Professor Kathy Powers is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico. She also holds appointments in the UNM School of Law, Program of Africana Studies, the Center for Social Policy as well as the Department of Government at Georgetown University. She is interested in the role of institutions and law in international politics specifically in human rights, trade and conflict. Her research focuses on the role of reparations in the aftermath of mass atrocities globally, the design and authority of international organizations, as well as the security implications of regional economic institutions. Professor Powers has published her research in diverse venues such as the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Peace Research, International Interactions, Foreign Policy Analysis, the Review of International Studies, and the NAACP Special Edition. The National Science Foundation has supported her research on numerous occasions. She was recently awarded multiple fellowships to conduct research for her book Making Amends: The Institutional and Legal Landscape of Global Reparations while in residency at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Project Summary

Once a form of victor’s justice—the mandatory payment defeated belligerents pay to the victor at the end of interstate war—reparations are today often used to facilitate justice, repair harm, enable post conflict reconstruction, and facilitate transitional justice. However, a sea change is occurring in how the international community conceives what constitutes reparations, their purpose, why they are pursued, when they are awarded, and who should pay them. The use of such redress has increased in frequency, has spread globally across national borders, and has defined a new landscape of institutional and legal venues at levels above and below the state that have fundamentally impacted international and domestic politics. The purpose of this book is to illustrate the institutional and legal landscape of reparations globally in order to better understand the implications of reparations for reparative justice and international politics.

Major Publications

“Victim’s Justice in the Aftermath of Political Violence: Why Do Countries Award Reparations?” (with Kim Proctor) Foreign Policy Analysis Journal. 2014.

“The Demand for Reparations: Grievance, Risk, and the Pursuit of Justice in Civil War Settlement.” (with Prakash Adhikari and Wendy L. Hansen) Journal of Conflict Resolution 56: 183-205. 2012.

Kathy L. Powers and Gary Goertz. "The Economic--Institutional Construction of Regions: Conceptualization and Operationalization." Accepted for publication at the Review of International Studies, forthcoming.

Kathy L. Powers. “The Globalization of Reparations Movements,” NAACP Special Edition. pgs. 1-17, July-August 2007. 2nd edition. Lead article.

Kathy L. Powers. “Dispute Initiation and Alliance Obligations in Regional Economic Institutions,” Journal of Peace Research. 43:4, pgs. 453-471, July 2006.

Kathy L Powers. “International Trade Institutions: Formal Mechanisms for Dealing with Resource Conflict,” GeoJournal. 64:4, pgs. 319-328, December 2005.

Kathy L. Powers. “Regional Trade Agreements as Military Alliances,” International Interactions. 30:4, pgs. 373-395, October-December 2004.

Previous Terms

June 2015:"Violence and Victim Redress – Understanding the Causes of Reparations: Bosnia and Herzegovina Transitional Justice Efforts in the Aftermath of Civil Conflict"