Steven C. Roach (born November 1, 1964) is an American professor of International Relations who writes on global ethics, the politics of international law, critical international theory, minority rights, and South Sudan’s politics. He is currently Director of Graduate Programs (Ph.D. MA, MLA. MALACS) at the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida.
Education and Career
Roach earned his doctorate from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 2002. He received his M.A from San Francisco State University in 1995 and his BA from Colgate University in 1987. From 2002 to 2005 he was appointed visiting professor at Colorado State University at Pueblo and a visiting lecturer at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2020, he served as the country expert of a USAID work team and its Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) assessment report of South Sudan is a member of several editorial and consultancy boards.
Ethical Values and Global Politics
A central focus of Roach’s work is the interaction of ethical values and political power. His recent work uses the relationship between decency and moral accountability to study the growing political pressures that threaten the liberal international order. In a 2016 interview with E-IR, he points out that the gap between humanitarian values and emotion has never been greater; that it is not simply the hostile emotions that explain right-wing populism, but liberalism’s detachment from these sentiments.
Politics of International Law
Roach is one the first political scientists to systematically explore the political forces shaping the International Criminal Court. His notion of political legalism functions as a pragmatic instrument to study how best to bring justice to the worst perpetrators of serious crimes. In an article published by Global Governance, he argues that the court cannot escape the effects of operating in an international system. It needs to confront this difficult and complex political reality of the ICC by devising new ways of thinking about its agency and by adopting the political strategies needed to balance the demand for global justice against the constraints of the international system.
Governance in South Sudan
Roach has conducted extensive field research in South Sudan and written on the many challenges of governance in South Sudan, Africa’s 54th state. His short essays have appeared in Foreign Affairs, African Arguments, and the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, and in 2019, he co-edited The Challenge of Governance in South Sudan. In 2017, he published an article in International Affairs, which argued that the unstable politics of accountability stems of South Sudan’s undeveloped institutions.
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