Photo of Doris E. Buss

Doris E. Buss


Degrees:B.A. (Carleton), LL.B. (Dalhousie), LL.M. (British Columbia)
Phone:613-520-2600 x. 8011
Office:D486 LA (Loeb Building)

Teaching and Research Interests

I teach and research in the areas of international law and human rights, women’s rights, global social movements, and feminist theory. My research examines how gender equality and women’s rights norms are framed and contested in various international legal, regulatory and policy sites.  In this work, I explore international law and policy making on women’s international human rights in various UN arenas, as well as the international responses, including criminal prosecution of conflict-related violence against women. My current research takes up these themes in two different ways. In collaboration with colleagues in Africa and Canada, I am involved with two studies of women’s livelihoods in artisanal and small-scale mining in six African countries, exploring the gendered dynamics of national and international governance reforms of resource extraction, particularly in relation to ‘conflict’ minerals. The second strand of my research explores the ‘measurement turn’ in gender equality, and the different regimes for conducting, monitoring, and implementing gender equality commitments. In this work, and as part of a multi-disciplinary team of scholars at Carleton University, I am exploring the epistemological, political and regulatory effects of the ‘measurement turn’ in public policy, both in Canada and internationally. My area of focus in this research is on practices of measurement in post-conflict state-building and rule of law reform.

Current Supervision

Master’s Research Essay:
Sarah Kabamba. 2018. “Regulation of Natural Resources as a Key to Development: Artisanal Mining in African Countries”.

Selected Publications

(2015) “Measurement Imperatives and Gender Politics: An Introduction”, Social Politics  22: 381-389.

(2014) “Knowing women: Translating Patriarchy in International Criminal Law”, Social & Legal Studies, 23(1): 73-92.

(2014) Buss, Doris, Joanne Lebert, Blair Rutherford, Donna Sharkey, and Obi Aginam, eds. Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies: International Agendas and African Contexts. Routledge, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-13-801952-2 (

(2014) “Seeing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies: The Limits of Visibility”, in D Buss, J Lebert, B Rutherford, and D Sharkey, eds. Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies: International Agendas and African Contexts. Routledge Press, pp. 3-27.

(2010) ‘Learning our Lessons? The Rwanda Tribunal Record on Prosecuting Rape’, in Rethinking Rape Law: International and Comparative Perspectives. Clare McGlynn andVanessa Munro (eds) (London: Routledge-Cavendish) pp. 61-75.

(2009) ‘Rethinking “Rape as a Weapon of War”’, Feminist Legal Studies 17(2): 145-163.

(2007)”‘The Curious Visibility of Wartime Rape: Gender and Ethnicity in International Criminal Law”, Windsor Journal of Access to Justice 25:

(2004) “Finding the Homosexual in Women’s Rights: The Christian Right in International Politics.” International Feminist Journal of Politics (2004) 6 (2), 259-286.

Globalizing Family Values: The Christian Right in International Politics (with Didi Herman) (University of Minnesota Press, 2003).

am completing a multi-year study of identity and international war crimes tribunals. My research examines how international war crimes prosecutions produce ‘legal knowledge’ about the origins and nature of large-scale violence, the meaning of racial and ethnic identity, and the impact of sexual violence crimes. I am interested in how international criminal law draws on various expert knowledges – from anthropology to sociology and history – to generate legal determinations about large scale violence. This part of my research focuses specifically on the Rwanda Tribunal and what I term ‘the politics’ of judging Rwandan history. My research and teaching generally could be characterised as interested in identity and international law. My previous work considered how social movements coalesced around the promotion of, or opposition to, women’s human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights.I am currently working (with Joanne Lebert, Blair Rutherford, Donna Sharkey, and Obi Aginam) on a project entitled Sexual Violence and Conflict in Africa. This international workshop was held at Carleton University in May 2010, the papers from which will be published in an edited volume by the United Nations University Press in 2012. For more information on this project, see: