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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

GraSPPers Voice GraSPPers Voice

Ideas and their History Really Matter

Prof. Roberto Orsi (from Italy) 特任准教授

Since my childhood I have always been interested in history, the people and the ideas which informed it. This is perhaps not surprising, considering that I was born in a small town in Italy which, as almost all Italian towns and cities, is full of centuries-old buildings and works of art. However, after high school I decided to study law. While still finishing law school at the University of Turin, I realised that I wanted to travel more, and to live abroad at least for a while. So I started to learn German, and after graduation, I moved to Hamburg to work at an international law firm. It was in many ways a wonderful experience, and I still keep extremely positive memories of my time in the hanseatic metropole. Soon I realised though that the profession of the lawyer was not really a good match for me. So I decided to have a career switch and moved to London to study International Relations, eventually authoring a PhD thesis at the London School of Economics with Professor Kimberly Hutchings about the concept of order in international political theory.

Thank to numerous Japanese friends and acquaintances I met while in Germany and Britain, I developed an interest in Japan, so that, after my PhD, I started to look for a position in this country. That is how I got my first job at the University of Tokyo in 2013. Since then I have been working on different tasks and programmes, enjoining a truly exciting professional as well as personal experience, which I wish I can continue in the future.

At GraSPP I found an extraordinary environment of very kind colleagues and administrative staff, who make work not only easier, but pleasant. I have accumulated about a decade of teaching experience at both LSE and UTokyo, always spending a very positive time with the students, and that is why I love this job. My hope is that I can contribute to the broadening of their cultural horizon and their ability for critical thought, by illustrating the complex historical paths which lead to the formulation and rise of the concepts as well as of the ideologies which inform the current world political landscape. Thinking outside of the box is important to find innovative solutions, or also simply in order to explore the question of whether one may be treading the wrong path, even if the majority of people around us is sure of the contrary. Understanding the history of ideas is, I believe, a privileged alley to understand where we stand and what choices may be in front of us. Ideas, without which we would have no orientation in the world and consequently no chance of meaningful action, are shaping individual lives and collectivities. Even more, they provide meaning to our existence, to our relationships, and to our work.