Charli Carpenter is Professor in the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at University of Massachusetts-Amherst specializing in international law and human security, and Director of Human Security Lab, an interdisciplinary initiative focused on science in the human interest. Her teaching and research interests include the protection of civilians, laws of war, humanitarian affairs, and humanitarian disarmament. She has published three books and numerous journal articles, held fellowships at the Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt, Oakley Center, and Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, has served as a consultant for the UN, DoS, USAID, DOD, and human rights NGO community, is a bi-weekly columnist at World Politics Review, and regularly contributes to Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.
Charli's research focuses on if codification of normative taboos against weapons in multi-lateral treaties strengthen or weaken the taboos themselves and constrain armed violence. Her research is planning to explore the added impact on ethical norms in non-signatory states of a specific negotiated treaty ban on top of a pre-existing non-codified normative taboo and an earlier, codified but more diffuse Geneva Conventions rule prohibiting indiscriminate attacks using data from a survey experiment on US public opinion toward the use of nuclear weapons in a fictional war with Iran. Determining whether treaties can change the preferences of non-parties – and if so in which direction - Carpenter believes is important for basic social science predictions about state behavior to inform debates about global and national security.