Publications

2019
Erica Chenoweth. 10/23/2019. “The science of contemporary street protest: New efforts in the United States.” Science Advances 5 (10). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, there has been substantial and ongoing protest against the Administration. Street demonstrations are some of the most visible forms of opposition to the Administration and its policies. This article reviews the two most central methods for studying street protest on a large scale: building comprehensive event databases and conducting field surveys of participants at demonstrations. After discussing the broader development of these methods, this article provides a detailed assessment of recent and ongoing projects studying the current wave of contention. Recommendations are offered to meet major challenges, including making data publicly available in near real time, increasing the validity and reliability of event data, expanding the scope of crowd surveys, and integrating ongoing projects in a meaningful way by building new research infrastructure.
Ralph Ranalli. 10/4/2019. “Erica Chenoweth illuminates the value of nonviolent resistance in societal conflicts.” Harvard Kennedy School.Abstract
See HKS's new article featuring Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research.

Paths to Resistance: Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research shows the value of nonviolent resistance in societal conflicts, making her a resource for activists opposing oppressive regimes worldwide.
 

THEY REACH OUT TO ERICA CHENOWETH ALMOST DAILY—from Africa, South America, the Middle East, Europe, even the United States. They hail from places where authoritarian officials are tightening their grip, where repression is on the rise, and where citizens are mobilizing against governments they want to unseat. Their inquiries usually boil down to one key question: How can we win without resorting to violence?

Chenoweth’s painstaking research, unprecedented in its scope and historical breadth, has shed new light on the understanding of civil resistance, political change, and the surprising effectiveness of nonviolent action.

It has made Chenoweth, a professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, one of an elite group of global experts on civil resistance. She is sought out both for her remarkable chronicling of nonviolent movements and for her understanding of what can potentially make or break them.

Read full article here. 

 

Ralph Ranalli. 10/4/2019. “Paths to Resistance”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Paths to Resistance: Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research shows the value of nonviolent resistance in societal conflicts, making her a resource for activists opposing oppressive regimes worldwide

Ralph Ranalli. 10/1/2019. “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.” Harvard Kennedy School. Publisher's Version
Ralph Ranalli. 9/30/2019. “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.” Harvard Kennedy School .Abstract
See the HKS article on the new Carr Center Rights and Responsibilities Initiative.

Americans live in a country founded on the concept of individual rights, but human rights experts say more work still needs to be done teaching people what rights actually are, where they come from, and how their neighbors’ rights intertwine with their own.

A major new initiative from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy will seek to bridge that gap, particularly in the area of how individual rights are inextricably linked to societal responsibility. The two-year research initiative is titled “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the US.”

“We want to get people to think about human rights and to remind them of their relevance,” said Mathias Risse, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration and faculty director of the Carr Center. “We want to remind people of the content of the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to remind people of the significance of looking after every single person. That’s really the purpose of this initiative.”

See full article here. 

 

 

Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence
Erica Chenoweth, Deborah Avant, Marie Berry, Rachel Epstein, Cullen Hendrix, Oliver Kaplan, and Timothy Sisk. 9/25/2019. Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence, Pp. 320. Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Many view civil wars as violent contests between armed combatants. But history shows that community groups, businesses, NGOs, local governments, and even armed groups can respond to war by engaging in civil action. Characterized by a reluctance to resort to violence and a willingness to show enough respect to engage with others, civil action can slow, delay, or prevent violent escalations. This volume explores how people in conflict environments engage in civil action, and the ways such action has affected violence dynamics in Syria, Peru, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Spain, and Colombia. These cases highlight the critical and often neglected role that civil action plays in conflicts around the world.
Michelle G. Kurilla. 9/10/2019. “Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Talks Ethics and Technology at Kennedy School.” The Harvard Crimson. Publisher's Version
The Education of an Idealist
Samantha Power. 9/10/2019. The Education of an Idealist. Dey Street Books. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question "What can one person do?"—and a call for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives. The Education of an Idealist traces Power’s distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official.
James F. Smith. 9/5/2019. “Transnational rights groups face promise and perils of technology.” Harvard Kennedy School. Publisher's VersionAbstract
HKS web article featuring Carr Center's Executive Director Sushma Raman.
 

In recent decades, global civil society and transnational advocacy groups have achieved breakthroughs on human rights through creative organizing and social movement-building, especially when working with partners on the ground. But unless they adapt to and embrace fast-evolving technological tools, they risk being outplayed by the governments and corporations they seek to confront.

Sushma Raman, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, outlined these challenges and opportunities during a recent seminar, part of the series, “Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century.”  Titled “Technology, Tyranny, Transnational Advocacy,” Raman’s seminar explored what she called the promise and the perils of technology for human rights organizations.

Read full article on the HKS website.

Sigal Samuel. 8/7/2019. “Trump wants to “detect mass shooters before they strike.” It won’t work.” Vox.Abstract

New article on Vox highlights the work of Desmond Patton, Technology and Human Rights Fellow.

Patton, emphasized that current AI tools tend to identify the language of African American and Latinx people as gang-involved or otherwise threatening, but consistently miss the posts of white mass murderers.

"I think technology is a tool, not the tool," said Patton. "Often we use it as an escape so as to not address critical solutions that need to come through policy. We have to pair tech with gun reform. Any effort that suggests we need to do them separately, I don’t think that would be a successful effort at all.”

Read full article here. 

8/7/2019. “Trump wants to “detect mass shooters before they strike.” It won’t work.” Vox.com. Publisher's VersionAbstract

New article on Vox highlights the work of Desmond Patton, Technology and Human Rights Fellow.

Desmond Patton, a Technology and AI fellow at the Carr Center, emphasized that current AI tools tend to identify the language of African American and Latinx people as gang-involved or otherwise threatening, but consistently miss the posts of white mass murderers.

"I think technology is a tool, not the tool," said Patton. "Often we use it as an escape so as to not address critical solutions that need to come through policy. We have to pair tech with gun reform. Any effort that suggests we need to do them separately, I don’t think that would be a successful effort at all.”

Erica Chenoweth Margherita & Belgioioso. 8/5/2019. “The physics of dissent and the effects of movement momentum.” Nature Human Behaviour, 3, 10, Pp. 1088–1095.Abstract
For people power movements, does momentum equal mass times velocity? Erica Chenoweth & Margherita Belgioioso reflect on their recent findings in Nature Human Behaviour.

The recent revolutions in Algeria and Sudan remind us that bottom-up movements of people power can create sweeping political transformations. They did this in part by mobilizing huge numbers of active protestors—1 million in Algeria, and around 1 million in Sudan—which constituted impressive numbers in absolute terms. Yet due to coordination problems and the possibility of free riding—where those who stay on the side-lines can benefit from the results of mass mobilization without paying the costs or assuming the risk of participation—few mass movements have been able to mobilize significant proportions of their population. Algeria’s peak event during its “Smile Revolution” reportedly mobilized under 2.5% of the country’s population to effectively topple Bouteflika’s government in March 2019. And Sudan’s ongoing revolution, which reportedly mobilized fewer than 2.5% of Sudan’s national population, has already toppled the 30-year role of Omar al-Bashir and forced the transitional military council into a transitional power-sharing agreement with the opposition.

How do people power movements succeed while mobilizing modest proportions of the population? And how can dissidents successfully assess their power along the way? In our paper, we begin to answer these questions by turning to a simple metaphor: the physical law of momentum.

Read full article here. 

Erica Chenoweth and Margherita Belgioioso. 8/5/2019. “The physics of dissent and the effects of movement momentum.” Nature Human Behaviour. Publisher's VersionAbstract
How do ‘people power’ movements succeed when modest proportions of the population participate? Here we propose that the effects of social movements increase as they gain momentum. We approximate a simple law drawn from physics: momentum equals mass times velocity (p = mv). We propose that the momentum of dissent is a product of participation (mass) and the number of protest events in a week (velocity). We test this simple physical proposition against panel data on the potential effects of movement momentum on irregular leader exit in African countries between 1990 and 2014, using a variety of estimation techniques. Our findings show that social movements potentially compensate for relatively modest popular support by concentrating their activities in time, thus increasing their disruptive capacity. Notably, these findings also provide a straightforward way for dissidents to easily quantify their coercive potential by assessing their participation rates and increased concentration of their activities over time.
On the Future of Human Rights. CCPD 2019-008.
Sherif Elsayed-Ali. 7/12/2019. On the Future of Human Rights. CCPD 2019-008.. Carr Center for Human Rights.Abstract

The human rights framework has had many successes in the 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, but is still relevant to today’s challenges? In the last few years, human rights practitioners have raised the alarm on what seems like sustained attacks on human rights from some governments. But there is a bigger threat to the future of human rights: that people could see them as less relevant to their lives. My aim is to provide a constructive critique of human rights practice and messaging, together with three main proposals: 1. putting climate change at the top of the human rights agenda; 2. significantly increasing the amount of work on Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) rights undertaken by human rights advocacy and campaigning organizations, and 3. adopting a system-analysis and solutions-based approach to human rights. 

ccdp_2019_008_future_of_human_rights.pdf
Mark Latonero. 7/11/2019. “Stop Surveillance Humanitarianism.” The New York Times. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Mark Latonero – Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow, and research lead at Data & Society – discusses surveillance humanitarianism for The New York Times

A standoff between the United Nations World Food Program and Houthi rebels in control of the capital region is threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Yemen.

Alarmed by reports that food is being diverted to support the rebels, the aid program is demanding that Houthi officials allow them to deploy biometric technologies like iris scans and digital fingerprints to monitor suspected fraud during food distribution.

The Houthis have reportedly blocked food delivery, painting the biometric effort as an intelligence operation, and have demanded access to the personal data on beneficiaries of the aid. The impasse led the aid organization to the decision last month to suspend food aid to parts of the starving population — once thought of as a last resort — unless the Houthis allow biometrics.

Read the full article.

Douglas A. Johnson. 6/25/2019. “Reclaiming Stonewall: Welcome to the Celebration—and the Struggle.” The Nation. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A new edition of The Nation examines the meaning of Stonewall. 


Guest edited by Timothy McCarthy, the issue asks us, 'What still needs to be done?'

"Anniversaries are occasions for remembrance, even pride and celebration, but they should also be moments of reckoning, which offer us the opportunity to reflect critically on where we come from, where we are, and where we go from here. 

To help us reckon with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, The Nation invited a remarkable group of LGBTQ activists, artists, and academics to reflect on its many legacies. Ranging in age from 23 to 88 years old, the participants in “Reclaiming Stonewall” represent the stunning diversity of our community across generations. Combining the personal and the political, this collection of living queer histories is something of an archive of our moment, when many of us are grappling with what might be called the paradox of progress: the coexistence of important changes—in courtrooms and legislatures, hearts and minds—with seemingly intractable challenges.

As we reckon with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, let us heed all these voices and ask, “What still needs to be done?” If the legacy and inheritance of Stonewall mean anything, it’s that our fight is far from over and that our collective struggle for liberation—for everyone—must continue."

—Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Timothy Patrick McCarthy. 6/24/2019. “Reclaiming Stonewall: Welcome to the Celebration—and the Struggle.” The Nation.Abstract

"Fifty years ago, in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, a motley multitude of queer folks fought back. The stage was the Stonewall Inn, a popular Mafia-owned gay bar on Christopher Street in New York City’s West Village. The spectacle was a police raid, which had become an increasingly routine fact of queer life during the 1960s. It was summer, people were hot, and the nation was pulsing with protest."

Read more: https://www.thenation.com/article/stonewall-1969-progress-paradox/

6/10/2019. “The Quest For Inclusive & Ethical Technology.” WUWM Milwaukee NPR. Bonnie North. Publisher's VersionAbstract

New interview with Technology and Human Rights Fellow Sabelo Mhlambi.

https://www.wuwm.com/post/quest-inclusive-ethical-technology

"Most of us think of technology as a neutral force. Objects or processes are designed and implemented to solve problems and there are no biases, implied or overt, at work. But Sabelo Mhlambi says, not so fast. The computer scientist and researcher says technology cannot be neutral. What gets made, who makes it and uses it, and why is dependent upon our societies — and all societies are biased.

"Technology will only replicate who we are," he explains. "Our social interactions will still occur online anyway. So, there’s nothing magical about technology where it somehow brings neutrality or brings equality or equity."

Steven Livingston and Mathias Risse. 6/7/2019. “The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Humans and Human Rights.” Ethics and International Affairs, 33, 2, Pp. 141-158. Publisher's VersionAbstract
What are the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on human rights in the next three decades? Precise answers to this question are made difficult by the rapid rate of innovation in AI research and by the effects of human practices on the adaption of new technologies. Precise answers are also challenged by imprecise usages of the term “AI.” There are several types of research that all fall under this general term. We begin by clarifying what we mean by AI. Most of our attention is then focused on the implications of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which entail that an algorithm or group of algorithms will achieve something like superintelligence. While acknowledging that the feasibility of superintelligence is contested, we consider the moral and ethical implications of such a potential development. What do machines owe humans and what do humans owe superintelligent machines?
5/17/2019. “Big tech firms are racing to track climate refugees.” MIT Technology Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract

New article features Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Mark Latonero.

"Simply layering technology on top of existing humanitarian problems tends to exacerbate the issues it intended to resolve. In a new report on the role of digital identity in refugee and migrant contexts, a team of researchers at the Data & Society Research Institute, led by Mark Latonero, detail the various ways these initiatives can reproduce and worsen existing bureaucratic biases."

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613531/big-tech-firms-are-racing-to-t...

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