Kelebogile / ki-le-bu-hi-le / 1. I am grateful. [Setswana]

Zvobgo / zhrob-go / 1. That which has always been. [Shona]


I am Provost's Fellow in the Social Sciences and a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. I am also a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research FellowI received my B.A. (with honors) in International Relations and French Language & Literature from Pomona College in 2014. Currently, I am a Pre-doctoral Fellow at William & Mary, where I direct the International Justice Lab. Beginning in fall 2021, I will be an Assistant Professor in the Government Department.

My research broadly engages questions in human rights, transitional justice, and international law. My work has been published or is forthcoming in the International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Political Science Education, and PS: Political Science & Politics, as well as in Foreign Policy and The Washington Post. My work has been recognized in the U.S. and abroad, winning multiple awards, including the Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association's Human Rights Section (2019), the Best Paper Award from the International Studies Association's Human Rights Section (2019), and Runner-Up for the Steven C. Poe Award (2020), also from the International Studies Association's Human Rights Section. 

My primary research focuses on quasi-judicial bodies that have proliferated across the globe to fill the gaps left by domestic and international law and courts. Like courts, these accountability mechanisms collect statements from individuals who have been harmed by state or non-state actors, conduct an investigation, and enjoin appropriate reparative actions. Thus far, my work in this research stream has extended to truth commissions and international development banks' compliance mechanisms. 


My dissertation/book project, Governing Truth: NGOs and the Politics of Transitional Justice, develops and tests a theory of how domestic and international civil society actors govern the norm and practice of transitional justice, specifically by driving the creation, design, and effectiveness of its constituent mechanisms. I open up this new research program in comparative politics and international relations by studying truth commissions. I leverage a series of novel datasets from the Varieties of Truth Commissions Project and qualitative data from archival research and interviews with human rights groups, government officials, and United Nations personnel in Guatemala, South Africa, and Timor-Leste.

I am an avid traveler, runner, and Zumba enthusiast. My lightbulb moments tend to happen when I'm on the move.

© 2020 by Kelebogile Zvobgo.