Assistant Professor of Political Science Jacqueline McAllister will trade in her Acland House office for one in Oslo, Norway, next year as a recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant.
The grant will allow McAllister to continue her research on international criminal tribunals (ICTs) and to investigate how they affect violence against civilians and negotiations to end civil wars. ICTs, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), are designed to prosecute individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Scholars are divided on the effects of ICTs. Some believe that they may deter violence against civilians, but on the other hand, “some people have speculated that the threat of prosecution might prompt leaders to run away from the peace table,” McAllister said. “They don’t want to talk peace if they know they’d give up the keys to the kingdom and they’re going to be thrown in prison.”
McAllister, who already has undertaken extensive research into ICTs, even conducting hundreds of field interviews with former combatants in the Yugoslav Wars, hopes to use her yearlong grant to revise her dissertation into a book manuscript. The ICC and ICTY are the two tribunals that meet McAllister’s research criteria.
“I’m looking for courts that have jurisdiction over active conflicts,” she said. “So they’re set up, they’re functioning and, hypothetically, they can prosecute people while they’re still fighting each other.”
Professor David Rowe, chair of the Department of Political Science, wrote a letter in support of McAllister’s grant proposal. “This is good for her, it is good for her research and it is really good for Kenyon,” Rowe said. “[McAllister] is a fantastic teacher, and this will enable her to bring a lot of her research and thinking back into the classroom.”
Rowe and McAllister already have discussed adding at least one course focused on ICTs to the political science curriculum once McAllister returns to Gambier in fall 2018. “I definitely plan to develop networks and just a knowledge base that I can use to develop a whole new seminar,” McAllister said. She hopes to be able to bring ICT experts to Kenyon in the future, as well as cultivate contacts for Kenyon students interested in internships or research involving the tribunals.
The political science department has begun a search for a one-year visiting professor during McAllister’s absence, a task that Rowe said he is happy to undertake.
“This is the kind of shortage that you want, because it really is to the long-run benefit of Kenyon,” he said. “You cannot overestimate the value that Kenyon gets from the ability of its faculty to pursue these kinds of opportunities. It rebounds on Kenyon in multiple ways: in the classroom, meeting with students, the prestige of the institution, and so it’s just a gain all around.
“She is doing incredibly important research, and this is a real honor, and marks her as one of the leading scholars in this emerging field.”