- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Amanda Rothschild: Investigating U.S. Debate and Response to Mass Killings

| Fall/Winter 2016-2017

As a student-athlete at Boston College, Amanda Rothschild was twice named to the Division I Hockey East Academic All-Star Team. Although a back injury halted her goaltending career junior year, Rothschild says that the sport significantly influenced her academic career.

“A lot of people ask me why I wanted to be in such a pressurized and thankless position as goaltending.” Her answer: “You have a higher responsibility. You have the ability to make a difference.”

Rothschild hopes her academic work can serve the same purpose. She’s now a research fellow with the Center’s International Security Program and a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at MIT. As the granddaughter of refugees who fled  the Holocaust, Rothschild brings a personal connection to her current research.

She is completing her doctoral dissertation, “‘Courage First:  Dissent, Debate, and the Origins of U.S. Responsiveness to Mass Killing,”  which outlines why United States leaders frequently debate the country’s appropriate response to genocide. For instance, in June 2016, 51 State Department diplomats objected to U.S. foreign policy in Syria, criticizing the administration’s lack of military strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government. She found similar examples of dissent among U.S. officials—many little known—in her research of cases like the Holocaust and the Bosnian genocide.

Commenting on her fellowship at the Belfer Center, Rothschild says she’s happy to have found such a unique research community.  “Belfer provides a place where you can do rigorous work,” she says, “and still have a foot in the policy world, while working with other great fellows.”

Rothschild is scheduled to defend her dissertation this year and is still determining her next step.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be, but the next year will be pretty decisive. I have interests in academia and policy, but wherever I am I hope to research important subjects in U.S. foreign policy and still have a voice in current debates.”

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Campbell, Casey. Amanda Rothschild: Investigating U.S. Debate and Response to Mass Killings.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Fall/Winter 2016-2017).

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