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 discusses 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, serve as case studies, which we 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 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. First, we explore the foundations of the modern human-rights regime in history and theory. Next, we examine how the human-rights regime operates. Last, we study a number of human-rights issues, ranging from torture debates to women’s and children’s rights. Students perform a simulation on a major human-rights issue. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations or seminar requirements for the major and the law and society concentration. 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. Racism in places like the United States continues to fuel economic, social and political violence against Blacks, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).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 (such as police reform), mobile-justice units, and “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”? And, most intriguingly, why have transitional justice efforts largely failed to materialize in the United States, despite its legacy of slavery, genocide of indigenous peoples and ongoing violence against BIPOC? Does transitional justice provide the appropriate tools to contend with abuses, both past and present? The first part of the course provides a theoretical and philosophical framework for thinking about transitional justice. We then focus on specific transitional justice mechanisms, ranging from the International Criminal Court 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. Throughout the course, we additionally compare and contrast the experience of the United States with that of other societies that have and have not employed transitional justice to confront their own legacies of mass violence. At the end of the course, we hold a transitional justice conference in which we explore the limits and potential of transitional justice, both at home and abroad. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations or seminar requirement for the major and the law and society concentration. Prerequisite: junior standing

Individual study in political science is available to students who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a focused research project on a topic not regularly offered in the department's curriculum. To enroll, a student must prepare a proposal in consultation with a member of the political science faculty who has suitable expertise and is willing to work with the student over the course of a semester. The proposal should include a statement of the questions the student plans to explore, a preliminary bibliography, a schedule of assignments, a schedule of meetings with the faculty member and a description of the elements that will be factored into the course grade. The student also should briefly describe any prior coursework that particularly qualifies him or her to pursue the project independently. The department chair must approve the proposal. The department expects the student to meet regularly with the instructor for at least the equivalent of one hour per week. Reading assignments vary depending on the topic but should approximate a regular departmental course in that field. Students should expect to write at least 30 pages over the course of the semester for an individual study bearing 0.5 units of credit. The chair must receive proposals by the third day of classes. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study by the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval.