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Kelebogile Zvobgo

Assistant Professor, Government

Links: [[kzvobgo, Email]] and {{, Webpage}}
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm; In person or via Zoom (select on Calendly) {{, here}}.
Research Interests: Human rights, transitional justice, international law and courts


Kelebogile Zvobgo is an Assistant Professor of Government at William & Mary and founder and director of the International Justice Lab. Previously, she was W&M's inaugural Pre-doctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity, hosted at the Global Research Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Southern California, where she was Provost's Fellow in the Social Sciences, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and a recipient of the 2021 USC Ph.D. Achievement Award. She received her B.A. in International Relations and French Language & Literature from Pomona College.

 Dr. Zvobgo's research broadly engages questions in human rights, transitional justice, and international law and courts, and has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including International Studies Quarterly and the Journal of Human Rights, and mainstream outlets like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. She has appeared on ABC News, Bloomberg TV, CNN, NPR, and PRX, and has been quoted in The Atlantic and Vox, among others. Both the American Political Science Association and the International Studies Association awarded her Best Paper in Human Rights in 2019 and Best Dissertation in Human Rights in 2022. Also recognized for her teaching, she is the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Craig L. Brians Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Mentorship.

 Much of Zvobgo’s past and ongoing research concerns quasi-judicial and judicial bodies that have proliferated around the globe over the past half-century to address serious violations of human rights law and humanitarian law. Thus far, her work has centered on domestic truth commissions and international criminal tribunals, especially the International Criminal Court. 

 Her book manuscript, Governing Truth: NGOs and the Politics of Transitional Justice, explains variation in governments’ decisions to adopt transitional justice institutions, design them to succeed, and follow up on them with additional measures. She argues and demonstrates that domestic and international civil society actors, who make up a global network, help drive government transitional justice policy through advocacy, technical expertise, and operational assistance. She focuses the analysis on truth commissions, leveraging novel quantitative data from the Varieties of Truth Commissions, and focus groups and interviews with government officials, former truth commission leaders, UN representatives, and domestic and international NGO advocates in 12 countries.

 Dr. Zvobgo will advertise at least one open position in the International Justice Lab for continuing students in academic year 2023-24. Interested students should subscribe to the Global Research Institute digest, where the position will be advertised in summer 2023.