Ex-student awarded University of Sydney Medal for Outstanding Achievement

Ex-student awarded University of Sydney Medal for Outstanding Achievement

Juliette Marchant (’17) has recently been awarded the University of Sydney Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement and the best thesis in Politics and International Relations.

Juliette is studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. She recently completed her honours in Arts, majoring in Government and International Relations.

She has a particular interest in political theory. “Political theory sits at the intersection of philosophy and politics,” explains Juliette. “It is concerned with the study of political ideas and values, such as democracy, justice and power”.

Juliette’s political theory thesis, titled Legalism Without Illusions: A Shklarian Theory of Liberal Legalism, focused on the works of the first female professor of government at Harvard University, Judith Shklar, a powerful, yet underappreciated woman in political thought. Her thesis criticised legalism (strict or excessive adherence to the law) by triangulating the works of Judith Shklar and German constitutional theorist Carl Schmitt.

“Judith Shklar is a great inspiration to me,” enthuses Juliette. “Despite being the first female professor in the Harvard University Government Department, her work is not particularly well known. Nonetheless, I find her interest in the avoidance of cruelty particularly pertinent to our times, and I wish that more people were exposed to her ideas and anti-utopian way of thinking.”

While studying, Juliette has also found time to contribute as one of the 2021 editors of Honi Soit, the University of Sydney newspaper. “It was a unique and enriching opportunity to have creative control over the weekly print editions, and to write articles about ideas and issues that I am passionate about,” says Juliette. “It was also a great privilege to continue the legacy of the paper’s illustrious alumni, including the likes of Germaine Greer, Justice Michael Kirby and The Chaser group.”

Alongside her university studies, Juliette also coaches Debating at her alma mater, Loreto Kirribilli. The 2021 Senior A Debating team described Juliette as “an incredible mentor, teacher, and friend to us all, pushing us always to improve…who taught us more than the fundamentals of debating, but about love of all things nerdy!”

Juliette maintains that the foundations of her thinking were laid during her years at Loreto Kirribilli. “I have always been a passionate reader and writer - interests that were built upon by my teachers at Loreto Kirribilli, particularly in History and English. Whether it was through historical inquiry with Mrs Bleby, or quasi-philosophical debate with Ms Davis, I was always challenged to think and question.

“From Debating and Mock Trial at school, I came to appreciate the value of being able to communicate ideas clearly and think on my feet. It is these two skills that I hope to transfer to the girls that I coach, as nothing is more powerful than clarity of expression.”

We wish Juliette all the best as she completes her studies at the University of Sydney, and goes on to pursue post-graduate study in Europe, with the goal of becoming an academic political theorist.

Juliette with the Loreto Kirribilli 2021 Senior A Debating team.