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#UrsinusSummer: On Liberalism and Political Philosophy

The best books are ones that spark inquiry and encourage deeper thought. After reading Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick J. Deneen, a book that led to nationwide conversations about the future of liberalism, Dan Becker ’19 was inspired to take on the topic of liberalism for his Summer Fellows research.

Faculty Mentor: Rebecca Evans, Politics and International Relations

She is specifically researching the topic post-Indian independence in 1947 and examining the feminist movement and the political, social and academic development of the nation in both agrarian villages and wealthier cities. 

Backelin-Harrison has been working with Rebecca Evans, an associate professor of politics, on the Summer Fellows project. “I lived in India and had a really good base to go off of learning about the caste system,” she says. “I feel a very close connection to the issue since I saw it happen. Having seen it happen in real life, I can think about it from a more critical, learned point of view instead of just reading about it in a book.” 

When it came to her research, Backelin-Harrison wanted to be clear that not everything she deduces will be true of the entire nation. “I want to emphasize that this is not a generalization of India,” she says. “People often look at this country and make very broad sweeping generalizations about the conditions that women live in or that the conditions that transgender people live in,” Backelin-Harrison explains. “It’s an incredibly diverse country no matter where you go village to village, town to town, and region to region.”

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