Whether living with my grandfather in Yemen and Egypt during his

Milla Blagoeva Vidina, 06/14/1983, Department of Politics
Whether living with my grandfather in Yemen and Egypt during his ambassadorial terms
there, organizing with other student activists during the post-communist transition of my
home country Bulgaria, or working with Somali refugees as a constituent advocate for
Senator Paul Wellstone, I have become convinced of the importance of being able to
communicate in different languages. “Multilingualism” constitutes a guiding precept in
my life, both literally, as a linguistic skill, and figuratively, as intellectual receptiveness
to new horizons and different outlooks. In political theory I have discovered my passion
for a single visionary voice, a new professional and intellectual language that I hope to
share with others through a creative dialogue as a scholar of Political Science.
My doctoral curriculum at Princeton’s Graduate Program in Politics will focus on
political theory and, more specifically, on moral and political philosophy, social thought,
and ethics and public policy. I complement this theoretical focus though my parallel
interest in the fields of international relations and international political economy. Within
these subfields of political theory and international relations, my doctoral studies will be
geared toward the exploration of three specific areas:
1) Global justice and ethics of international relations: I am interested in the politics,
historical evolution and philosophy of international human rights regimes, thus
combining relevant aspects of the scholarship of Professors Beitz, Bass, and
Moravcsik. I also see myself benefiting from collaboration with Professors
Muthu and Pitts who are similarly interested in analyzing the problematic of
international justice in global economic and political systems within the dynamics
of global commerce and empires respectively.
2) Global democracy: Professor Beitz’s relevant work on democratic theory and
international relations inspires me, and I hope to be able to pursue my interest in
the democratic legitimacy of transnational governance through potential
collaboration with him. I anticipate my scholarship will also intersect with
Professor’s Slaughter’s work on global democracy and the unique constitution of
global governance through national state networks. I am also interested in the
regional manifestations of contemporary global democracies processes, a project
that might draw on Professors Moravcsik’s and Sigmund’s discussions of
democracy within the European Union and Latin America respectively.
3) The moral underpinnings of social institutions and the construction of political
identities through social morality: I envision potential collaboration with
Professor Macedo, drawing particularly on his work on the role of civic education
in the formation of citizen identities and more broadly, on the role of ethics in
public policy. I also share Professor Pettit’s interdisciplinary interests in
philosophy of the mind, moral psychology, and social theory and hope to enlist
his scholarly support for my own research endeavors on the social and moral
aspects of political agency.
My senior honors project traces the historical evolution of the concept of property, and
examines how the adoption of more egalitarian “alternatives” to the dominant notion of
property, based on sharing and reciprocity, might underwrite reform of the welfare state.
I then explore how the privatization of U. S. welfare might resuscitate such alternative
forms of property relations by delegating resource management to community-based
Milla Blagoeva Vidina, 06/14/1983, Department of Politics
nonprofits. This project employs a mix of qualitative methods such as conceptual
histories, process tracing, the elaboration of causal mechanisms, and anthropological case
I have prepared for a Ph.D. work in my field through a variety of theory-based projects,
ranging from an exploration of twentieth century theories of modern leadership entitled
“Intellectuals in Bureaucratic Power” to a Foucaultian analysis of the structure and role
of knowledge in international policy-making. In addition to purely theoretical analysis, I
have applied theory to empirical problems through: 1) using a Marxian notion of
alienated labor to envision changes in the international labor market that will empower
workers under globalization; and 2) applying a Hobbesian theory of the State to examine
the proper public response to gene therapies.
My future graduate work will additionally benefit from my relevant experience in
research in applied settings where I employed my multilingual skills in German, Russian,
and Bulgarian. I did comparative research on the political and legal systems of selected
developing states in Eastern Europe and the Middle East at the chambers of Judge Paul
Magnuson, Senior Judge Emeritus at the United States District Court of Minnesota and
Chair of the International Judicial Relations Committee of the United States Judicial
Conference. In addition, I wrote a chapter of U.S. AID’s annual progress report for
Bulgaria submitted to the U.S. Department of State, focusing on NGO contributions to
the important Judicial Reform Act in my country. To gather the documentary evidence
for this project, I did archival work on the Parliament’s judicial legislation and conducted
and translated interviews with involved international and domestic parties, including
several state Supreme Court judges from the United States, the Chief Prosecutor of the
Paris City Court and almost the entire panel of Bulgarian Supreme Court judges. I hope
to continue to draw on my multilingual competence in my graduate studies as well.
My future role as a scholar of Political Science will be also complemented by my
enthusiasm for teaching. Two teaching assistantships and leadership of seminar
discussions strengthened my ability to communicate complex ideas. I am also interested
in the process of teaching and have been invited by a Macalester professor of Political
Science to co-author an article on pedagogy and international studies. During a summer
program of student-faculty collaboration, I worked closely with the professor to develop
curriculum materials included in a unit of a Global Political Economy class (Fall 2004).
This cooperation taught me the concrete steps of planning and preparation that go into
teaching. I also have relevant experience in the dynamics of group learning. I helped
organize workshops and panel discussions during an intensive two-week seminar on EU
law that I attended during my Study Abroad Program at the University of Vienna.
My interest in Princeton’s Graduate Program in Politics stems from its academic
excellence coupled with its unique suitability for political theory and international
relations. I also plan to take advantage of the program’s interdisciplinary resources
through academic involvement with the Program in Political Philosophy, the Program in
Ethics and Public Affairs, the Program in Law and Public Affairs as well as with other
relevant initiatives of the Center for Human Values, and the Institute for Advanced
Milla Blagoeva Vidina, 06/14/1983, Department of Politics
Studies. In addition, given the program’s reputation and the outstanding expertise of its
faculty, I am confident that it will give me the requisite professional excellence for my
future scholarship and will launch me on my career path as a professor. In return, I am
eager to contribute to the program my energy, ambition and intellectual curiosity