The focus of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security is the development and facilitation of a cross-disciplinary programme of research and project initiatives that enhance knowledge of issues related to a variety of transnational phenomena that are now, and for the foreseeable future, rapidly changing (and challenging) society, law and governance. By focusing on three thematic pillars – human rights, crime, and security – the Centre seeks to harness the critical mass of talent and energy found at Osgoode Hall Law School and York University more generally, alongside a network of Centre associates from universities around the world and from non-university sectors. The involvement of Osgoode and other York graduate students and, eventually, of qualified upper-year LLB (now, JD) students in Centre activities is an essential dimension of the Centre’s work.
The Centre seeks as much as possible to make its contribution by studying, seeking to understand, and constantly querying the relationships between crime, security and human rights, as informed by transnational perspectives. This relational and triangulated approach is intended to produce fresh analysis attendant to the multiple dimensions – the criminal justice, the security and the human rights angles – of a variety of transnational phenomena.
Any one of the three thematic pillars of the Nathanson Centre may receive separate attention in any given research project, program or activity. Most notably, the study of organized crime, with emphasis on its transnational dimensions, will remain a central focus of the Nathanson Centre as a consequence of the first decade of highly productive research activity as the Nathanson Centre on Organized Crime and Corruption under the leadership of former Director, Professor Margaret Beare. With respect to proposed research activity that would focus entirely on one of the three pillar concerns or have one of these concerns as the core component in a broader project, the main criterion for evaluating a research project’s fit with the Centre’s mandate is the potential for the research to contribute to general knowledge (or ‘pure theory’) in relation to that concern in such a way that new vistas – whether challenges, new research questions, or interdisciplinary insights – may be opened with respect to the study of either or both of the other pillar concerns.
One overarching ambition of the Nathanson Centre is to foster general research on the “transnational” in both its empirical and normative dimensions, including research that may not have particular, or at least not immediate, application to any one of the three pillars. Legal (both theoretical and doctrinal) analysis and cognate interdisciplinary analysis are particularly important to the Centre’s work, but by no means the exclusive focus.