Skip to main content

Let's Talk Human Rights

Call for Papers: Limits of Legal Responses to Genocide and Mass Atrocity

The HRC is excited to announce a call for papers on the theme “Limits of Legal Responses to Genocide and Mass Atrocity.” Accepted papers will be presented in draft at a virtual workshop in March 2023. Finalized papers will then be submitted as a special issue to Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal. HRC faculty Paul Morrow and Shelley Inglis will serve as guest editors for the special issue, while Shannon Fyfe & Douglas Irvin-Erickson of George Mason University will serve as lead editors. Check out the details of the call and specifics on process below:

Call for Papers

The UN Genocide Convention (1948) aims to “prevent and punish” the crime of genocide. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 1998 “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of [serious international] crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes.” Scholars and lawyers initially assumed that these laws and institutions would provide accountability for, and ultimately curtail, large-scale crimes. Yet, as the years have passed and genocide and other atrocity crimes have continued to occur, the link between law and the causes of atrocities has come into question. As the body of critical scholarship produced by historians, social scientists, and legal scholars grows, many experts have concluded that laws and legal institutions cannot prevent genocide and other mass atrocities.

Is it time to give up on law and the rule of law as means to prevent mass atrocities? If so, why have legal efforts at prevention failed, and what alternatives should be pursued? If not, how should shortcomings of existing legal norms and institutions be addressed, and what kinds of additional prevention frameworks should be adopted?

This special issue and workshop are intended to address these questions, while exploring new empirical and theoretical reflections on the relationship between law and mass atrocity. Alongside foundational instruments like the Genocide Convention, more recent legal responses to specific dimensions of mass atrocities, such as conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), incitement and “atrocity speech,” and the use of child soldiers are ripe for critical appraisal. The editors welcome a wide variety of paper proposals, encouraging contributions from lawyers and legal and feminist scholars, political scientists and sociologists, philosophers and anthropologists, and other disciplinary perspectives. We also invite contributions from human rights practitioners, justice sector officials, and others working on the front lines of genocide and mass atrocity prevention. 

Examples of possible paper topics include: gaps and omissions in the international law of genocide and atrocity crimes; geographical and gender-based biases in the application of legal instruments; failures by hegemonic states to address charges of mass atrocity within their own borders or by their own people; the enduring influence of colonial-era laws and policies on patterns of perpetration and response; the emerging role of art, story-telling and digital technologies in documenting CRSV and other cases; and feminist and other critiques of the structural failures of institutions like the UN Security Council, the ICC, and other bodies legally tasked with preventing and responding to mass atrocity. We are also interested in papers that assess the roles of civil society groups, women-led organizations and survivors in legal responses to atrocities, and papers that analyze legal challenges encountered in specific, understudied national, ethnic, or cultural contexts.  

On 9-10 March 2023, The Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton will host a virtual workshop for contributors to share draft manuscripts, workshop their papers, and commit to a shared timeline for revisions. Find full details on the process below.

To Apply for the Workshop:

  • Send a 150-word proposal to Paul Morrow, cc’ing Shannon Fyfe, by Nov. 20, 2022.
  • Include a statement acknowledging your commitment to producing a 7,000 to 10,000 word final manuscript by Sept. 1, 2023.
  • Include a short biographical statement about yourself and any co-authors.

Further Details and Timeline:

  • Apply to join the workshop and special issue by Nov. 20, 2022.
  • The guest editors will respond, informing you on whether your proposal has been accepted, by Dec. 18, 2022.
  • Contributors will send their manuscripts to the Guest Editors by March 1, 2023, in Microsoft Word. Please format manuscripts in Chicago footnote style, according to GSP’s style guidelines (available from their website).
  • Manuscripts will be shared with workshop members, who commit to reading the other papers before the workshop and sharing any comments with the authors using track changes.
  • During the workshop, on March 9-10, 2023, authors will present their papers for 10 minutes, with the understanding that fellow workshop members have already read the paper. Twenty minutes will be devoted to discussing each paper and sharing feedback.
  • Final edited manuscripts will be submitted to Genocide Studies and Prevention for peer review by Sept. 1, 2023. Per GSP requirements, authors should submit their manuscripts directly through the GSP website. 

About the Journal: Genocide Studies and Prevention (GSP) is the flagship journal of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. A signatory of DORA — a pledge to eliminate the use of journal-based citation metrics to evaluate scientists and journals that has been endorsed by several European governments’ national-level research agencies and leading academic departments around the world — GSP is an open-access journal and does not report citation metrics. GSP is one of the largest scholarly journals in the world, with over 150,000 annual readers and article downloads from almost every country.

Publication Process: GSP is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal with a rejection rate ranging between 85 to 90 percent. The Special Guest Editors of this special issue are not involved in the peer-review process, and we cannot guarantee acceptance of the article. The GSP editorial board will be charged with arranging the peer reviews and will have the final say over whether an article is published or not.

However, manuscripts that do not make it into the GSP will be reserved for an edited book of workshop proceedings. This edited volume will include reprints of the GSP articles, as GSP follows a creative commons copyright that gives authors control of their manuscripts.

Photo: Unsplash

Previous Post

Federal grant for extremism prevention awarded to UD HRC

The Human Rights Center received a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant for a new project, PREVENTS-OH, which will develop a network of organizations to help prevent domestic violent extremism in southwest Ohio.
Read More
Next Post

2022 Summer Fellowships: Dandelion

This summer the HRC selected 13 Summer Fellows for work with partner organizations on human rights related issues. In this blog series, HRC summer fellows describe their experience working with partner organizations.

Read More