Alan Keenan (Bryn Mawr College)
submitted: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 14:52:07 -0400
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
Department of Political Science
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr PA 19010-2899 USA
Description of work:
I teach courses on human rights, conflict, democratization, and
transitional justice. Before coming to Bryn Mawr, I spent much of the
previous four years in Sri Lanka as a Visiting Fellow at the
International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo. My field research, sponsored
by a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch
Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, focused on the work of Sri
Lankan human rights groups and other local "civil society" organizations
and the role their efforts played in attempts to bring about a negotiated
settlement to Sri Lanka's two decade old war. I am presently working on a
book manuscript that examines the complex politics of human rights in
Sri Lanka, with particular focus on the difficult relations between the
discourses of "human rights" and of "conflict resolution." In addition to
my academic research, I have also worked as a consultant for the Programme
on Human Rights and Conflict at the Law and Society Trust in Colombo, as
well as with the International Centre for Transitional Justice in New
York. I received my PhD in political theory from the Johns Hopkins
University, and have previously taught political, legal, and social theory
at the Universities of California at Berkeley and at Santa Cruz, and in
the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University. I am the
author of "Democracy in Question: Democratic Openness in a Time of
Political Closure" (Stanford Univ. Press, 2003), as well as articles in a
number of academic journals and edited volumes.
"Human Rights and Sacred Cows: Framing Violence, Disappearing Struggles,"
co-authored with Vasuki Nesiah, forthcoming in Neve Gordon, ed.,
Human Rights from the Margins: Critical Interventions from Around the
Globe, (New York: Lexington Books, 2004).
"Building a Democratic Middle-Ground: Professional Civil Society and the
Politics of Human Rights in Sri Lanka's Peace Process," forthcoming in
Jeff Helsing and Julie Mertus, eds., Human Rights and Conflict: New
Actors, Strategies and Ethical Dilemmas (Washington, DC: United States
Institute of Peace, 2005).
"'Is Past Past?': The Question of Transitional Justice in Sri Lankan
Human Rights Education," co-authored with Sophia Elek, a report
commissioned by The International Center for Transitional Justice
(New York: ICTJ, June 2003).
"Democratizing Human Rights, Strengthening Peace: Sri Lanka's Historic
Challenge," Tamil Times (London) Vol. XXII, No. 3, (March 15, 2003).