Cornell University Press

The Regulation of Armed Conflict

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In Wars of Law: Unintended Consequences in the Regulation of Armed Conflict, Tanisha M. Fazal assesses the unintended consequences of the proliferation of the laws of war for the commencement, conduct, and conclusion of wars over the course of the past one hundred fifty years. Ahead of #APSA2020, we asked the author 3 questions about the research for her book and the implications of the laws of war.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book?

On two separate research trips, my plane was delayed significantly in ways that meant hastily rescheduling interviews. I have fond memories of a long chat with a representative from a humanitarian NGO on the steps behind the main train station in Geneva between my arrival and his commute home, as well as a long walk with a representative of the South Moluccan government in exile. In both cases, the interviews were less formal than I’d planned, but more fruitful as a result.

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now?

I wish I’d known how *long* it would take me to write the book! But all the twists and turns were fascinating, and ultimately worth it.

3. How do you wish you could change the field of Political Science?

I think we need to retrain ourselves to focus on policy, in ways that apply smart methodological approaches to key policy questions, and with an eye to making the world a better place. I also think we need to do a better job training our graduate students for non-academic careers. I’ve held this view for years, but career pressures on graduate students have become more urgent given the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Featured photo by Jay Rembert.


Tanisha M. Fazal is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of State Death, winner of the Best Book Award of the APSA Conflict Processes Section.

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