Dr. David Mednicoff directs the Master's in Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His areas of expertise include Middle Eastern law and politics, international law, human rights, globalization studies and comparative public policy. He holds a J.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has written on Arab constitutional politics and Islam before and after the events of 2011, the legal regulation of migrant workers in the Arab Gulf, human rights in the Middle East and humanitarian intervention.
Law is frequently held out as useful in mitigating conflicts among individuals, and, in the global sphere, among countries. But how does it manage relations between individuals and the state? This question, which has been important to centuries of social theorists, is particularly relevant to the contemporary Arab world, where the recent wave of uprisings has included demands and reform efforts around better regime accountability to citizens. He will discuss several strands of his current research that consider links among law, religion and political accountability in five Arab states, with an emphasis on the interaction of Islamic and international legal ideas, and the roles that legal activists have played with respect to political change.