Cohen, Laura

Current Research

Transitional Justice, Liminality and Mnemonic Battles at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Laura B. Cohen is a Ph.D. Candidate in Rutgers University’s Division of Global Affairs and a member of Rutgers University’s Delta XI Chapter of the Sigma Iota Rho International Studies Honor Society. Her research focuses on sites of atrocity as centers of public memory, space, and healing and their role in connecting the past to the present in contemporary post-conflict societies. Her broader areas of scholarly inquiry include critical genocide studies, human rights, transitional justice, and memory studies. She has conducted extensive fieldwork across Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2010 as well as at specific sites of atrocity in Germany, Poland, and Cambodia.

Laura has presented various aspects of her research about the memorialization of the Srebrenica genocide in numerous national and international conferences, including those held by the European Consortium for Political Research (Scotland, 2014); Rutgers University’s Bildner Center for Jewish History (2014); the International Association of Genocide Scholars (Italy, 2013); and Columbia University’s Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (New York, 2013). She was also selected as a History Education Network Graduate Student Scholar at Mount Royal University’s conference, "Understanding Atrocities" (Canada, 2014). Additionally, she was both a co-convenor and presenter at Rutgers University’s Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights inaugural conference, "Genocide: Pathways and Passages" (2014), as well as presented her research on genocide prevention at Rutgers University’s Division of Global Affairs conference on Global Ethics (2013).

She also presented her broader work on meta-concepts within memorialization at sites of atrocity at three events in Fall 2015: "Translating Memory and Remembrance Across Disciplines" at SUNY-New Paltz (October 2015); "Reflections in the Aftermath of War and Genocide" at Rutgers University’s Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (November 2015); and "The Politics of Memory: Victimization, Violence and Contested Narratives of the Past" at Columbia University’s Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (December 2015).

For three consecutive summers (2010-2012), Laura was a Research Fellow in the Summer University Srebrenica Program held in Bosnia i Herzegovina. She received her Master of Science degree from New York University’s Center of Global Affairs (CGA) in Human Rights in 2012 and earned a certificate in Human Rights Monitoring from the Human Rights Education Association in 2011. In 2008, she was a United States Delegate in the Nordic-American Dialogue Cultural Diplomacy Program held in Helsinki, Finland.

A long-time consultant with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, Laura’s background also includes a variety of international human rights- and humanitarian-focused internships and volunteering efforts, including with the International Service for Human Rights monitoring Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affair (‘Third’) Committee meetings during the 62nd session of the United Nations’ General Assembly and with the local women’s rights organization, Promoting Human Rights & Education in Bangladesh, based in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where she lived for three months.

Prior to her academic and human rights work, Laura’s professional career spanned fifteen years in the branding/marketing sectors, including stints at Ogilvy and Mather and MTV: Music Television. She earned a separate Master of Arts degree in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research in 1999.

Select Publications

Chapter: “Finding Global Justice Locally at Sites of Atrocity: The Case for the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center and Cemetery” in Understanding Atrocities: Remembering, Representing and Teaching Genocide edited by Scott W. Murray (Calgary: University of Calgary Press. forthcoming)

History Education Network/Histoire et éducation en réseau (March 2014): Blog Entry: “From Dachau to Calgary: The Understanding Atrocities Conference”

New York University, Student Journal: Humanus (Fall 2011): Essay: “Life Below the Knee” Women on Transatlantic Security Competition (May 2011): Policy Memo 32: “Women: The Key to Conflict Resolution”

New York University, Center for Global Affairs, Student Journal: Perspectives on Global Issues (Spring 2010): Article: “Human Trafficking in Cambodia as a Human Security Threat” and Photo Essay (Volume 4, Issue 2)


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