Pleased to announce an exciting new research initiative at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. I am co-directing “Challenging Conceptions: Children born of wartime rape and sexual exploitation,” with my colleague Dyan Mazaurana. Here is the project overview with more details to come.
Statement of Need: Sexual violence in conflict is a well-documented phenomenon that can create long-term, negative legacies for victim-survivors, their families and communities. In many cases, women and girls who have been sexually violated by parties to the conflict will become pregnant and face numerous challenges of giving birth to and raising a child as a result of this abuse. Many of these challenges directly stem from their child’s parentage, as one parent is affiliated with the “enemy” or occupational forces. At present what we know about these children is primarily based on journalistic accounts, anecdotal evidence or incomplete researcher accounts. Only a handful of researchers in the world have carried out in-depth fieldwork with these children, their mothers and communities. The evidence suggests that regardless of the nature of the parents’ sexual relationship (forced, survival sex, consensual, or somewhere in-between these categories), many of these children are stigmatized, discriminated against, abused, abandoned by family members, and denied basic rights and access to services. As infants, some also face infanticide. In other cases, older children may be beaten or starved to death by family members frustrated at their parentage. However, there are other cases in which these children and their mothers appear to be accepted by their families and communities, yet we know little about why and how this occurs. The lack of rigorous comparative research on children born of wartime sexual violence, their mothers and their communities leaves scholars and practitioners with more questions than answers about how best to anticipate and mitigate the risks, threats and vulnerabilities children and their mothers, and how to promote their acceptance the well-being in their families and communities.
Activities: To make a significant contribution to addressing the gaps in knowledge around children born of wartime sexual violence and their mothers, the project team will carry out two primary activities. First, we will prepare an international report focusing on the state of knowledge about, and policy and programmatic responses to, children born of wartime sexual violence and their mothers. Second, to bolster input into the report, and to prepare a multi-year, multi-country comparative research funding proposal on children born of wartime sexual violence, the project team proposes to host a two-day meeting with the world’s leading researchers on children born of wartime sexual violence and those who have extensive experience working in conflict-affected countries where sexual violence has been well-documented. We anticipate invitees with experience on this topic from Bosnia, Cambodia, Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda. Each attendee will prepare and circulate a research briefing paper on this topic from their geographic areas of expertise prior to the meeting. During this two-day work session, we will lead a process where the experts research papers are shared and responded to; the group critically reviews the state of knowledge report we will have produced; determines what gaps remain in our understanding of children born of wartime rape that need to be filled; develops a multi-country comparative research agenda to fill those knowledge gaps; develops a strategy to ensure the research is taken up by key policy makers; and identifies potential donors. Team leaders Kimberly Theidon (Fletcher School) and Dyan Mazurana (Feinstein International Center and Friedman School) will then produce a research proposal and submit it to potential donors.
Honored to be invited to give the keynote lecture, “#NiUnaMenos: The struggle for gender justice in Latin America.”
Delighted to be joining my colleagues Leigh Payne, Julia Zulver, Marcela Ríos Tobar, Malu Gatto, Victoria Sanford, Kiran Stallone, Mónica Arango Olaya, My Rafstedt, Gabriela Álvarez, Karen Tucker, Nancy Topias Torrado, and Kyra Grieco for two days of discussion and theorizing on new forms of women’s movements and activism. January 27-28, 2017.
Memory Politics: Truth, Justice and Redress
In the aftermath of political violence and the massive violation of human rights, how do individuals, communities and societies come to terms with these atrocities and reconstruct social relationships and sociability? How do people live together again after suffering and inflicting lethal violence? In the context of state-sponsored terror, how do successor regimes make a break with the past, establish a new set of social norms, and work toward the administration of justice, redress and reconciliation?
In this course we analyze the relationship between memory and social reconciliation, and the role that theories of truth, justice and redress play in this equation. We begin with WWII, or more precisely its aftermath. WWII was a point of historical disjuncture: From the Nazi atrocities and the subsequent trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo emerged a series of conventions and covenants establishing human rights as a set of international laws, institutions, and norms.
We trace the expansion of, and challenges to, the regime of human rights and international law by focusing on case studies that allow us to analyze war crimes tribunals, truth commissions, the burgeoning field of transitional justice, and local level forms of assessing guilt and administering justice. Each class session will begin with the professor situating the assigned readings within the relevant debates and historical context. .
Our case studies this year include Rwanda, South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru. Course readings draw upon critical legal studies, political science, history, anthropology — complemented with human rights documents, truth commission reports, novels and films — in an attempt to understand how atrocities begin and how they may end. We will consider how genocides continued to occur throughout the 20th century — and into the 21st — during an époque characterized by the call for “Never Again” (Nunca Más). Finally, once the fighting subsides, what can and should be done with the victims, the perpetrators, and that sizeable segment of the population that may blur the dichotomy?
Engaging Human Security:
Anthropological Reflections on Security Studies
This course enables students to develop a nuanced understanding of the central issues and debates in human security, and also develop a deeper understanding of various aspects of the predicament facing the people of a crisis-affected, conflict or post-conflict country, and international organizations mandated to help address their problems. Human security privileges the security and well being of humans rather than the state. A field of study in international affairs and international relations, human security focuses on issues at the heart of human rights, humanitarian affairs, conflict studies and mediation, economic development, health and wellbeing. Human security approaches are inter‐disciplinary and problem‐focused, and seek to understand a problem from the perspective of the people most affected, which requires an anthropological sensibility and an appreciation of different social‐cultural framings of problems. Thus, the course itself is problem‐focused. It takes five central fields, which human security has drawn from and influenced – human rights, humanitarian studies, feminist and gender studies, mediation and conflict resolution, and development – and uses foundational theories and applications in those fields to bring a human security lens to better understand and address current problems in Latin America. The course is also inter‐disciplinary and involves readings in anthropology, political science, law, international relations, security studies, humanitarian studies, public health and trauma, conflict resolution, feminist/gender studies, economics, environmental studies, and history.
BREAKING – Senator Susan Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski just announced they will vote ‘NO’ on Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. One more vote needed to defeat Trump’s nominee.
WE CAN’T STOP NOW: Our efforts are working, call the Senate today to #StopDeVos.
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Here are five crucial reasons we need to #StopDeVos:
DeVos has zero experience in public education.
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She wants to funnel tax dollars away from public schools.
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