Jacqueline R. McAllister joined Kenyon's faculty in 2014. McAllister’s scholarship is aimed at understanding whether, how and when international justice efforts impact ongoing conflicts. Her research has taken her all over the world, from the Balkans to Nigeria. McAllister’s work has appeared in leading scholarly journals and foreign policy magazines, as well as received support from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, National Science Foundation, the American Association of University Women and the American Council of Learned Societies. McAllister has also served as an expert panelist at a U.N.-sponsored conference on the legacy of the Yugoslav Tribunal.

McAllister is a winner of Kenyon’s Trustee Teaching Excellence Award. She teaches courses on international relations, transitional justice, human rights, war crimes tribunals, international organizations, civil wars and U.S. foreign policy.

Areas of Expertise

International relations, human rights, civil wars


2014 — Doctor of Philosophy from Northwestern University

2008 — Master of Arts from Northwestern University

2006 — Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College, cum laude

Courses Recently Taught

This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Offered every spring.

This course is an introduction to the study of international relations. It first provides students with the analytical tools and concepts necessary to understand and explain the interactions of states and other actors in the international system. It then explores some of the most pressing political problems and challenges in the modern international system. The course will discuss issues such as the importance of power in the international system, the origins of war and peace, the challenges of the new global economy, security and terrorism, and the implications of these trends for the 21st century. This course is required for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or first-year students currently enrolled in PSCI 102Y. Offered every year.

Since 1945, the vast majority of conflicts have taken place within states. Indeed, by the 1970s civil wars or wars within states had become the dominant form of warfare, noteworthy both for their intensity and duration. This course surveys theories about the causes, process, management and resolution of this pervasive form of modern conflict. It also looks at how the international community has and continues to deal with these conflicts, focusing on such topics as peacekeeping, the (adverse) effects of humanitarian aid and transitional justice. Historical and contemporary civil wars, ranging from the Yugoslav War to the conflict in the Sudan, will serve as case studies, which we will analyze in-depth. The course aims to provide students with strong theoretical and historical foundations, which can assist them in recognizing the difficult choices policy-makers face when intervening in civil wars. For instance, students will come to appreciate the tension between states rights, human rights and whether to intervene in a civil war. Students should walk away from the course prepared to think through policy options associated with the prevention, management and resolution of civil wars. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Human rights represent an incredibly powerful idea that is a source of great controversy in contemporary world politics. Seeking to avert the horrors of another world war, state officials came together in the late 1940s to craft a body of laws governing what rights humans are entitled to, simply on the basis of being human. These laws embody aspirations of what it means to live a life of dignity. They additionally constitute important political tools that an array of actors in world politics have mobilized around to achieve different goals. However, human rights law and norms face challenges. In particular, questions of whether rights apply universally persist. Moreover, there is a disconnect between the aspiration and realization of human rights in practice. This struggle over human rights, what they mean and their realization represent the foci of the course. Firstly we will explore the foundations of the modern human rights regime in history and theory. Next, we will examine how the human rights regime operates. Last, we will study a number of human rights issues, ranging from torture debates to women’s and children’s rights. Students will perform a simulation on a major human rights issue. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations or seminar requirements for the major. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor.

The post-Cold War era has witnessed horrific violence against civilians. Genocidal campaigns have consumed Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur and Syria. ‘Ethnic cleansing’ is now a common turn of phrase. Child soldiers are the face of countless conflicts. Too many families continue to search for disappeared loved ones. In establishing an array of transitional justice mechanisms, members of the international community have sought to curb such horrors and perhaps break the cycles of violence that perpetuate them. Such efforts have raised a number of questions. How should states and societies contend with legacies of mass atrocity? What are the appropriate mechanisms for addressing massive human rights abuses? Should states institute war crimes trials, truth commissions, reparations, institutional reforms, mobile justice units, “traditional” justice, or should they simply try to forget and move forward from their violent pasts? Can societies truly forget or ever move on? How do transitional justice efforts translate at the local-level? What is their impact, both positive and negative? Is it possible to realize the “truth” about past violence? Is it possible to realize “justice”? The first part of the course will provide a theoretical and philosophical framework for thinking about transitional justice. We will then focus on specific transitional justice mechanisms, ranging from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Also addressed are the impact of such mechanisms on local communities and how well they meet their intended goals. We will conclude with a Transitional Justice Conference in which we explore the limits and potential of transitional justice. Prerequisite: junior standing

International organizations are essential, yet controversial actors in world politics. At the start of the 21st century, there were over 50,000 international organizations working on an array of issues. Their work affects the lives of billions of people. Consider any contemporary war, trade dispute, financial crisis, human rights issue or environmental concern and international organizations are likely involved, if not playing a central role. They work to halt war crimes, rebuild war-torn societies, reduce extreme poverty and disease, promote gender equality, help states mediate environmental problems and overcome financial crises. International organizations have nonetheless been subject to relentless criticism, with critics claiming that they aggravate the very problems they are supposed to solve. This course explores the role of international organizations in world politics. We will look at how past and current international organizations have grappled with a host of issues, ranging from international trade to humanitarian intervention. Students will learn about the origins, politics and effects of diverse international organizations, including the Bretton Woods Institutions (the International Monetary Fund and World Bank), the World Trade Organization, various United Nations agencies, the International Criminal Court, civil society organizations and select regional organizations. Prerequisite: sophomore standing

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