Hello and welcome!

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. My substantive fields are International Security and Foreign Policy, Methods and Research Tools, and International Law.

Broadly, my research looks at the relationship between international law, international organizations, and state behavior. In particular, my research explores the idea of 'contested compliance' - the process by which actors argue, define and redefine the meaning of compliance in international law. In my dissertation, I advance a theory of rhetorical compliance, an understanding of compliance that emphasizes the role of argumentation and rhetoric, arguing that behaviors are often not inherently compliant or noncompliant. Instead, what matters is an actors ability to justify the behavior as compliant vis-a-vis opponent's abilities to cast the behavior as noncompliant. This focus highlights the role of argumentation and social interaction in creating and changing legal meaning, emphasizing the use of law in international relations.

 

Other aspects of my  work focuses the rhetoric of international law and how it is used in and shapes the foreign policy decision-making process, especially decisions regarding the use of force and the protection of human rights. 

Methodologically, I am intrigued by qualitative approaches to the study of international relations. In particular, I am interested in case study methodologies, process tracing, archival work, and the uses - and misuses - of history in IR scholarship.

Prior to beginning my studies at USC, I completed my Masters of Science (First Honors) in Human Rights at the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. Previously I worked as an International Admissions/Recruitment Assistant for University College Dublin. I earned my B.A. (cum laude) in History from Roberts Wesleyan College. Beyond research, I am a (very) amateur photographer, avid traveler, and a volunteer athletics coach.

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© 2018 by Kyle Rapp