Book Project

The Geopolitics of Shaming: When Human Rights Pressure Works–and when it Backfires. Forthcoming, Princeton University Press.

In the last three decades, scholars and activists have argued that international “naming and shaming” can improve human rights conditions around the world. My book challenges this conventional wisdom. In many cases, shaming not only fails to induce compliance but incites a backlash, provoking resistance and worsening human rights practices. When does shaming lead to an improvement in human rights conditions, and when does it backfire?

I develop a relational theory of human rights enforcement in which the strategic interaction between shamer and target generates incentives to comply with or defy international pressure. The key argument is that international shaming is conditioned by the pre-exiting geopolitical relationship between source and target. Adversaries are quick to condemn human rights abuses, but often provoke a counterproductive response. Allies are the most effective shamers, but are reluctant to impose social sanctions. Thus, shaming is most common in situations where it is least likely to be effective.

I provide evidence for the theory by drawing on large-scale cross-national data, original survey experiments, and detailed case studies. The findings prompt us to rethink the relationship between norms and power politics in the international order.

Peer Reviewed Articles 

Becker, Jordan, Sarah Kreps, Paul Poast and Rochelle Terman. Forthcoming. “Transatlantic Shakedown: Does Presidential ‘Naming and Shaming’ Affect NATO Burden Sharing?” Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Argyle, Lisa, Rochelle Terman and Matti Nelimarkka. 2022. “Religious Freedom in the City Pool: Gender Segregation, Partisanship, and the Construction of Symbolic Boundaries.” Politics and Religion, 15 (4), 700-721.

Terman, Rochelle and Joshua Byun. 2022. “Punishment and Politicization in the International Human Rights Regime.” American Political Science Review, 116 (2), 385-402.
[Supporting Information] [Replication Materials]

Terman, Rochelle and Zoltán Búzás. 2021. “A House Divided: Norm Fragmentation in the International Human Rights Regime.”  International Studies Quarterly, 65 (2).
[Supporting Information] [Replication Materials]

Terman, Rochelle. 2020. “The Positive Side of Negative Identity: Deviance and Stigma in Backlash Movements.British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 22 (4): Symposium on Backlash Politics in Comparison.

Terman, Rochelle and Erik Voeten. 2018. “The Relational Politics of Shame: Evidence from the Universal Periodic Review.Review of International Organizations, 13 (1).
[Supporting Information] [Replication Materials]

Terman, Rochelle. 2017. “Islamophobia and Media Portrayals of Women’s Rights: A Computational Text Analysis of U.S. News CoverageInternational Studies Quarterly, 61 (3).
[Supporting Information] [Replication Materials]

Terman, Rochelle. 2016. “Islamophobia, Feminism, and the Politics of CritiqueTheory, Culture & Society, 33 (2).

Terman, Rochelle. 2010. “Piety of Public Participation: The Revolutionary Muslim Woman in the Islamic Republic of Iran” Politics, Religion, and Ideology, 11 (3).

Terman, Rochelle. 2010. “To Specify or Single Out: Should We Use the Term ‘Honor Killing’?The Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, 7 (1).

Working Papers

“Auditing Localized Google Search Results for Human Rights.” With Pete Cuppernull. (Email me for a copy).

“All Internet is Local: Information Pools and Search Engine Representation of International Affairs.” With Pete Cuppernull. (Email me for a copy).

Rewarding Resistance: Theorizing Defiance to International Shaming.”

Other Writing

Cuppernull, Pete and Rochelle Terman. 2022. “‘Text as Data’ in R.” Joseph Huddleston, Tom Jamieson, and Patrick James (eds.) Handbook of Research Methods in International Relations. Edward Elgar.

Terman, Rochelle. 2017. “Researching Gender & Women in Muslim Contexts: Beyond Orientalism?” in Matt Golder and Sona Golder (eds.) CP: Newsletter of the Comparative Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association, 27 (1): 1-109.

Terman, Rochelle. 2017. “The News Media Offer Slanted Coverage of Muslim Countries’ Treatment of Women.” The Monkey Cage. Washington Post. May 5.