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Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt

Assistant Professor School of International Service

After receiving her Ph.D. from the School of International Service, Dr. Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt returned as SIS’s post-doctoral scholar in residence for the 2008-9 academic year. Now an assistant professor, her academic research interest in civil society efforts to ensure corporate social responsibility stem from her ongoing consulting work with Amnesty International USA on business and human rights related issues, and her past involvement with American University Solidarity Committee, an affiliate of United Students Against Sweatshops. She currently advises AIUSA on its campaign to secure oversight and accountability for the private military and security industry. At AU, she coordinated student activism that resulted in the passage of a living wage policy and membership in two monitoring organizations – the Fair Labor Association and the Workers Rights Consortium – to ensure that collegiate apparel bearing the university's logo is not produced in sweatshops.


PhD, International Relations, American University; MA, Political Science, University of Marburg, Germany; BA, Political Science, Dickinson College

Languages Spoken

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SIS - School of International Service
SIS - 243
Mondays 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Contact Info
(202) 885-3718 (Office)

Send email to Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Post-doctoral fellowship, School of International Service
  • Dissertation fellowship, School of International Service
  • American University School of International Service Brady Tyson Award for excellence in work related to human rights

Professional Presentations

  • Presented paper, "From Mercenaries to Corporate Actors: Processes of Legitimizing Private Military and Security Contractors," at February 2007 International Studies Association (ISA) Conference, Chicago, IL
  • Presented paper, "Business as Usual? The Contentious Politics of the Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Social Construction of Apparel Corporations," at March 2005 ISA Conference, Honolulu, HI
  • Presented paper, "Behind the Label: The Role of the Anti-Sweatshop Movement in the Reconstitution of Corporate Moral Actorhood," at February 2003 ISA Conference, Portland, OR
  • Presented paper, "The Construction of the Sweatshop as a Social Problem: Comparing Anti-sweatshop Activism in the Early Twentieth Century and Today," at March 2002 ISA, New Orleans, LA
  • Co-authored and presented paper, "Success or Cooptation? Rhetoric, Identity, and Social Movement Strategy," at August-September 2001 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA
  • Presented paper, "The Corporate Accountability Movement: Constructing Corporate Moral Agency in the Global Apparel Industry," at February 2001 ISA Conference, Chicago, IL
  • Presented paper, "The Corporate Accountability Movement: The Redefinition of the Moral Personhood of Transnational Corporations," at November 2000 BISA/ISA workshop, University of Cambridge, England
  • Co-authored and presented paper, "Hidden Agenda of Participatory Politics in an Era of Globalization" at February 1999 ISA Conference, Washington, D.C.
  • Co-authored paper, "Rule-making and the Political Economy of Regulating Electronic Commerce," at March 1998 ISA Conference, Minneapolis, MN

Executive Experience

  • Steering Committee member, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA)'s Business and Human Rights program
  • Former program associate, Human Rights and the Environment Program, AIUSA
  • Former president, AU Solidarity Committee

Selected Publications

  • "Lessons Learned from the Privatization of Regulation in the Apparel Industry: A Human Rights Perspective." In: Simon Chesterman and Angelina Fisher, eds., (Forthcoming, 2009), Private Security, Public Order: Governance and Limits, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • "A Human Rights Perspective on Business Ethics: Placing the Substance Behind the Buzz Words," Journal of International Peace Operations 3 (March-April 2008), p. 13.
  • "The Anti-Sweatshop Movement: Constructing Corporate Moral Agency in the Global Apparel Industry," Ethics and International Affairs 15 (2001), pp. 37-53. Also appeared in: Toni Erskine, ed. (2003)
  • Can Institutions Have Responsibilities? Collective Moral Agency and International Relations. New York: Palgrave, pp. 138-156.

Professional Certifications

  • Humanitarian Conduct and Enhanced Operations: Specialized Training for Field Managers and Independent Contractors. Conducted by International Peace Operations Association and AU's Peacebuilding and Development Institute, Washington, DC, April 2007.
  • AIUSA's Business and Human Rights Program Corporate Action Network Coordinator Training, Chicago, IL, October 2004.
  • Training on Strategic Corporate Research. Conducted by Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the AFL-CIO, Ithaca, NY, June 2001.