I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.
I study international law, international relations and international political history.
My current research examines the historical formation of a set of overlapping bodies of international law – international human rights law, international humanitarian law (or the laws of war) and international criminal law – that are meant to mitigate the effects of political violence by restricting its use.
I study these bodies of international law because together they have a tremendous capacity to improve the lives of people around the world by transforming our common understanding of the duties that states and the international community have to protect and support individuals regardless of their nationality.
I focus on the historical development of these areas of law because the international legal categories and structures we have inherited often reflect the politics and prejudices of the time in which they were designed. As the modern discipline of international law arose out of the mid-19th century, many of its doctrines and institutions – or at least their precursors – have their roots in the same mix of paternalism and idealism that served to justify European colonial empires.
My work seeks to shed light on these historical influences as part of an effort to more accurately diagnose the qualities and causes of selectivity and inequality in the ways these bodies of law are applied around the world.