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Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Professor, Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego

About Austin

Choi-Fitzpatrick’s research focuses on (1) technological diffusion, especially of drones and satellites, (2) politics and protest, especially focused on the modern anti-slavery movement, and (3) the importance of open access for the democratization of knowledge. Overarching themes in Choi-Fitzpatrick’s writings include the interplay of culture and politics, the way the powerful respond to protest, the diffusion and regulation of new technology, and the importance of technological innovation that is just and sustainable.

In the News

Guest on City Lab DC, October 31, 2019.
Guest on 7 San Diego, March 26, 2019.
Opinion: "Things Were Supposed to Be Different in Hungary," Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Slate, December 4, 2018.
Opinion: "Cruelty or Keeping it in the Family? What I Learned From India's Slaveholders," Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, The Guardian, April 28, 2017.
Interviewed in "What Do Slaveowners Think?," AEON, March 23, 2017.
Opinion: "Struggle Over Aleppo's Story Takes to the Skies," Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Aljazeera, February 22, 2017.
Opinion: "The Rise of Nonviolent Drones," Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Slate, May 5, 2016.
Opinion: "Drones Will Change the Way We Estimate Crowd Sizes, and That’s a Big Deal," Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Slate, December 1, 2014.
Opinion: "How the FAA’s Drone Policy Will Affect the Rest of The World," Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Slate, October 9, 2014.


"What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They Do" (Columbia University Press, 2017, paperback 2019).

Unprecidented interviews with contemporary slaveholders documents what it feels like to have the earth shift from under one's feet. How do the once-powerful feel about tectonic shifts in politics, economics, and society?

"From Human Trafficking to Human Rights: Rethinking Contemporary Slavery" (Pennsylvania University Press, 2012, paperback 2013).

Argues that human rights must be the most important objective in efforts to end modern slavery once and for all. We cannot arrest our way out of human trafficking.

"The Good Drone: How Social Movements Democratize Surveillance" (MIT Press, 2020).

Upends what we think we know about drones. Novel data and compelling case studies argue new pro-social tools in the air change politics on the ground.