I earned my BA in Political Science from San Diego State University in 2006 and my MSS in International Relations/Development Studies from Aalborg Universitet in 2009. Since then, I’ve been a full-time doctoral student majoring in political theory at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. To subsidize my existence, I teach Middle East politics at Brooklyn College and American politics at Lehman College.
My research deals broadly with the perpetration of atrocities by self-described liberal nation-states and the frequent dissonance between state actions and national myths.
I am primarily concerned with the tension between the universalist aspirations of the liberal tradition and the tendency for nations to reduce these lofty ideals to particularistic national myths. How does the national subject reconcile atrocities committed on behalf of the nation—especially when the nation’s constitutive myths come into conflict with the reality of state violence? How does the visibility of extreme violence shape the state’s deployment of violent tactics? My dissertation explores these questions by looking at Israel’s use of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and the use of torture and drone attacks by the United States.
Besides academic publications, my writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Electronic Intifada, and the Palestine Chronicle. I have also appeared on Democracy Now! and Russian Television.
Before beginning my Ph.D., I worked for some time as a human rights activist in Gaza and the West Bank and I still maintain close contact with the Palestine activist community. Although, this has earned me some vicious enemies—it’s earned me many more wonderful friends.
I’m an avid music fan, (try to) play jazz guitar and I’m currently teaching myself to play the bouzouki. I love cooking (and eating!) healthy, organic, seasonal dishes — but above all, I enjoy talking politics over a few glasses of red wine.
Contact me: kpetersen-overton [at] gc [dot] cuny [dot] edu