Profile picture for user Britt Leake

Britt Leake

PhD Candidate
Personal Statement

My research interests revolve around the interplay between ethnic/religious identities and state institutional design in the Middle East and South Asia. More specifically, I focus on states with long histories of democratic government whose institutional designs represent an attempt to bring about unity in diversity, such as India, Lebanon, Spain, and Canada. Particular questions that I am interested in investigating include the impact of nationalist narratives on institutional design and the use of institutional design to regulate identity cleavages and prevent civil conflict. Other research interests include the effect of politicised religious identities on the development of languages (specifically Arabic and Hindi-Urdu) and Islamic political thought. My dissertation project borrows from John Rawls's concept of public reason to look at the politics of strategic ambiguity in democracies facing deep ethnic and/or religious cleavages. 

I hold a BA/MA in international studies and BAs in Arabic and French from the University of Oklahoma. Additionally, I am the recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru Student Research grant (India, 2020), a State Department Critical Language Scholarship award (Arabic - Amman, Jordan, 2019), and two Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships (Hindi, 2020-21; Urdu, 2021-22) at UC Berkeley.



Primary Subfield
Comparative Politics
South Asia
Middle East/North Africa
Secondary Subfield
International Relations
Political Theory & Philosophy