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Photograph of Tazreena Sajjad

Tazreena Sajjad Sr Professorial Lecturer School of International Service

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(202) 885-6572 (Office)
SIS - School of International Service
East Quad Bldg - 107B
PhD and MA, SIS, American University, Washington D.C.

BA, Political Science and International Studies, Macalester College, MN.

International Baccalaureate, Red Cross Nordic United World College, Norway.

Dr. Tazreena Sajjad currently serves as Senior Professorial Lecturer in the Global Governance, Politics and Security (GGPS) Program in the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington D.C. Her areas of specialization include transitional justice, refugees and forced displacement, DDR, post-conflict governance, gender and conflict. Her current research project examines the global phenomenon of building fortifications against irregular movements in an era of criminalization and securitization of migration. Dr. Sajjad's recent publications include 'What’s in a name? ‘Refugees’, ‘Migrants’ and the Politics of Labelling,' in the Journal of Race and Class (2018), 'Refugees Welcome? The Politics of Repatriation and Return in a Global Era of Security: The Rohingyas in Bangladesh' in Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge' (forthcoming), 'In Search of Imperfect Justice: Genocidal Rape and the Legacy of Nuremberg and Tokyo' in The Nuremberg War Crime Trial and its Policy Consequences Today (forthcoming), and Feminism and Displacement in Topics in Feminism I: Politics and Society (forthcoming). Prior to joining SIS, Dr. Sajjad worked in the Afghanistan program at Global Rights in Afghanistan, and in the South Asia program at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). She has also served as a research consultant at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in Kabul, Afghanistan, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Washington D.C. and the Berghof Foundation in Berlin, Germany. Her first book, Transitional Justice in South Asia: A Study of Afghanistan and Nepal was published in 2013. She currently serves as an advisor to Refugee Solidarity Network (RSN).
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

  • SIS Dean's Summer Research Award 2015.
  • Brady Tyson Award for Excellence in Work Related to Human Rights, 2011.  
  • SIS Dissertation Fellowship, 2009.
  • Abdul Aziz Said Scholarship, 2008.
  • Fellowship, Institute for Inclusive Security, 2008.
  • Dean's Fellowship, SIS, 2005.
  • Gandhi Memorial Scholarship, Gandhi Center, 2004.  
  • De Witt Scholarship, Macalester College, 1997-2001.

Selected Publications

  • "In Search of Imperfect Justice: Genocidal Rape and the Legacy of Nuremberg and Tokyo," in The Nuremberg War Crime Trial and its Policy Consequences Today (forthcoming)
  • "Refugees Welcome? The Politics of Repatriation and Return in a Global Era of Security: The Rohingyas in Bangladesh," in Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge (forthcoming)
  • "What's in a Name? 'Migrants,' 'Refugees' and the Politics of Labelling." in Race and Class, 2018
  • "Too Many Enemies: Mobilization, Marginalization and Political Violence" (co-authored with Dr. Carl Anders Hardig) in The Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, 2016 
  • "Heavy Hands, Helping Hands, Holding Hands: The Politics of Exclusion in Victims' Networks in Nepal," in The International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2016 
  • "Political-Social Movements: Community-Based: Afghanistan," in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Brill, 2014
  • Transitional Justice in South Asia: A Study of Afghanistan and Nepal, Routledge, 2013.
  • "Women and Peace Processes," in Women and Wars, (with Julie Mertus and Malathi de Alwis) (ed) Carol Cohn, Polity Press 2013.
  • "Rape on Trial? The Promise of International Jurisprudence, the Perils of Retributive Justice and the Realities of Impunity" in Rape: Instrument of War and Genocide (eds). John Roth and Carol Rittner, Paragon House 2012.   
  • " The War on Terror Through a Feminist Lens,"  in Human Rights in the 21st Century: Continuity and Change since 9/11 (co-authored with Julie Mertus), (eds). Michael Goodhart and Anja Mihr, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 
  • "These Spaces in Between: The AIHRC and Its Work on Transitional Justice," The International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol 3, Oxford University Press, 2009.   
  • "Post-Genocidal Trauma and its Impact on Women in Genocide" in The Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide, Vol 7. (ed). Sam Totten, Transaction Publishers, CA 2009.   
  • "Human Rights and Human Insecurity: The Contributions of US Counter-Terrorism," (co-authored with Julie Mertus), Journal of Human Rights, Vol 7, Issue 1, 2008.   
  • "Human Rights Post September 11," (co-authored with Julie Mertus) in Exploring International Human Rights, Lynne Rienner Publishers Boulder, CO, 2007.   
  • "When Civil Society Promotion Fails State-building: The Inevitable Faultlines in Post Conflict Reconstruction," (co-authored with Julie Mertus), in Subcontracting Peace: The Challenges of NGO Peacebuilding, eds Oliver P. Richmond and Henry F. Carey, Ashgate Publishing, UK  2005.

Professional Presentations

  • Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Indian Ocean, Georgetown University, 2018
  • Rethinking State Security, Decolonizing International Relations Conference, Fletcher School, 2018
  • On Rohingya Refugees, Keck Center for Int'l & Strategic Studies, 2018
  • Confronting the Refugee Crisis, SIS, American University, 2017                                           
  • A Global Refugee Crisis: Through Refugees’ Eyes Summit, SIS, American University 2017
  • Peace, Refugees and Syria: A Teach-In, SIS, American University  2016                      
  • A Global Refugee Crisis, UN Human Rights Week, UN Foundation 2016
  • Women and Electoral Violence, IFES and American University 2016  
  • Between the Secular and the Sacred (with Dr. Anders Hardig), Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2015        
  • Justice in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocities, Cntr for HR & Human. Law, WCL  2013            
  • Elections Through Her Eyes: Women's Empowerment, Inclusion & the Electoral Process, IFES/AU   2013
  • The Challenges for Dhaka City in the 21st Century, M-RSI, US Inter Agency Collaboration Conference, Washington D.C.,  2013.
  • Analytic Exchange on Bangladesh, Bureau of Intelligence, US State Department and the National Intelligence Council, Washington D.C., 2013.
  • Understanding Shahbag: Bangladesh at Another Crossroads, CUNY 2013.
  • Gendering the Ballot Box: Electoral Violence and Women, ISA, 2013.
  • Into Thin Air: Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh, Politics & Human Rights in South Asia, NYU, 2012.
  • Voices in the Shadows: Power, Participation and Exclusion in Transitional Justice, ISA, San Diego, 2012.
  • Conducting Human Rights Research in Conflict Zones, Human Rights Week, AU, 2011.
  • Gender, Disability, and Conflict: Dialogues for Inclusion, Human Rights Week, AU, 2010.
  • Dimensions of Inclusion: Implementing UNSCR 1325, UNIFEM, UN, NY, 2010
  • Women in the Mix? Operationalizing Gender in Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan, ISA, 2010.
  • Presentation of Peace At All Costs: Reintegration and Reconciliation with the Taliban, US State Department, 2010.
  • Prospects and Possibilities of a War Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Heritage Foundation, Dhaka, 2009.
  • Critique of Stopping Genocide Through International Agreement When the Security Council Fails to Act,  International Association of Genocide, 2009
  • Mind the Gap: An Analysis of the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Afghanistan, Woodrow Wilson Center, 2009
  • Beyond the Realms of the State: Transitional Justice and Civil Society, ISA, 2009
  • Critiquing the Works of Charli Carpenter, ISA, 2009.
  • The Spaces Between: AIHRC and Transitional Justice, ISA-NE, 2008
  •  Dealing with the Devil: Political Pardons and their Impact on Afghan Women, ISA, 2008
  • Women and Peace Processes (with Julie Mertus), ISA, 2008
  • Protector and Predator: Sexual Violence and UN Peacekeeping, National Guild of Lawyers Conference on Feminism and Sexism, 2007
  • Social Movements, Human Rights and Feminist Methodologies (with Julie Mertus), APSA, 2007


Selected Publications

  • Bi W., Jin, P, Nienborg, H, and Xiao, B. (2019).  Manipulating patterns of dynamic deformation elicits impression of cloth with varying stiffness.  Journal of Vision.  Vol. 19, 18.
  • Wijntjes, M. and Xiao, B. Volvic, R. Visual communication of haptic material properties (2019). Journal of Vision. 19(2), 4-4.
  • Bi. W, Nienborg H, and Xiao, B. How does motion affect material perception of deformable objects?  (2018) Computational Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN), Philadelphia.
  • Bi, W., Newport, J, and Xiao, B. (2018) Interaction between static visual cues and force-feedback on perceived mass of virtual objects.  SAP ‘18, Proceedings of ACM Symposium of Applied Perception .
  • Bi W., Jin, P, Nienborg, H, and Xiao, B.  (2018) Estimating mechanical properties of cloth from videos using dense motion trajectories: human psychophysics and machine learning.  Journal of Vision. 18(5). 12-12.
  • Bi, W. and Xiao, B. (2016). Perceptual constancy of mechanical properties of cloth under variation of external force.  SAP ‘16, Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied perception, 19-23.
  • Xiao, B., Bi, W, Jia, X, Wei, H, and Adelson, E. (2016). Can you see what you feel? Color and folding properties affect multimodal material discrimination of fabrics. Journal of Vision, 16 (3), 34.
  • Xiao, B., Gkioulekas, I., Adelson, E., Zickler, T., and Bala, K. (2014). Looking against the light: How perception of translucency depends on lighting direction. Journal of Vision 14(3). 17.
  • Heasly, B., Cottaris, N, Lichtman, D., Xiao,B., and Brainard, D.H. (2014). RenderToolbox3: MATLAB tools that facilitate physically based stimulus rendering for vision research.  Journal of Vision. 14 (2), 6.
  • Bouman, K.L., Xiao, B. Bataglia, P., and Freeman, W.T. (2013).  Estimating the Material Properties of Fabrics from Videos. International Conference in Computer Vision (ICCV), 1984-1991.
  • Akkaynak D., Treibitz T., Xiao, B. Gukan, U.A., Allen, J.J.  Dermirci, U. and Hanlon, R.T.  (2013) Use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) digital cameras for scientific data acquisition and scene-specific color calibration. Journal of Optical Society of America, A 31 (2), 312-321.
  • Gkioulekas. I., Xiao, B., Zhao. S., Adelson, E., Zickler,T., and Bala, K. (2012).  Perceptual dimensions of phase functions for translucent appearance. ACM Transaction on Graphics (TOG).  32(5), 147.
  • Xiao, B. Hurst, B., Maclntyre, L. and Brainard, D.H. (2012) The Color Constancy of Three-Dimensional Objects. Journal of Vision. 12 (4), 6.
  • Xiao, B. and Wade, A.R. (2010) Measurements of long-range suppression in human opponent S-cone and achromatic luminance channels. Journal of Vision 10(13), 10.
  • Xiao, B. and Brainard, D.H. (2008) Surface gloss and color perception of 3D objects. Visual Neuroscience, 25 (03), 371-385.
  • Xiao, B. and Brainard, D.H. (2006). Color Perception of 3D objects: constancy with respect to variation of surface gloss. Proceedings of ACM Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization (APGV06), 2006: 63-68.
  • Brainard, D.H., Longere, P., Delahunt, P.B., Freeman, W.T., Kraft, J.M., and Xiao, B. (2006). Bayesian model of human color constancy. Journal of Vision, 6 (11), 10.

Research Interests

Refugees, Forced Displacement, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Governance, DDR, PMCs, Gender and Conflict, Violent and Non-Violent Mobilizations in South Asia

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Bridging the Gaps: A New Framework for Gender and Electoral Violence, USAID-CMM grant with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), 2012-2016.
  • SIS Dean's Summer Research Award, 2015.
  • Peace At All Costs? Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, 2010
  • SIS Dissertation Fellowship, SIS American University, 2009-2010. 
  • Abdul Aziz Said Scholarship, American University, 2008.
  • Fellowship, Institute for Inclusive Security, 2008. 
  • Dean’s Fellowship, SIS, American University, 2005-2008.

Media Appearances

  • #PartitionAt70: The roots of discrimination against Bangladesh's Biharis, Al Jazeera International, 2017
  • "Confronting the Refugee Crisis," SIS in the News, AU, 2017
  • "Between the Secular and the Sacred," interview with Voice of America, 2015.
  • "Q&A: Deconstructing the Chaos in Bangladesh," Al-Jazeera International,  May 31, 2013.
  • Bangladesh War Crimes Trials Stir Old Tensions, The Current, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, March 11, 2013.
  • "Bangladesh's Rising Voices," The Stream, Al-Jazeera International, February 19, 2013.
  • "Peace at All Costs," Stars and Stripes: US Military News Source, 2010.
  • "Reintergration and Reconciliation with the Taliban," Voice of America, 2010.
  • "Bangladesh and the Threat of Terrorism," Bangladesh Television,2009.
  • "War Crimes and the Awami League (AL) Election Manifesto", Road to Democracy, RTV, Dhaka,  2008.
  • "The Road to Transitional Justice for 1971," Road to Democracy, RTV, Dhaka, 2008. 

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

Migration, refugees, asylum, wall-building, immigration restrictions, refugee reception in developing countries and in Europe, Rohingya, war crimes, crimes against humanity, post-conflict justice, Bangladesh

Additional Information

Tazreena Sajjad is a professor of refugees and migration studies, statebuilding after war, post-conflict justice, and gender and conflict. She can comment on the issues related to hardening of refugee admissions and asylum policies in the US and Europe, including the phenomenon of wall-building, refugee reception in countries of the Global South, refugee experiences in transit and camps, as well as address questions around how to rebuild states in the aftermath of war and women's experiences in war and peace. Her current research projects focus on the phenomenon of building walls in response to irregular migration (migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers) in Europe and elsewhere, and the politics of refugee reception in the case of the Rohingya in Bangladesh. Her recent publications include “What’s in a name? ‘Refugees’, ‘migrants’ and the politics of labelling in the Journal of Race and Class” (2018), “Refugees Welcome? The Politics of Repatriation and Return in a Global Era of Security: The Rohingyas in Bangladesh' in Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge'” (forthcoming), “In Search of Imperfect Justice: Genocidal Rape and the Legacy of Nuremberg and Tokyo' in The Nuremberg War Crime Trial and its Policy Consequences Today” (forthcoming). Prof. Sajjad is an advisor to Refugee Solidarity Network. She has appeared on Al-Jazeera (print and TV), Stars and Stripes, CBC, Voice of America, and national television programs and print media in Bangladesh. She is available for print, online, radio, and television interviews.

For the Media

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

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