Dr. Pawel Lutomski is a Lecturer in International Relations at Stanford who specializes in international law, forced migration, atrocities and reconciliation, and German-Polish relations. He spoke with us about his areas of interest, his favorite courses to teach, and some of his hobbies!
What are your areas of interest of study?
International Law and International Relations. More specifically, issues of state sovereignty and human rights, as well as reparations and reconciliation. I have a law degree and love teaching the nuanced fundamentals of it, as they appear in their real-life applications, to students of IR. In the area of IR theory, I attempt to reasonably “reconcile” the Big Three (realism, liberalism, and constructivism), or rather to draw on them to various degrees that I personally find useful and appropriate. I find constructivism most creative and fun though, especially since there I can draw on my background in cultural studies and social theory. (I wrote my own doctoral thesis on the construction of German nationhood during the Second German Empire.)
What are some of your favorite courses to teach?
During my many years at Stanford, I have created a number of courses, and they are all very dear to me. It is like children for a parent: which one do you love the most? Impossible to say! But the favorite ones are: “International Law and International Relations” (140A), which I have taught and updated for the last twenty years, and “Mass Atrocities: Reckoning and Reconciliation” (62Q), into which I have put a lot of work and emotion over the last few years.
What do you like to do outside of Stanford?
I love traveling and have been to quite a few places in the world by now. Since Europe is my native backyard, I have enjoyed venturing out to more “exotic” corners of the world: e.g., Tibet, Nepal, Laos, Japan, Rwanda, Senegal, the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), the Amazon. I still love Europe too—especially Portugal, Italy, and Scandinavia. Having lived in San Francisco for almost thirty years, I still can’t get enough of its sites, culturally diverse atmosphere, its vibe, and its culinary venues. I love reading a good book, or seeing a good play, though fiction still is less preferred by me than raw reality. I am addicted to classical music, especially the German romantics, including the late ones, in particular Gustav Mahler. I have a kitty—American Tabby, whose name is Bucky. He is as unruly and creative as his namesake, the late Buckminster Fuller. Bucky is over 12 and thus a senior, not unlike me.