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Tanisha Fazal on war injuries

Professor Spagat interviews Tanisha Fazal about war injuries, including the question of why these receive so little memorialization or even attention.

In this clip I interview Tanisha Fazal who is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota.

I built this short course around war deaths. But injuries in war are also very important and Tanisha is an authority on this topic. Professor Fazal has argued that advances in military medicine in recent decades have allowed many people to survive injuries that would have rendered them dead in earlier wars. This positive development has come at the cost of creating a large class of wounded warriors who live with severe injuries.

Toward the end of the interview Tanisha offers a comment that is particularly interesting and pertinent to Week 3 of the course. She points out that it can be difficult to demonstrate that particular injuries that veterans suffer were actually caused by a war they participated in. Damage, including psychological damage, may only appear some years after service. Some conditions may have plausible causes besides war experience. And, finally, governments may resist recognizing military injuries so as to avoid paying for expensive treatments that might be mandated if these injuries are war related.

Upon my request Tanisha provided the following bio:

Tanisha Fazal’s scholarship focuses on sovereignty, international law, and armed conflict. Fazal’s current research analyzes the effect of improvements in medical care in conflict zones on the long-term costs of war.

She is the author of State Death: The Politics and Geography of Conquest, Occupation, and Annexation (Princeton University Press, 2007), which won the 2008 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association’s Conflict Processes Section. Her second book, Wars of Law: Unintended Consequences in the Regulation of Armed Conflict, was just published with Cornell University Press. Her work has also appeared in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Daedalus, International Organization, International Security, International Studies Review and Security Studies.

She has been a fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University. In 2002 she was awarded the Helen Dwight Reid Award of the American Political Science Association.

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Accounting for Death in War: Separating Fact from Fiction

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