March-April 2017. This conference -- held in a slow-paced Charlottesville only months before it would be awoken by white nationalist violence -- was mainly a meeting of minds between political scientists and historians. I had the great honor of getting to discuss work by Elizabeth Borgwardt, and I also had the pleasure of sharing ideas (and drinks) with James Morrow, Erik Voeten, and David Luban.
Perhaps the highlight of the conference was kicking back post-conference at Mila Versteeg and Kevin Cope's modern rustic home, a building that was converted from a Confederate uniform factory to a livable academic space. But I have to give a shout out to Chris Fariss, Charles Crabtree, Yon Lupu, and Cosette Creamer, who made sure to keep the party going each night.
Which reminds me. While a group of us were watching the NCAA Tournament, I heard the song "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears. This would be unremarkable, save for the fact that I had heard it the night before in a different bar. Being folksy, I would describe this as "dumb luck" or "a strange coincidence." However, Yon Lupu, who is powered by a John Nash-like left brain, simply called this a "low probability event." Indeed.
March 2017. This was a wonderful conference, though unseasonably sunny weather in London made it difficult to be inside on the weekend. It was worth it. Mark Kersten and Kirsten Ainley have a great network practitioners and academics, and their expertise in International Criminal Law was on display. This was my first introduction to Kevin Jon Heller, Alex Whiting, Beth van Schaack, Patryk Labuda, Adewale Iyanda, Aidan Hehir, Fidelma Donlon, Gerhard van Rooyen, and Alex Hinton. Some highlights: I presented a trapezoidal powerpoint presentation standing behind a column; had an argument with Alex Hinton about the Mardi Gras Zulu Parade; talked music with Aidan Hehir; got lost in front of Stephen Rapp; got chastised by Kevin Heller for drinking Starbucks coffee (justifiably); had a member of Kenyatta's defense team explain investigative failures to me; and met a friend of my Uncle-in-law Joe's from Addis. Along the way, I learned a great deal about hybrid tribunals. We all need to think more about them.
October 2016. Hard to see anything on this screenshot save for my recycled head shot from five years ago. This was a speaking event at University College London. Rod Abouharb was kind enough to invite me to talk about human rights pragmatism. There must have been at least 80 people in this room, including the great Neil Mitchell (and my sister-in-law Mira, and my friend Jane). It was lively, there were good questions, and there was delicious Greek food after. Living the life!
October 2016. This one was fun, folks. Basically, Kristine Eck invited me out to Uppsala, Sweden to present a paper on amnesties in conflict. I never wanted to leave. Their department is like utopia. People eat together, work together, and sometimes have class in a glass room on a rooftop with tiny trees outside. I got to meet with Erik Melander, guru of the UCDP Conflict data set. I also got to go to a PhD party, where a recently minted doctor has something akin to a wedding reception with a roast built in. If you get invited to one of these, wear a jacket. I didn't because I'm dumb. But hands down the most fun was the blowout night following my presentation. My old friend Holly Guthrie introduced me to new friends Ida and Anni. There was red wine, strong beer, and hours of karaoke. We rocked until 4:30 am. I learned the hard way the meaning of the word Fylleangst.
August 2016. Organized by Cecilia Bailliet at Pluricourts, this conference was held in the beautiful Voksenåsen Hotel, in the Dag Hammerskjold Pavilion. The conference featured two days of excellent presentations on International criminal law, from every angle. We learned about the crazy stuff that judges at the ICC say about each other; how Kurds hold their own tribunals in rebel-held territories of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq; and how ICL might be better conceived as a source of symbolic justice. Judge Mandiaye Niang gave the keynote address, and I was flattered that he referenced my research with Florencia Montal. Over $20 Norwegian beers, I made some new friends, including Nobuo Hayashi, Tamas Adany, Dorothy Makaza, Franziska Oehm, and Marialejandra Mantilla. Good times all around. For future visitors: contrary to advertisement, the pool is not heated. I jumped in, and I felt like Jack in Titanic.
March 2016. Outside of waking up with a stomach bug at 6 am on the day of the event, this was a remarkable conference celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the War Crimes Research Office at America University. A number of very prominent scholars and jurists spoke, including Stephen Rapp, David Tolbert, and Juan Mendez. I'm thankful to Susana SaCouto for inviting me. It was great meeting my fellow panelists, Richard Dicker, Jane Stromseth, Todd Buchwald, and Nobuo Hayashi. It was also a pleasure to meet Anton Steynberg, who reminded me that when it comes to international prosecutions, "haters are gonna hate." And thanks again to Paige Arthur for buying the Uber.
March 2016. A strong ISA conference in expensive downtown Atlanta. $9 beers?! Got to hang with the human rights friends, received comments on some statistical models, drank rum punch, and got corrected on a factual error in my favorite paper on amnesties. Good times. Chronological shout-outs to Michael Tyburski, Henry Thomson, Will Moore, Devorah Manekin, Patrick Egan, Mark Berlin, Rod Abouharb, Wayne Sandholtz, Ryan Welch, Emily Ritter, Courtney Hillebrecht, Jill Haglund, Chad Clay, Rod Abouharb, Jackie DeMerritt, Kimi King, Jim Meernik, Valerie Arnould, Joanna Quinn, Alex Dukalskis -- and last but not least -- Jen Richard!
Moved to March 3, 2016, this even is an exploration of the genocidal events in Indonesia, and what happens in a country when a genocidal campaign is successful.
On March 2, 2016, my students organized a mobilization meeting in coordination with the Everytown Survivor Network. We heard from the brilliant and courageous Sara Cusimano, herself a victim of gun violence. We hope that this meeting and others will build momentum around gun sense in New Orleans.
Robin Einhorn, a historian of tax policy, gave a fascinating talk on Feb 15, 2016. Her argument is that the American South has always driven national tax policy. Southerners wanted tariffs overturned, and they were in favor of the federal income tax. Today, the South leads resistance to the income tax.
On February 1, 2016, German Councilman (and friend) Florian Kubsch discussed the neoliberal roots of the current refugee crisis in Europe. I'm not one to blame neoliberalism for everything, but Kubsch successfully makes the case that Thatcherist policies are responsible for many of the problems Europe is facing today.
On September 28, 2015, Michael Martin at the University of Louisiana - Lafayette held a symposium on gun violence. It was a very impressive and well attended event that addressed many facets of the gun culture. My talk can be seen here: Session 2 at 21:00 minutes.
September 2015. This was a wonderful two-day conference at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. Attendees included Michael Ignatieff and Steven Pinker, among many others. We discussed the state of the art concerning human rights in our various fields. This is where I learned that English scholars love talking about paradoxes, and anthropologists resist ANY use of the word barbaric.