Call for abstracts

STUDYING WAR CRIMES:

The ethics of re-presenting mass violence in research

When do descriptions of harm become academic sensationalism rather than re-presentations of violent materialities? Can academic interest and engagement in mass harm ever avoid voyeurism? How can sensational violence be ethically re-presented in research? Across disciplines theorizing mass harm, a consensus is emerging cautioning against sensationalism in re-presentations of perpetrators, victims, crimes, and sufferings, seeing detailed descriptions of violence as academic voyeurism. Yet, how comfortable a read can research that has violent profusion at its core become, before the distance created by language becomes an ethical – and analytical – challenge in its own right?

This edited volume invites experienced scholars to address thoroughly the ethics of doing research on mass harm in general, and of re-presenting and describing mass violence, harmdoing, trauma, and suffering in their own research in particular. Drawing on a range of methodological approaches and empirical cases, the book will address how mass violence and war crimes are brought into research – both as an ethical, a sensational, and an analytical matter.

We ask contributors to reflect on their re-presentations of mass crimes, violence and justice, seeing re-presentations both as an issue to do with individual and disciplinary research ethics but also as a matter to do with power and material structures of academic knowledge production. The purpose is to encourage active engagement with a research ethics that goes beyond ‘procedural ethic;’ to expand the discussion on responsibility for the stories we hear, read, analyze, and re-tell; and to address in-depth the ethics of listening, seeing, and telling in research on mass violence and war crimes.

The book will be relevant for all researchers who wish to engage ethically with the study of mass violence and war crimes.

We invite abstracts that explore the ethics of re-presenting mass violence in research.

Abstracts may also cater specifically to:

  • The ethics of caring, seeing, listening and re-presenting
  • Selection and exclusion: whose stories are told?
  • Understanding harm/understanding as harm
  • “Thick descriptions” and sensationalism
  • Breaking the silence vs silence as choice
  • Emotions, positionality, and reflexivity

Submission guidelines:

Abstract of no more than 500 words to be submitted by November 30th, 2018 to editors at studyingwarcrimes@gmail.com. We only accept original contributions and the abstract needs to clearly demonstrate the chapter’s contribution to the volume.

Please include a 150-200 word bio highlighting your affiliation, work experience and credentials in the field of war and mass violence research.

Further process:

After an initial screening and by December 15th, 2018, editors will invite 8 contributors to develop their abstract into a full chapter (5-7000 words) to be submitted by April 15th 2019. We will apply for funding for a lunch-to-lunch workshop for contributors in May 2019. The final submission date for full chapters will be in August, 2019.

Routledge (Taylor&Francis Group) initiated our work with this collection, and has expressed a strong interest in publishing the book.

About the editors:

Sladjana Lazic is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Peace Studies (CPS) at the Arctic University of Norway (UiT). She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Norwegian University for Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, on victims’ perspectives on transitional justice and legitimacy.

Anette Bringedal Houge holds a PhD in Criminology and Sociology of Law from the University of Oslo on conflict-related sexual violence, perpetrator re-presentations, and international criminal justice. She has published her research in e.g., Aggression and Violent Behavior, British Journal of Criminology and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Anette is the Head of Humanitarian Needs and Analysis at the Norwegian Red Cross.

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A Posthuman Feminist Approach to Mars

Grand_star-forming_region_R136_in_NGC_2070_(captured_by_the_Hubble_Space_Telescope)

Captured the Hubble Space Telescope (NASA)

Feminists must found a constitution for Mars, notes Keina Yoshida in her fascinating recent post. If we leave Mars to the founding fathers it will become the domain of the super wealthy elite white men of techno-mediated capitalism––the Musks, the Zuckerbergs and the Trumps. Human space exploration will follow the same, masculine, humanist blueprint of domination on Earth and Mars will be exploited for its natural resources, just like Earth. Yoshida thus asks:

 

… what then would a founding feminist constitution look like? How would it guarantee foundation against what bell hooks has termed the ‘white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’? Is it a democracy to come? Whose work should we draw upon to inform this constitution? … Who will protect their rights in Mars?

Yoshida answers her own question: “The feminists.”

Feminists are indeed ideally positioned to be able to tackle this issue. Environmental protection is core here but the problem does not lie with these founding fathers alone but with the entire foundations of dominant thought. Feminist gender theorists are central to challenging these dominant accounts of knowledge. Feminist posthumanism is one frame through which these challenges can be made.[1]

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

one-step-forward

Book cover, courtesy International Nuremberg Principles Academy. (Original: Montana Historical Society)

On 4 November 2016 in Nuremberg, at its annual forum commemorating the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Nuremberg Principles by the UN General Assembly, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy launched its first book, a volume of deterrence studies titled, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Deterrent Effect of International Criminal Tribunals. This volume comprises ten country studies (Serbia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, DRC, Uganda, Darfur, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali), as well as a chapter on methodology, and conclusions drawing from all the country studies, with recommendations for further action.

Two Steps Forward is notable in a number of respects. While various articles have addressed deterrence in international criminal law in some fashion, it is apparently the first volume that addresses the issue so comprehensively. It also ventures to offer conclusions on the question of deterrence based on quantitative and qualitative research, noting that nearly 20 years have passed since the ICTY and ICTR’s establishment, and nearly 15 since the ICC and Sierra Leone Special Court’s establishment. While the Nuremberg trials themselves arguably took several generations for their effects to be fully felt, enough time has passed that it is fair to begin to examine what has been the deterrent effect so far of international tribunals, and how that effect can be enhanced or improved.

The good news is that in all of the country situations surveyed, at least some deterrent effect was reported. The authors draw on quantitative factors first to assess whether overall criminality has risen or fallen, a fundamental baseline for asking whether crimes have thereafter been deterred. The authors draw on qualitative factors to assess perceptions of deterrence, in particular amongst perpetrators and potentially like-minded individuals, including members of militaries and rebel groups, political actors, diplomats and politicians, as well as academics, civil society members and victims. Perceptions of deterrence are as significant as objectively measurable deterrence; people act on their perceptions, for good or bad, and these actions can help determine whether further crimes will be committed. In all the situation countries surveyed, the authors found that while the international court or tribunal concerned had a deterrent effect, both objective and perceived, it proved difficult to sustain because the factors supporting it often fell apart. This is an important starting point for examining how to ensure that any hard-won deterrent effect is not ultimately lost. Continue reading

Marriage Cases ruling upends tradition … on how many teach Constitutional Law

Just had a chance to read in full the Marriage Cases – that is, U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 judgment in Obergefell v. Hodges – and was struck by the degree to which it upends tradition.

No, not that tradition.

What’s striking is not so much the holding that the Constitution guarantees a right to marry that extends to couples regardless of sex. That result has seemed reside in the it’s-only-a-matter-of-time category for a while now.

What’s striking, rather, is that in reaching this result, the Court explicitly revived an interpretive method that views certain constitutional clauses as interlinked.

‘The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws,’

14th Amendment 2Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for a 5-member majority. He continued:

‘The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always co-extensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. In any particular case one Clause may be thought to capture the essence of the right in a more accurate and comprehensive way, even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right.’

In support of this posited “synergy,” Kennedy cited numerous twentieth-century decisions, among them  Loving v. Virginia (1967), Zablocki v. Redhail (1977), and one I find a super teaching vehicle, Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). He chose to stick close to the family-related subject matter at hand, and so omitted other examples of this method, such as Griffin v. Illinois (1956), requiring the provision of trial transcripts to rich and poor defendants alike. Each judgment evinces more concern for doing justice than for divining a single-clause source from open-ended terms like “due process” and “equal protection.” Some of these decisions also tend not to devote much time to shoehorning facts into “levels of scrutiny” – a judge-created superstructure not found in the Constitution’s text, and not invoked in last month’s Marriage Cases.

Far from aberrational, these developments follow a trend detectable in many constitutional opinions of the last couple decades. It bears echo to other Kennedy opinions, not to mention the duty to govern impartially posited by Justice John Paul Stevens during his many years on the bench. (Kennedy’s view that the Constitution’s framers intended today’s Court to interpret their words in an evolutive manner likewise jibes with writings of Stevens and another retired Justice, David H. Souter.)

Many law schools follow a format that puts the Due Process Clause in Con Law I and the Equal Protection Clause in Con Law II. That division has made for gaps or overlaps in teaching a number of issues. LGBT rights has been one of them. There are others – such as abortion – and one imagines the list will grow with the Court’s overt resuscitation of this method and others subsumed within what Kennedy calls “reasoned judgment.”

Time for those of us in U.S. legal academia to rethink how we teach constitutional law.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Write On! Call for Papers on ‘International Law’s Objects: Emergence, Encounter and Erasure through Object and Image’ (deadline 18 April)

HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins c.1794. [British Royal Navy vessel commanded by James Cook on his voyage to Australia and New Zealand]


Dr. Jessie Hohmann (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr. Daniel Joyce (University of New South Wales) invite proposals for contributions to an edited book on International Law’s Objects: Emergence, Encounter and Erasure through Object and Image. They write: “The contributions are short and creative.  We hope that the project will open up some innovative ways to think about international law, but also that it will provide a practical resource for teachers.  We plan to publish the selected contributions with Oxford University Press following a conference in the first part of 2016.”

AIMS AND SCOPE OF THE PROJECT

The study of international law is highly text based. Whether as practice, scholarship or pedagogy, the discipline of international law both relies on and produces a wealth of written material. Cases, treaties, and volumes of academic writing are the legal sources through which most of us working in international law relate to the subject, and, at times we might come to feel that these texts are our major project and output.

Yet international law has a rich existence in the world. International law is often developed, conveyed and authorised through objects or images. From the symbolic (the regalia of the head of state and the symbols of sovereignty), to the mundane (a can of dolphin-safe tuna certified as complying with international trade standards), international legal authority can be found in the objects around us. Similarly, the practice of international law often relies on material objects or images, both as evidence (satellite images, bones of the victims of mass atrocities) and to found authority (for instance, maps and charts).

Motivating this project are three questions:

  • First, what might studying international law through objects reveal? What might objects, rather than texts, tell us about sources, recognition of states, construction of territory, law of the sea, or international human rights law?
  • Second, what might this scholarly undertaking reveal about the objects – as aims or projects – of international law? How do objects reveal, or perhaps mask, these aims, and what does this tell us about the reasons some (physical or material) objects are foregrounded, and others hidden or ignored?
  • Third, which objects will be selected? We anticipate a no doubt eclectic but illuminating collection, which points to objects made central, but also objects disclaimed, by international law. Moreover, the project will result in a fascinating artefact (itself an object) of the preoccupations of the profession at this moment in time.

There are various ways one might begin to think about international law through objects. These categories are offered provisionally, and are in no sense intended to constrain the imagination of contributors:

  • The first is those objects which are used routinely in the study and practice of international law. These include treaties and diplomatic cables for instance. These are normally rendered in text but represent important objects of interest in their own right. An extension of this category, also routinely used in international law scholarship and practice, are maps.
  • A second category might be those ritual objects that seek to convey the power and authority of international law though their symbolic weight. Such objects might include, for example, the flag planted by Captain Cook to claim the territory now known as Australia, the gavel used in the Nuremberg trials, or the Hague Peace Palace itself.

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Go On! PhD seminar: Methods of Human Rights Law Research, University of Iceland (deadline 1 April)

 

The University of Iceland Human Rights Institute and iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation´s Centre of Excellence for International Courts at Copenhagen University, will host a seminar on “Methods of Human Rights Law Research” from 26-27 May 2015 at the University of Iceland Human Rights Institute.

Venue: University Iceland Faculty of Law, in the Lögberg building, Sæmundargata 8, room 402.

  • The deadline for applications is on Wednesday 1 April 2015.  Please apply by e-mail to Sigrún Á Heygum Ólafsdóttir, project manager (sah@hi.is).  She will also answer any practical questions regarding the course.
  • All other questions regarding the seminar can be directed to Oddný Mjöll Arnardóttir, course organiser (oddnyma@hi.is).
  • Course Programme (pdf)
  • Course Syllabus (pdf)

For more information, visit http://jura.ku.dk/icourts/news/methods-human-rights-law-research.

On the Job! Chair in Constitutional and/or Public Law with focus on gender, sexuality, and race studies, EUI (deadline 23 March)

The European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy,  is looking for candidates with a distinguished record of scholarly publications and experience in postgraduate teaching and doctoral supervision, to fill a Chair in Constitutional and/or Public Law. The Department of Law would particularly welcome candidates interested in theoretical dimensions of the field (which may include dimensions of gender, sexuality and race), as well as comparative, transnational and international dimensions. The chair is open to candidates at all levels of seniority.

The successful candidate is expected to commence on 1 September 2016. The contract is for five years, renewable for a further three years. The Institute is an equal opportunity employer, and takes into account the importance of balance in gender, geographical and minority representation.

Interested applicants should consult http://www.eui.eu/vacancies for further details.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 23 March 2015

CONTACTS

Academic Service
Veerle Deckmyn, Director
Tel.: +39 055.4685.359
E-mail: applypro@eui.eu Internet: http://www.eui.eu

European University Institute Via dei Roccettini 9
I-50014 San Domenico di Fiesole ITALY