University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Ardeshir Pezeshk

Professional Title: 

Graduate Student and Ph.D. Candidate


Office Hours: 

By appointment.


2012. M.A. Political Science, San Diego State University; 2007. B.A. Political Science, San Francisco State University


I am currently an ABD doctoral student. My main field of study is international relations but my interest in what shapes the use, utility, and limits of political violence, particularly against civilians, has resulted in a deep engagement with the field of comparative politics. My research focuses on the effect(s) of the civilian immunity norm on warring party behavior. Key to this is developing a more systematic way of measuring norm robustness or strength over time. I also very much enjoy working with students as both an Instructor and Teaching Assistant. My goal as an instructor is to help students identify and adjudicate truth claims about the world and how it works. 


My dissertation focuses on the effect(s) of the civilian immunity norm on warring party behavior. Distinguishing between the civilian immunity norm and international humanitarian law protecting civilians from deliberate violence, my dissertation examines various norm effects including regulative, constitutive, and permissive effects. In doing so I adopt a multi-method framework first constructing and applying a more systematic measure of norm robustness - as opposed to norm presence - over time and then utilizing case studies to trace these processes in difficult cases in which the civilian victimization literature suggests belligerents are most likely to victimize civilians for strategic and organizational reasons.