Thesis Report #5: The Kids are Alright

I’m about to dive into the cuddly topic of human rights abuses, and believe it or not, I’m actually a tad trepidatious about the process of my case selection.  It seemed so clear (as it often does right at the beginning of potentially career-deciding research) that my original choices were the best.  Now though, I’m starting to see that there is greener grass elsewhere, and I’m starting to meander towards the fence.

So what is this sure to be world-changing, mind-bogglingly brilliant topic that’s guaranteed to shatter the current policy debate and win me two Nobel prizes, a Pulizer and the fellowship of my choice?


Imagine you have two kids named, oh, I don’t know… Hugo and… um… Slav.
And they hate each other.
A lot.
Imagine they hate each other so much that anytime they’re near each other, they only do really terrible, rotten things to each other.  Things like Hugo pulls Slav’s hair, and Slav responds by blowing up Hugo’s room with the M-80s your husband, Russ, said he’d thrown out, but actually gave to Slav in exchange for some of Slav’s toy soldiers and the promise that he was Slav’s favourite parent.

Anyway, pretend that things are getting so bad between the kids that one day, you get home from work to find that they’re in the middle of the kind of fight where they’re about to kill each other.  So you step in (and in the process throw a couple of punches yourself because you’re just so sick of the bickering), and you send them to their respective rooms. (Or to what’s left of their rooms in Hugo’s case.)
And you keep them there.
For the rest of their lives.

Welcome to partitioning.

Granted, I’m taking a slightly derogatory path in explaining all this, but at times in my research, this is exactly how the situation has felt.  What’s worse is, it’s to the point in some areas where the “kids” don’t even really hate each other.  They just bicker with each other because they’re still pissed off that one of them took some of the other’s toys when they were younger or because one of them got the larger room when they all moved into the house together.  Point being, in the real and imaginary cases there was violence before the fighting, and there’s violence after the eventual partition.  The questions for me to answer now are “Were there more, less or equal levels violence before and after?” and “Does the result mean that partition helped?”

And that brings us back to square one.  My original case idea, which I thought was obvious and perfect, but am now equivocating on a bit.
Initially, Bosnia-Hercegovina made perfect sense to me.  But now I’m looking at the situation and thinking “Hmmm.  Bos-Herce is nice and all, but DAMN Kosovo is sexy.  I should really look into it some more…”

And yes.  International relations students really do find countries attractive.  I think we think all the drama is hot or something.

Anyway, for the moment, there’s my thesis position.  Getting in behind the Kosovo partition debate and using human rights abuses to justify one side or the other.

So, if it sounds like a breakthrough and feels like a breakthrough…