My research and teaching explores the history of human rights, transnational networks, Latin America, and international relations. In my current book manuscript, "Of Light and Struggle” in Uruguay: Contesting the International History of Human Rights, I investigate the evolution of human rights discourse, particularly during Uruguay’s transition back to democratic rule. I argue that throughout the country’s experience with dictatorship, a politicized language of human rights often helped transnational actors, local human rights groups, and U.S. foreign policy makers give new force to values deeply rooted in earlier ideas of social justice. By examining the case of Uruguay from each actor’s distinct analytical perspective, I illuminate both convergence and tension among these groups that produced contested and ever-changing meanings of human rights. The analysis of Uruguay exposes battles over democracy and the ways social actors struggled to employ a new global language, especially during the 1980s when forging a successful transition back to democratic rule became so urgent. Rather than focus on a point of origins that launched human rights and its diffusion internationally, my research argues for examining the nonteleological history of rights within local communities, and how they influenced, and were influenced by, broader global movements.
My research is informed by my experience outside the classroom as well. I have worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice, Freedom House, and the Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica in Colombia. I have also written for a variety of online forums on these topics which can be found here.
Before coming to Harvard in the fall of 2017, I taught courses on human rights, Latin America, and U.S. foreign policy at New York University, Hunter College, and St. Francis College. I received my BA from Vassar College and MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.