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Sarah FedermanSarah Federman

assistant professor 
School of Public and International Affairs

Contact Information:

Phone: 410.837.6055
Sarah Federman's website

Ph.D., George Mason University
M.A., American University of Paris
B.A., University of Pennsylvania

Sarah Federman specializes in the role of language in conflict, post-conflict contexts and the role of market actors in mass atrocity. She came to the University of Baltimore after completing her doctorate at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Federman has also taught courses SciencesPo Lille, Grinnell College, and the University of Malta.

Her doctoral research has attracted widespread attention. Federman studied of the role of the French National Railways (SNCF) in the World War II Holocaust deportations and the conflict that continues today in the United States over whether the company has done enough to make amends. Her work included archival research, over 120 interviews (with Jewish leaders, historians, legislators, lawyers and over 80 Holocaust survivors) and pro bono work with the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. State Department and The Washington Post.  

France’s Fondation pour la mémoire de la Shoah helped support this research as did the Kathryn Davis Foundation through Middlebury College, the Presidential Scholarship at George Mason University, and the Carey Institute for Global Good. Amtrak also awarded Federman a writing residency allowing her to edit her book manuscript while crisscrossing the USA aboard Amtrak trains.

The social construction of victims and perpetrators remains a central theme of her work as well as questions of corporate accountability for mass atrocity. Considering the intersection of corporate behavior and conflict draws on Federman’s decade-long career as a senior advertising executive. Based first in Manhattan, then in Toronto and finally Paris, Federman negotiated with companies throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Some of the companies with whom she met include; Google, NFL, Viacom, Expedia, Discovery and most of the world’s largest advertising agencies. During her professional career, she completed Harvard Business School’s Key Executive Program, studying negotiation, entrepreneurship, strategy and accounting.

Federman is fluent in French.

Current Research Interests:

  • The role of market actors (corporations) in mass atrocity
  • How language and narratives work to entrench or transform conflict
  • The social construction of victims and perpetrators

Her website Language of Conflict discusses the role of language in framing conflicts and as a result, the approaches taken for their resolution.

With a lifetime commitment to writing, she founded Finish and Flourish, a website offering support to individuals struggling to finish writing projects.

Selected Publications:

Recent Presentations:


  • Genocide Education and Prevention Project (GEAPP)
    The Business of Mass Atrocity
    Montclair State University
    July 23-24 (Montclair, NJ)

  • Large –Scale Violence and Its Aftermaths
    What to do with market actors?
    Kean University Summer Institute, Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Human Rights, Cardozo Law School
    June 25-29 (Union, NJ)

  • Emerging Expertise Conference: Holding Accountability Accountable
    The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University
    April 6-9 (Worcester, MA)


  • Law and Society Association Annual Meeting
    Ideal Perpetrator” Considering the Social-construction and Politics of Accountability: A Study of the French National Railroad (SNCF)
    June 2-5 (New Orleans, LA)

  • Facing a Violent Past: Dealing with History and Memory in Conflict Resolution
    School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
    The Social Construction of Ideal Perpetration.
    April 22 (Arlington, VA)