- LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2008, J.D., Yale Law School, 2001, B.A., Columbia College, 1986
- Susan Benesch founded and directs the Dangerous Speech Project (dangerousspeech.org), to study speech that can inspire violence - and to find ways to prevent this, without infringing on freedom of expression. She conducts research on methods to diminish harmful speech online, or the harm itself. Trained as a human rights lawyer at Yale, Susan has worked for NGOs including Amnesty International and Human Rights First. She is also Faculty Associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
Dangerous Speech Project
Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
- Dangerous Speech: A Practical Guide, Dangerous Speech Project, 2018.
- "Vectors for Counterspeech on Twitter" (with Lucas Wright, Derek Ruths, Kelly P. Dillon, and Haji Mohamed Saleem), Proceedings of the First Workshop on Abusive Language Online, 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 2017.
- Counterspeech on Twitter: A Field Study, Dangerous Speech Project, 2016.
- "A Web of Hate: Tackling Hateful Speech in Online Social Spaces (with Haji Mohamed Saleem, Kelly P. Dillon, and Derek Ruths), First Workshop on Text Analytics for Cybersecurity and Online Safety, July 26, 2016.
- "Dangerous Speech and Dangerous Ideology: An Integrated Model for Monitoring and Prevention" (with Jonathan Leader Maynard), Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal 9(3), 2016.
- "A Prelude to Murder: Calling Humans Vermin" (with Michael Abramowitz), Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2013.
- "Song as a Crime Against Humanity," Trials and Tribulations of International Prosecution, Lexington Books, 2013.
- "The Innocence of Youtube" (with Rebecca MacKinnon), Foreign Policy, October 5, 2012.
- "Words as Weapons," World Policy Journal, Spring 2012.
- "The Ghost of Causation," Propaganda, War Crimes Trials, and International Law: From Speakers Corner to War Crimes (Routledge, Nov. 2011).
- "Election-Related Violence: The Role of Dangerous Speech (conference proceedings)," American Society of International Law, March 2011.
- "Are We There Yet: An Evaluative Framework for Transitional Justice," Global Studies Review, Fall/Winter 2009.
- "The ICTR’s Prosecution of a Pop Star: The Bikindi Case," African Yearbook of International Law, 17 (2009).
- "Vile Crime or Inalienable Right? Defining Incitement to Genocide" Virgina Journal of International Law, 485 (2008).
- "Due Process and Decision-Making in U.S. Immigration Adjudication," 59 Administrative Law Review 3 (2007).
- "The Ever-Expanding Material Support Bar: An Unjust Obstacle for Refugees and Asylum Seekers," (with Devon Chafee) Interpersonal Relations, Mar. 2006.
Primary interests: Human Rights, International Criminal Law, Conflict Prevention, Transitional Justice, Refugee Law and Policy, International Law, Media and Internet Law.Additional interests: Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Immigration Law.
- United Nations and the US Holocaust Memoral Museum, Feb. 1-5, 2013. Hate Speech and Incitement to Genocide.
- Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, Harvard University, Nov. 28, 2012. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and the Contours of International Human Rights Law.
- The Media Institute, Oct. 25, 2012. Featured panelist on a discussion of the "Innocence of Muslims" video during a celebration of Free Speech Week.
- Global Voices Citizen Media Summit, July 2, 2012. Moderated Inside/Outside: Diaspora Influence Online.
- Yale Law School, Nov 5, 2011. Emerging Challenges to Freedom of Expression: From Hate Speech to Social Networks.
- Brookings Institution, May 17, 2011. Featured speaker for Private Experts’ Roundtable: Managing Global Order.
- Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, April 27, 2011. Speech, Song, Crime? Dangerous Speech on the Road to Atrocities.
- United Nations, Oct. 28, 2010. Dangerous Speech on the Road to Genocide: A Dialogue with Member States.
- Cardozo School of Law, April 15, 2010. International Law on ‘Hate Speech’
- Fordham Law School, March 26, 2010. The Internet As A Dual Use Technology: Democracy and Extremism.
Grants and Sponsored Research
The Dangerous Speech Project studies the role of inflammatory speech in inspiring violence, to identify why and when speech is especially dangerous, and to find remedies that do not trample on freedom of expression. Its operational funding is provided entirely by private foundations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
Edith Everett Fellow for Genocide Prevention, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2012-2013.
Clinical Teaching Fellow, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center, 2006-2008. Supervised students in live-client asylum cases, took full role in teaching clinical seminar, wrote course materials, published scholarly articles in U.S. and international law.
Robert L. Bernstein Fellow in International Human Rights, Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, 2000-2003. Campaigned on asylum and refugee issues. Traveled to Guatemala to monitor human rights trial.