Ph.D., Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University
M.A., Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University
B.A., Literature, Yale University
I am an interdisciplinary scholar of human rights and humanitarianism with a background that combines political theory, anthropology, and other fields such as science and technology studies. My first book, Digging for the Disappeared (Stanford University Press, 2015), focuses on the scientific investigation of mass graves as a window into both the past and the future of human rights. Forensic scientists play a major role in documenting the mass graves and atrocities, from Argentina to South Africa to Bosnia, that have fueled the global human rights movement and the rise of human rights discourse. These investigations blend new technologies with international activism, putting them on the cutting edge of human rights practice.
My current transnational research explores how lost, neglected, and marginalized spaces of the dead lead to the creation of communities of care and resistance among the living. Other research and teaching interests include care ethics, neurodiversity/disability, and nonhuman animals. I have published on these topics and others in Human Rights Quarterly, Boston Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and various anthologies.
Digging for the Disappeared (Stanford University Press, 2015), focuses on the scientific investigation of mass graves as a window into both the past and the future of human rights. Forensic scientists play a major role in documenting the mass graves and atrocities, from Argentina to South Africa to Bosnia, that have fueled the global human rights movement. Yet the unique ways in these investigations blend new technologies with international activism also put them on the cutting edge of human rights practice, opening survivor communities up to new hopes, new forms of activism, and new vulnerabilities. The book won the 2016 Outstanding Academic Title Award sponsored by Choice, and has been called “required reading for anyone interested in the promotion of justice and social reconstruction in post-war societies” and lauded for its "great compassion for victims of human rights abuses.” In addition to Digging for the Disappeared, I have published essays on forensic investigation, pedagogy, comics and other topics in Human Rights Quarterly, Boston Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and various edited volumes.
Before earning my Ph.D., I worked in the International Forensic Program at Physicians for Human Rights, the Human Rights Center of the University of Chile, and at the U.S.-Mexico Border; as a result, I always bring an awareness of the connections between theory and practice to my work. I love mentoring students who are planning for careers in social justice as much as I enjoy fostering future scholars. You can read more of my thoughts on theory and practice in human rights here.
My teaching at Haverford College includes seminars on "Human Rights and the Dead," "Thinking Differently: Politics and Practices of Neurodiversity" (which is participating in a Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives grant), the community-engaged "Social Justice Organizations," the introductory class in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights and other core seminars in the concentration.
I live in Haverford, PA with my spouse, who is the co-founder of the humanitarian aid startup NeedsList, and two children. I love biking, hiking, coffee, depressing indie rock, and comic books.
You can read various articles, talks, and syllabi of mine on my Academia.edu site.
A short summary of my research on forensic science and human rights was featured on WAMC's "Academic Minute." You can find it here.
I wrote about a recent trip to work in African-American cemeteries in Richmond, Virginia, here.