Introducing Hope Elizabeth May

hope mayWe are delighted today to welcome Hope Elizabeth May as an IntLawGrrls contributor.  Hope is Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University, where she directs its Center for Professional and Personal Ethics. She earned her J.D. degree after first earning her Ph.D. in philosophy.   After her studies in law, she worked as a Visiting Professional in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. 

Hope is passionate about the importance of public education to the “Peace Through Law” project, and to that end, creates innovative educational activities aimed at exposing the story and history of International Law to a broader audience than lawyers and the legal academy.  These activities include A Grotian Moment (celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the International Criminal Court), Piece of the Palace (celebrating the Centenary of the Peace Palace), and, celebrating the role of women in peacebuilding and international law: Pro Concordia Labor and The Bertha von Suttner Project. Additionally, Dr. May has developed the first study abroad course (based in Leiden and The Hague) for U.S. undergraduates that focuses solely on the International Criminal Court, the United States, and The Hague Tradition. Her deep interest in the power and importance of education about these subjects underlies her innovative educational projects on these topics.

Hope is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Court Student Network, and is on the Council of Advisors of the Global Institute of the Prevention of Aggression.  Her latest book is Aristotle’s Ethics: Moral Development and Human Nature (Continuum 2010).

Hope’s introductory post today discusses the centenary of the Peace Palace and advocates for a paradigm shift in discourse around international justice.


6 thoughts on “Introducing Hope Elizabeth May

  1. This was a very informative and intriguing post. Thank you. I did want to mention that “positive psychology” represents not so much a “paradigm shift” but a psychology of mental well-being and flourishing (or self-realization, etc.) rather than a psychology endeavoring to discover the causes of mental illness (from the psychotic to milder or mundane sorts of same). The DSM stuff, however crude and prone to a misplaced stress on biology, neuroscience, and drugs (in short, ‘scientism’) and a medicalization of problems intrinsic to the human condition (e.g., sadness, bouts of depression, etc.), is a diagnostic manual with some utility (given all sorts of other conditions and qualifications) for those working with the mentally ill. Positive psychology in many respects represents the return of the tradition of “humanistic psychology,” which likewise was meant to emphasized the psychological capacities for flourishing, self-transcendence, etc. We clearly need both: a positive or humanistic psychology as well as a therapeutic psychology for treating insofar as possible sundry forms of mental illness, especially those forms so debilitating to those afflicted (e.g., psychosis). I shudder to imagine positive psychology displacing those kinds of psychology and psychiatry focused on the etiology and treatment of mental illness. Some people have fragmented identities, i.e., no ego consolidation whatsoever, others (perhaps most of us), have a largely egocentric orientation: positive psychology is better suited to individuals in the second category, not so much for those who lack any coherent sense of self (that is to say, one needs an ego or self before one is capable of transcending same).

  2. Thanks Patrick. Indeed, my aim was to argue for a broadening – not a narrowing. Perhaps one person’s paradigm shift is another person’s broadening – as non-euclidean geometry, e.g., includes and does not displace euclidean – albeit in the infinitesimal region. And clearly Truth/Memory initiatives aimed at creating a preserving an historic record of atrocities are crucial and should be retained (as should the focus on illness/disease in the DSM IV (now V) mindset. However, IJ Truth/Memory initiatives should be broadened to include positive stories of accomplishment in IJ – beginning with the lost history of the 19th century Peace Movement, May 18 and its educational component in the U.S. Apart from including the positive, we also need to include other disciplines, so I was gladdened to read Diane Marie Amann’s recent post that mentioned Bill Schabas’ citing of Steven Pinker’s ‘Better Angels’ tome at the student institute on International Criminal Law. Much to be done! Much obliged by your read and thoughtful and edifying response!

  3. A bit off topic, but I was delighted to learn of your book on Aristotle’s ethics, which I look forward to reading.

  4. Thanks again, Patrick. As you probably know, positive psychology is allied deeply with Aristotle’s ethics – not only via its focus on human flourishing, but also in its focus on the virtues or ‘character strengths’. See Peterson’s & Seligman’s ‘Character Strengths and Virtues’ (Oxford 2004) for more. My book focuses on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) – an interesting sub-discipline of Positive Psychology (PP) (n.b. although some see SDT outside of PP, I do not).

  5. Pingback: International law women on Twitter | Diane Marie Amann

  6. Pingback: International law women on Twitter « IntLawGrrls

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