School of Public and International Affairs
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.
- Federman, Sarah. “The Ideal Perpetrator. Considering the social-construction of accountability: a study of the French National Railways (SNCF)” Security Dialogue Volume 49, Issue 5: 327-344 (2018)
- Cobb, Sara, Sarah Federman, Alison Castel. Editors. (Book) Introduction to Conflict Resolution: Discourses and Dynamics. London: Rowman & Littlefield (in production with an anticipated release of August 2019)
- Federman, Sarah. “Keeper of the Violin.” Smithsonian Folklife Magazine, May 1, 2020.
- Federman, Sarah (2017) "Genocide Studies and Corporate Social Responsibility: The Contemporary Case of the French National Railways (SNCF)," Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal: Vol. 11: Iss. 2: 13-35.
- Federman, Sarah. “Narrative Approaches to Understanding and Responding to Conflict.” International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution (IJCER) Vol 4 Issue 2: 154-171. (2016)
Selected Recent Presentations:
- Universities and Slavery: A Reparations Proposal