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Dr. Mara Revkin
Associate Professor of Law
Duke Law School

What were you involved in before arriving at Duke?

I was previously a Research Fellow at Georgetown Law’s Center on National Security after completing my Ph.D. in Political Science and J.D. at Yale. Between 2015 and 2021, I spent more than two years in Iraq and southern Turkey conducting field research for my dissertation on the Islamic State’s governance of civilians through institutions including police and taxation, and working with UN and humanitarian organizations in Iraq and Syria on post-conflict peacebuilding, human rights, and transitional justice issues. 


What research are you currently working on?

My current projects include an upcoming public opinion survey in Iraq on attitudes toward the Iraqi police and other security forces. My coauthors and I are interested in how gender and sectarian identity affect trust and cooperation between Iraqi civilians and police officers. I am also working on other surveys and interviews with Iraqis about their preferences for justice and accountability for harms caused by different perpetrators including the Islamic State and Iraqi and U.S. forces during the recent conflict. 


What classes do you teach this semester?

This fall I am very excited to be teaching a new seminar, Transitional Justice, which explores the ways in which states and societies respond to and try to move forward after severe violence and human rights violations including armed conflicts, genocides, and other atrocities. In Spring 2023 I will be teaching Property Law.


How do your current or past involvements intersect with human rights?

My early work on human rights issues included reporting on protections for undocumented immigrants as an undergraduate intern for The American Prospect magazine in 2007. After college, I was a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace conducting research on peaceful protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and other “Arab Spring” countries that were partially driven by grievances with human rights violations by authoritarian governments. During law school, I returned to Egypt again as an intern for Human Rights Watch during the 2013 military coup, and I have continued to focus on human rights issues in my more recent work in Iraq and Syria. 


What made you want to be a part of the Duke Human Rights Center’s Faculty Advisory Board?

I am so excited to be a part of an interdisciplinary human rights community at Duke and looking forward to working with and learning from faculty and students in other fields across the university. 


What is something you are looking forward to for human rights work at Duke this year?

Helping students learn about and pursue careers in human rights! I was lucky to have excellent mentors who helped me get started in the human rights field and I am eager to pay it forward to my students at Duke.


What advice would you give to current Duke undergraduate or law students looking to get more involved with human rights on campus?

There are many different paths to careers in human rights and they tend to be non-linear, which can make it difficult to get started. The Human Rights Certificate program is a great way to learn about the field and find peers and mentors who can support you. Please reach out if I can be helpful!