Amy Rothschild

Assistant Professor, Politics
School: School of Humanities and Sciences
Speciality: Human Rights/Transitional Justice; Genocide; Law & Society; Collective Memory; Timor-Leste; Nationalism; Race; Trauma


I am a Newcombe Fellow and assistant professor of sociolegal studies in the Department of Politics at Ithaca College. I hold a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

I am currently working on a book manuscript, Victims and Veterans: Memory, Nationalism, and Human Rights in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste. Victims and Veterans examines the politics of memory of the brutal 24-year Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste. One main area of focus is on the effects of international human rights discourses and practices on this politics. My scholarship contributes to the literature on human rights and transitional justice by illustrating some longer-term, unintended, and ambiguous outcomes of transitional justice mechanisms and the discourses they promote. I situate my work in the larger context of global trends in remembrance of conflict and war. Data for this book comes from work and long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Timor-Leste. My engagement with Timor-Leste began in 2002 when I worked at Timor-Leste’s truth commission as a human rights lawyer before beginning my Ph.D.

Some of the  grants, awards, and fellowships I have received to conduct my research (including national and international grants) include the following: Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship; Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant; UCSD President’s Dissertation Writing Fellowship; Dan David Prize Scholarship (for Studies on History and Memory); UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation Dissertation Fellowship; UCSD Center for Humanities Dissertation Writing Fellowship; and UC Pacific Rim Advanced Graduate Research Fellowship.

Reflecting my post-graduate studies, in which I moved from law to anthropology, my research and teaching are highly interdisciplinary, spanning the fields of international human rights and humanitarian law, anthropology, sociology, history, political science, genocide studies, and global studies.

Before beginning my Ph.D. in anthropology, I worked for years in a variety of countries and contexts in the Global South. In addition to working as a human rights lawyer in Timor and Eritrea (where my work was linked to the Ethiopian-Eritrean Claims Commission in the Hague), I worked in the fields of international human rights, humanitarianism, and development in India, northern Ghana, and Guatemala. I also taught English as second language in Indonesia and worked as a consultant for the World Bank (the latter job occurred during my Ph.D.).

At IC, I teach courses on law, justice, human rights, memory, genocide, and interdisciplinary legal research.