James Astman has been a visiting scholar in the Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict Program since 2014, initially with the Department of Politics and International Relations and, since 2019, with the Blavatnik School of Government. He serves as a faculty member of the Oxford Consortium of Human Rights and has led the Consortium’s conference on human rights education in Los Angeles. For 25 years, he was Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, teaching child and adolescent development. He has also been Adjunct Professor of Education at Claremont Graduate University and Visiting Scholar/Faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University.
Dr Astman’s research, writing, and teaching focus on peace and human rights education. He is the American contributor to a new international volume on the theater arts and peace education (Routledge 2022). He is currently completing a book on the dialogical nature of teaching (To Begin with Children: Educating for Peace and Human Rights from Cradle to Classroom). His work, which examines the nature of human presence in pedagogy and parenting, makes use of 30 years of videotaped interviews he has conducted with children and adolescents. These interviews highlight the effect of pedagogical relationships on the development of leadership capacity and character traits on which peace and human dignity depend.
Dr Astman served for 40 years as Headmaster of Oakwood School, a K-12 day school in Los Angeles, California on the forefront of independent education. Under his guidance, the school developed a signature human rights program which promotes social justice and moral agency.