Assistant Professor Geoffrey Dancy


Geoffrey Dancy

Assistant Professor

Office Hours : T 10-12 & W 2-3, 309 Norman Mayer

Contact Information : 862-8309,

Research Interests

Geoff Dancy studies international human rights law, transitional justice, repression, civil war, and resistance.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in summer 2013.

Geoff’s dissertation and working book project criticizes the ways in which International human rights law is often disparaged either for having no positive impact on government repression or for having negative unintended consequences that lead to even worse repressive violence. Most empirical scholarship on human rights indicates that the root causes of widespread repression—authoritarianism, democratic instability, and civil war—are beyond the reach of legal rules. The contribution of this project is to demonstrate that human rights law in fact has an important role to play in addressing these root causes. He argues that human rights legal action, under certain conditions, promotes democracy and prevents conflict recurrence. This takes time. By slowly changing state-society interactions, the pursuit of human rights legalization is causally related to lessened repressive violence. Importantly, though, these contributions are not guaranteed, and they are dependent on the creation of domestic human rights constituencies.

From 2010-2013, Geoff served as a director for a National Science Foundation Project called “The Impact of Transitional Justice on Human Rights and Democracy” under the supervision of Kathryn Sikkink (Harvard) and Leigh Payne (Oxford).  This project, for which Geoff remains a consultant, collects data and analyzes the effects of transitional justice efforts from around the world.


Geoff enjoys traveling, and has performed field research in Northern Ireland, Israel, and Sri Lanka. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music in New Orleans, playing basketball badly, playing ultimate Frisbee well, and reliving his days as a high school racecar driver. He is also the co-founder of a fledgling blog on sports and politics at


Introduction to International Relations  (Fall 2013 and Spring 2014)

International Human Rights (Fall 2013)

Scope and Methods (Spring 2014)

The Future of Human Rights (Summer 2014)

Human Rights at Home – Service Learning (Fall 2014)

International Relations and Political Theory (Fall 2014)

Recent Research

“Bridge to Human Development of Vehicle of Inequality? Exploring the Relationship between Transitional Justice and Economic Structures” (with Eric Wiebelhaus –Brahm). Forthcoming, International Journal of Transitional Justice.

“Human Rights Data, Processes, and Outcomes: How Recent Research Points to a Better Future” (with Kathryn Sikkink), forthcoming in Human Rights Futures, ed. Stephen Hopgood, Jack Snyder, and Leslie Vinjamuri.

“Human Rights Enforcement From Below: Private Actors and Prosecutorial Momentum in Latin America and Europe” (with Veronica Michel). Revise and Resubmit, International Studies Quarterly.

“The Transitional Justice Research Collaborative: Bridging the Qualitative-Quantitative Divide With New Data” (with Bridget Marchesi, Leigh Payne, and Kathryn Sikkink), Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Peace Research.

“Behind Bars and Bargains: How Justice Policies Change Human Rights Practices in New Democracies.” Co-authored with Bridget Marchesi, Tricia Olsen, Leigh Payne, Andrew Reiter, and Kathryn Sikkink. Under Review.

Unintended Positive Complementarity: Why International Criminal Court Investigations Increase Domestic Human Rights Prosecutions” (with Florencia Montal). Under review.

“The Hidden Successes of International Human Rights Law” (with Christopher Fariss). Under Review.

“Dictatorship, Defensive Treaty Ratification, and Democratization.” Under Review

Curriculum Vitae

Tulane University, Political Science Dept, 316 Norman Mayer Bldg, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5166