My work addresses normative questions related to war
and mass violence. Find brief summaries of papers &
links to full publications below, or see my current C.V.
Unconscionable Crimes: How Norms Explain and Constrain Mass Atrocities
MIT Press, September 2020 Website
Presents the first general theory of the influence of norms on genocide and mass atrocity. Addresses outstanding problems of explanation and prevention posed by large-scale crimes. Employs primary sources consulted at the Fortunoff Archive, the Wiener Library, the Bodleian Library, and elswhere.
Articles and Book Chapters
Naturalizing the Centennial: History, Memory, and the Limits of Human Lifespans
Memory Studies, 2020
Provides a naturalistic account of centennials based on long-standing upper limits to human lifespans. Shows how these limits explain centennials' key social functions as standards of greatness, mirrors of progress, and spurs to renovation. Considers how centennial practices might change in a future age of extended longevity.
Identity-Directed Norm Transformations and Moral Progress
Journal of Value Inquiry, 2019 PDF
Analyzes the relationship between identity-instituting and identity-vindicating norm transformations. Draws on archival sources to show that such transformations can provide both
evidence of, and mechanisms for, moral progress.
Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence, 2018
Defends a contingent pacifist position towards personal participation in war. Critiques the
account of individual decision-making about prospective military service offered in L.A. Paul's
Transformative Experience, and provides an alternative analysis of the moral and epistemic conditions
for this choice.
A Theory of Atrocity Propaganda
Humanity, 2018 PDF
Develops a novel theory of atrocity propaganda rooted in C.L. Stevenson's notion of persuasive
definition. Explains how accusations of engaging in atrocity propagandizing can themselves serve
propagandistic purposes, and outlines strategies for defusing this threat.
Are Holocaust Museums Unique?
Argues that Holocaust museums are comparable to other kinds of museums in their selection
of exhibits, strategies for educating patrons, and reliance on professional and artifactual networks.
The Thesis of Norm Transformation in the Theory of Mass Atrocity
Genocide Studies and Prevention, 2015 PDF
Clarifies and defends the claim that changes in norms are central to both the explanation and the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity. Considers possibilities for the evaluative extension of this thesis.
Mass Atrocity and Manipulation of Social Norms
Social Theory and Practice, 2014 PDF
Assesses means by which manipulation of social norms may help encourage, or alternatively deter, individual participation in mass atrocity. Provides detailed discussion of the historical case of Nazi language rules.