and challenge. This experience will no doubt only grow as I am assuming responsibility for my thesis, under the excellent and professional supervision of esteemed academics in the field. Indeed, my research goals fit well with those of KLS and I cannot think of a more suitable place to pursue a career, carry out my research and teach. To be a part of it and contribute to its achievements is proving to be a true joy and a privilege.

What is the course teaching you that your first degree did not?

The PhD requires organisation, commitment, discipline, self-initiative and independence. Although I have demonstrated these characteristics through my past studies, as well as displaying a great deal of natural curiosity and love of intellectual pursuits, this level of research will no doubt improve and refine these skills and abilities. Together with the subject matter it will provide me with the passion, patience and persistence required to complete this long-term project.

Tell us about the courseā€¦

In addition to the research and completion of my project, it also involves weekly teaching at undergraduate level.

The overall aim of my Doctoral project is to investigate the postcolonial character of the state-centric resistance in the case of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). I developed a strong interest in the phenomenon during my LLM; thus, the Doctoral research will enable me to further my expertise in postcolonial alternatives. In particular, I'm interested in exploring whether NAM is just a symbolic remnant of the past, or still represents a viable critique and a legal-political challenge to the arguably Eurocentric in origin, neo-colonial and neo-imperial contemporary international legal order. The project will produce an assessment of the movement's knowledge construction, identity formation and ideological role, as well as re-examining the relevance of its critique as it has been largely dormant and neglected from existing analyses.

What areas of work could you go into as a result of your further study?

With the help of my critical thinking skills and socio-legal analysis, as well as through my philosophical outlook, the project will serve as a unique opportunity to generate original insight. This will be achieved by advancing or challenging existing knowledge in the field, as well as my own intellectual boundaries. In addition to that, I am certain that this independent research will further improve my range of analytical, research, problem-solving, communication and presentation skills.

As a result, there are various possibilities for future areas of work. I could either follow an academic path and work at a university or in a specialised research centre. Or pursue a professional career, in diplomacy, foreign ministry, non-governmental organisations or politics.

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