Monday, July 21, 2014

Michigander Monday: Carrie Booth Walling

I'm pleased to welcome Carrie Booth Walling to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Carrie, please tell us a little about yourself.

Carrie:  I was born and raised in Bay City Michigan and am a Spartan through and through – a proud graduate of Michigan State University. After spending several years living out of the state – in Aberystwyth Wales, Washington, DC and Minneapolis Minnesota – my husband and I moved back to Michigan in 2006.  Our home is in Flint, Michigan where my husband, Dayne Walling, is Mayor.  We have two amazing sons – Bennett and Emery – and we are thrilled to be raising them in Flint where their father was born and raised. As a mom of two avid soccer players, I spend much of my free time on the sidelines watching soccer matches.  This summer we couldn’t get enough of cheering for Team USA in the World Cup. 

I am a political science professor at Albion College where I teach a variety of courses in international relations and human rights.  I research how international organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court respond to mass atrocity crimes; and I write about the impact that human rights norms have on the conduct of international affairs.  

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

Carrie:  My book, All Necessary Measures: The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) considers how the United Nations Security Council began to entertain questions about human rights when previously such discussions were considered inappropriate.  I then show how principled arguments for human rights led to the practice of humanitarian intervention – the use of military force to rescue populations at risk of mass killing. The book examines Security Council decision-making in 8 conflicts characterized by mass atrocity crimes between 1991 and 2011: Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, the Darfur region of Sudan and Libya.  The purpose is two-fold: 1) to help explain why humanitarian intervention happens in some places and not others; and 2) to show how human rights norms are changing the meaning of state sovereignty and the legitimate purpose of military force at the United Nations.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Carrie:  I have not yet started my next book but I am exploring the possibility of writing a book on the research and advocacy practices of Human Rights Watch, an independent international organization that works to advance the cause of human rights world-wide.  I am working on a series of journal articles including an article comparing Security Council policy in Libya and Syria, an article on justice and accountability for Syrian civilians, and an article on the relationship between the Security Council and the International Criminal Court.  In a couple of months Human Rights Quarterly will publish an article I’ve coauthored with Susan Waltz (Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan) about a new human rights website that we’ve developed.  If your readers are interested in learning more about human rights they can visit our website, Human Rights Advocacy and The History of the International Human Rights Standards, which we liken to an open access online textbook at

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Carrie:  As a professor and author of an academic text, most of my book talks take place at colleges and universities during the academic year.  Last year, I enjoyed sharing the book with students at Albion College, the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Flint campuses) and Wayne State University.  This month, I’m presenting the findings at a workshop at The Hague Institute for Global Justice in the Netherlands.  I can’t wait to see where I’ll go next. 

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Carrie:  I have a great fondness for the old Bay City Public Library.  I remember riding my bike there on Saturday afternoons in the summer with a quarter in my pocket to call my parents on the payphone after I got there.  I’ve spent so much of my life and professional career in libraries and find that I love them all – from searching the stacks at the big research libraries at U of M and MSU, to writing book chapters in the Michigan historical section of the Flint Public library, and grabbing a drink with students in the café at Albion’s college library.  For me, libraries are magical places where ideas are born and get tested. 

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Carrie:  I have always loved Sleeping Bear Sand dunes.  I remember climbing to the top in my bare feet and running back down again as a little girl.  Now I get to chase my own kids through the sand and try to keep up.  One of the best ways to enjoy the dunes is to camp at the Platte River Campground.  It’s nice to slow down the pace and really take time to enjoy one of our great national parks right here in Michigan.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Carrie:  Perhaps your readers will find this surprising, but I love to be in downtown Flint, Michigan on any Saturday in August.  It’s hard to choose just one event.  The revitalized downtown hosts thousands and thousands of people from all across the state at several annual festivals that are fun for everyone.  August 8-10 we host the CANUSA games – North America’s largest and longest running international friendship games between Hamilton, Ontario and Flint Michigan.  Over 1400 youth athletes compete in 16 events to win the CANUSA cup.  August 12-16 we host the annual Back to the Bricks car show and cruise, considered one of the country’s best auto events.  It’s free to come down and walk the bricks lined with the classic cars and there is plenty of live music and entertainment.  Flint is also home to the Crim Festival of Races which features a competitive 10 mile run that draws elite world-class runners, wheelers, and locals.  For those of us with less endurance there are other fun and competitive races including a teddy bear trot for young kids and 1 mile, 5K and 8k races.  In 2013, the Crim boasted 15,000 racers and 60,000 spectators to cheer them on.  Much of the Flint community comes out to cheer on the runners and supply them with water or beer along the route.  This year’s race weekend is August 22-23.  And if you like to eat, we have plenty of offerings at locally owned and operated restaurants and bars.

The newest hotspot in Flint though is the Flint Farmers' Market in downtown.  Thousands of people from all over the area have been flocking to the new public market that boasts over 50 indoor vendors and another 25 outside.  You can buy everything from fresh farm produce and flowers to gourmet wines and chocolates.  The market has an art gallery, café, Middle Eastern and Mexican groceries and even a mini hardware. Market days feature live music on the lawn outside and often cooking demonstrations.  The kids will enjoy donuts, popcorn and the mini farm play land hosted by the Flint Children’s Museum.  I love to buy my groceries there because I can meet the farmers and small business owners who have lovingly made the products that I buy and the festival-like atmosphere feels good.  It’s like shopping among friends. 

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Carrie:  Christopher Paul Curtis is an award winning author who grew up in Michigan.  His book, Bud, Not Buddy, was the first to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King author award.  His book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, was recently made into a Hallmark Channel original movie.  Curtis really knows how to connect to young people and especially elementary and middle school aged kids.  I remember taking a family road trip with our kids listening to his book, Bucking the Sarge, on audio and the kids just rolling with laughter in the backseat – what an enjoyable car ride that was.  Curtis has really mastered the art of upper elementary school boy humor and his books feature Michigan cities, Michigan families and address important cultural and historical periods in US history.  I love to read them too and they make me laugh but not as much as the two boys in the backseat.  

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Carrie:  We have a beautiful state and it’s a great place to vacation and explore nature but it’s the people that live here that make our state so special.

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?

Carrie:  My husband uses the phrase “people from Michigan” but I grew up a Michigander.

Debbie:  Carrie, we'll add you to the Michigander column!  Thank you very much for being here today for Michigander Monday!

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