Martina Zago | Student | Profiles
Martina Zago

 Martina Zago

Research topic:
International Law; Aesthetics; International Relations; Colonialism; Environmental Law
Degree course:

Research Themes:
Human rights Environment and Climate Change International relations Law and International law 

Academic Profile

I am currently studying for my MPhil in International Relations at Oxford University as a Ermenegildo Zegna and De Breyne Scholar. I am also a recent graduate from the Politics, Philosophy and Economics program at LUISS University in Rome and a professionally-trained concert pianist.  Since 2011, my independent research has focused on the power of beauty - the beauty of art and culture but also of the natural richness of our Earth - in international relations.

My two-year research project at Oxford examines the relationship between aesthetics and politics. More specifically, my thesis highlights the importance of culture as a neglected but important dimension of how the language of civilization operated as a mechanism of exclusion in international society from the late 18th to the early 20th-century. Moving across geographical landscapes and painted surfaces the research identifies six discourses — ‘Danger,’ ‘Paradise,’ ‘Inheritance,’ ‘Violence,’ ‘Sensuality,’ and ‘Subservience’  — and demonstrates how they supported the legal architecture of the standard of civilization and operated as the ultimate source of exclusion of non-European countries.
At LUISS University, my dissertation analyzed China's foreign policy toward African elephants by contextualizing the illegal ivory trade within broader normative changes in relation to international wildlife trafficking. During my stay at Victoria University in New Zealand ( July 2014-November 2014) I also researched on the potential impact of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing on the self-determination of indigenous people and local communities.