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Erin Kearns

Adjunct Instructor
Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

  • Erin Kearns is a PhD student in Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, with a minor in Public Policy. Her research utilizes a multidisciplinary and multi-method framework to understand the relationship between terrorism, counterterrorism, security policy and human rights. Erin’s dissertation will be a multi-methods exploration of why torture persists; she will employ an experiment and case studies to identify and probe causal mechanisms and a quantitative chapter to examine average effects of key variables.

    As a research assistant, Erin has co-authored both an article about why groups lie about terrorism and a book chapter on military tactics in civil war. Working with Professor Joseph Young, Erin recently received a grant to conduct a series of experiments on perceptions of counterterrorism policies. She is currently working on projects that examine the relationship between terrorism and torture and the impact of drones in counterterrorism, and she is actively involved in the Political Violence Working Group.

    Erin’s other research interests include gender-based violence, violence and nonviolence in conflict, and geographic patterns of crime and violence. She received a Certificate of Research in Violent Behavior from the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit and participated in an international seminar on Crime, Law, and Psychology. In the summer of 2014, Erin will teach a course on The Problem of Torture at American University. She has served as a teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate courses involving terrorism and counterterrorism, statistics, and research methods.
  • Degrees

    M.A. Forensic Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
    B.A. Psychology and Political Science, Miami University
  • Languages Spoken:

    English; Proficient in French; Basic Spanish; Learning Farsi


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  • Spring 2015

  • Summer 2015

    • JLC-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Torture in Counterterrorism
    • Description
    • JLC-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Terrorism in the 21st Century
    • Description
  • Fall 2015

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