Back to top

Kathleen Cavanaugh

The College
Pozen Center Executive Director and Senior Instructional Professor

Kathleen Cavanaugh is a socio-legal scholar, Executive Director of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, and Senior Professor (Instrl) in the College.

Professor Cavanaugh’s scholarship, like her academic training, is interdisciplinary and seeks to interrogate questions of law in its social context. She has published on international human rights and humanitarian law; theoretical as well as applied research on the use of political violence; ethno-nationalism; Islam and rights-based discourse, minority rights in the Middle East; story telling in meta conflicts, and more recently, militant democracy and the politics of memory.

Her current research projects include a study of Militant Democracy and the Preventative State, that examines how the permanence of emergency has given the concept of ‘securitization of rights’ legal legs and Memory Wars & Populism that examines how operative memory associated with populist nationalistic discourses in three cases—the United Kingdom, the United States and Turkey—utilise antagonistic frames of belonging/not belonging and how these hegemonic discourses inform practice.

As a consultant, she has undertaken numerous missions on behalf of Amnesty International including to Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq. She has conducted trainings for governmental as well as non-governmental organizations throughout the Middle East (Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan), India, and the Republic of Ireland.