Contact information

Research interests

Human rights, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), democratization, state repression, institutions, institutional design, methodology

Research project

Restraining the state: Establishment, strength, and effects of national human rights institutions in Africa. (Sup. Prof. Thomas Sommerer; co-sup. Prof. Jonas Tallberg)

The PhD dissertation starts from the puzzle of why regimes that more or less frequently and more or less dramatically violate human rights nonetheless create institutions that serve to monitor, promote, and protect these rights. The dissertation explores one specific type of oversight and accountability mechanism, so-called national human rights institutions (NHRIs) such as Ombudsmen and human rights commissions. It investigates three principal research questions relating to the establishment, change, and effects of NHRIs.

The analysis of these institutions is situated within the broad research agenda of democratization and transitional societies (in particular as regimes transition from conflict, autocracy, or colonial rule).

The dissertation covers all 54 African countries from 1960 until 2014 in a systematic, comparative, study over time and across countries. Methodologically, the dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative analyses focus both on how legal sources state that the institutions are designed and on the effect of NHRIs on regimes’ respect for human rights, drawing on material collected through extensive archival research. The case studies, on Namibia and South Africa, focus on for example the interaction between formal and informal design, and on the role of these aspects for the activities of the institutions and for the broader accountability relations in these societies.

Background

Before joining the PhD program in political science, Karin worked as a research assistant at the Folke Bernadotte Academy on issues related to women, peace and security. She has also worked as a research assistant at the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University in a research project on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She has also been an intern at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in New York and studied at Sorbonne and Sciences Po (IEP) in Paris.

Education

Degree of Master of Science (master thesis on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and its cooperation with NGOs). Political Science (with a specialization in international relations), Stockholm University, Sweden, 2011

Degree of Bachelor of Science. Political Science (with minors in economics, statistics, and international relations), Stockholm University, Sweden, 2007

Research papers

Regimes and their Institutions: The Development of National Human Rights Institutions in Africa (1965-2014). (Also as poster). Presented at the International Studies Association’s annual convention, Baltimore, MD, USA, February 2017.

Constraining the state: The strength of national human rights institutions in Africa (1965-2014). Presented at the Swedish Political Science Association’s annual meeting, October 2016.

Designing domestic systems for human rights: The creation of NHRIs in Africa. Presented at the International Studies Association’s annual convention, Atlanta, GA, USA, March 2016.

The domestic institutional landscape of human rights: Designing national human rights institutions in Africa. Presented at the African Studies Association annual conference, San Diego, CA, USA, November 2015.

The design of NHRIs: Patterns and explanations. (Also as poster). Presented at the International Studies Association’s annual convention, New Orleans, LA, USA. February 2015.

The establishment and design of national human rights institutions – domestic and international sources. Presented at the workshop “International Studies in the 21th century: development, cooperation and security” organized by Cornell University and Stockholm University, Stockholm, October 2014.

Transnational actors in the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights: Access and participation. Presented at the International Studies Association - Human Rights Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2014.

Grants and scholarships (received while a PhD candidate)

Stockholm University donation scholarship (Elisabeth & Herman Rhodin), 2017

Nordic Africa Institute (NAI), Uppsala, Sweden. Guest PhD researcher, April 2017

Stockholm University donation scholarship (Elisabeth & Herman Rhodin), 2016

The Siamon Foundation’s travel grant, 2016

International Studies Association (ISA) travel grant, 2016

Stockholm University donation scholarship (John Söderberg), 2015

The Siamon Foundation’s travel grant, 2014

Teaching

Quantitative methods, Political Science III (Swedish and English)

Positions of trust

Member of the Board of the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, 2015-