Assistant Professor Geoffrey Dancy


gdancy  Contact Information


   309 Norman Mayer bldg.
   New Orleans, LA 70118


   Office Hours: Tues & Wed 1-3

   Tel: (504) 862 - 8316


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)


Working Papers

“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.

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

“Victim’s Rights and Access to Justice: Human Rights Exceptionalism From Below.” Co-authored with Veronica Michel. 

“Exploring the Relationship Between Transitional Justice and Economic Inequality.” Co-authored with Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm.


Curriculum Vitae


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