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The Geopolitics of Shaming: When Human Rights Pressure Works—and When It Backfires

The Geopolitics of Shaming: When Human Rights Pressure Works—and When It Backfires

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ABOUT THE WEBINAR 

If you register for and attend a Burkle Center virtual event, you will not be seen or heard via video or audio. We will be live-streaming this event on the Burkle Center’s YouTube page. The YouTube livestream will be available below at the start of the event.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

When a government violates the rights of its citizens, the international community can respond by exerting moral pressure and urging reform. Yet many of the most egregious violations appear to go unpunished. In many cases, shaming not only fails to induce compliance but also incites a backlash, provoking resistance and worsening human rights practices. 

The Geopolitics of Shaming presents a new theory on the strategic logic of international human rights enforcement, revealing why and how states punish violations in other countries, when shaming leads to an improvement in human rights conditions, and when it backfires. Drawing on a wide range of evidence—from large-scale cross-national data to original survey experiments and detailed case studies—Rochelle Terman shows how human rights shaming is a deeply political process, one that operates in and through strategic relationships. Arguing that preexisting geopolitical relationships condition both the causes and consequences of shaming in world politics, she shows how adversaries are quick to condemn human rights abuses but often provoke a counterproductive response, while friends and allies are the most effective shamers but can be reluctant to impose meaningful sanctions.

Upending conventional wisdom on the role of norms in world affairs, The Geopolitics of Shaming demonstrates that politicization is integral to—not a corruption of—the success of the global human rights project.

 

The Geopolitics of Shaming presents a new theory on the strategic logic of international human rights enforcement, revealing why and how states punish violations in other countries, when shaming leads to an improvement in human rights conditions, and when it backfires. Drawing on a wide range of evidence—from large-scale cross-national data to original survey experiments and detailed case studies—Rochelle Terman shows how human rights shaming is a deeply political process, one that operates in and through strategic relationships. Arguing that preexisting geopolitical relationships condition both the causes and consequences of shaming in world politics, she shows how adversaries are quick to condemn human rights abuses but often provoke a counterproductive response, while friends and allies are the most effective shamers but can be reluctant to impose meaningful sanctions.

Upending conventional wisdom on the role of norms in world affairs, The Geopolitics of Shaming demonstrates that politicization is integral to—not a corruption of—the success of the global human rights project.

ORDER THE BOOK


Order The Geopolitics of Shaming from Princeton University Press



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rochelle Terman is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. She is also a faculty affiliate with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, and the Committee on International Relations, and the Program on Computational Social Science. 

She specializes in international relations, with an emphasis on international norms, human rights, and the Muslim world. Her first book, The Geopolitics of Shaming: When Human Rights Pressure Works—and When It Backfires, is based on her dissertation, which won the 2017 Merze Tate (formerly Helen Dwight Reid) Award for the best dissertation in international relations, law, and politics from the American Political Science Association.

She teaches computational social science at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Text as Data for Social Science and Computational Tools for Social Science.

She received her Ph.D. in Political Science with a designated emphasis in Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Before going to Chicago, she was a post-doc at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. 


ABOUT THE MODERATOR

Leslie Johns is a professor of political science and law at UCLA. She is also Associate Director of the Burkle Center for International Relations. Her research focuses on international law, organizations, and political economy. In 2022, Cambridge University Press published her newest book, Politics and International Law: Making, Breaking, and Upholding Global Rules. You can access related news stories on the book's Twitter account: @PoliticsIntlLaw. Her work appears in the American Political Science Review, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Politics. Her first book–Strengthening International Courts: The Hidden Costs of Legalization–was published in 2015 by the University of Michigan Press. She received the Michael Wallerstein Award for political economy in 2017. She is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former research fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University (2012-2013 and 2021-2022).




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