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Sam Jarvis

BA (Hons), MA (Distinction) (University of Leeds)

PhD Research Student

Contact Details:

Email: s.jarvis@sheffield.ac.uk

Office Hours:

POL 110, Semester 1: Room – 1:33 Thursdays, 10.30-11.30

External Links:

Twitter @Sam_Jarvis_


The challenge of creating sufficient political will, in order for states to protect those beyond their borders, has troubled both diplomats and scholars for centuries and is a dilemma at the core of international relations. Recent crises in Libya, Syria and Iraq have only further enforced the need for greater understanding of how mass atrocity crimes carried out across the globe, are seen to create responsibilities and obligations for the global community as a whole. I am therefore passionate about exploring the philosophical and moral grounding of these responsibilities, in order to understand how states frame their decisions to intervene and respond to humanitarian crises. Recent inconsistency in responses to the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, highlights the importance of creating greater clarification in regard to the obligations states have to others. Developing my research around this key question ultimately drives my passion to study in this area.


Thesis Title: Moral Progress and its Political Limits: ‘Common Humanity’ as a Driver of State Behaviour

Supervisors: Dr Garrett W. Brown and Dr Adrian Gallagher

Summary of Research:

Why should states “save strangers”? It remains a question that is central to all humanitarian intervention debates yet continues to be a question most often overlooked in the current RtoP literature. In addressing this lacuna, the thesis will focus upon the concept of common humanity, which is argued to underpin the universal moral claims states have to act on such responsibilities. In doing so, it will be possible to address the lack of clarity over the complex relationship that exists between the RtoP doctrine and the concept of humanity. A systematic examination of this relationship will begin to shed light onto the tensions that exist at the heart of the RtoP, and ultimately how the moral aspirations that underpin the concept continue to face challenges on a number of fronts. This analysis will therefore open up a number of new avenues for exploration into the strength of the obligations states have to protect others and the ability of new state agreements, such as RtoP, to reflect a broader more human approach to the management of international society. In doing so the project will articulate the normative strengths and weaknesses of humanity as a motivational force, as well as tracing the role humanity has played in the forging of the RtoP concept.

My research is funded by +3 ESRC White Rose Network Scholarship.


Book Chapter

‘A Critical Examination of “Humanity”, in Aidan Hehir and Robert Murray, (eds.) Protecting Human Rights in the 21st Century (London: Routledge, forthcoming)

Conference Papers

  • (2016) The Scope of Humanity’s Reach: Re-evaluating the R2P as a Moral Call to Action. Putting the Responsibility to Protect at the Centre of Europe Conference, University of Leeds, UK
  • (2016) ‘State Motivation and the Responsibility to Protect: Exploring an Expanded Concept of Peace and Security’ Presented at BISA 4th Annual PGN Conference, University of South Wales, UK
  • (2016) ‘Reframing State Responsibility to Humanity: Beyond a Threat to Peace and Security’, Presented at the International Studies Association, Atlanta, USA
  •  (2015) ‘A Critical Examination of Humanity: Bringing the Normative Back into the RtoP Debate’, University of Leeds, UK
  • (2015) ‘Reframing the RtoP Debate: The Role of Common Humanity’ Paper Presented at The British International Studies Association (BISA) 40th Anniversary Conference, London.
  • (2015) ‘International Legitimacy and R2P: The Challenges to Liberal Progress’ Paper presented at the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference, New Orleans.

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