David M. Rosen

Professor of Anthropology and Law

College at Florham

Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship

Edison famously remarked that genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Your determined labors certainly play a major role in your scholarly success. But you also have taken advantage of the one percent part of the equation.

As a graduate student doing fieldwork in Sierra Leone, you were inspired by the country and have revisited it in your research. As a lecturer at Ben Gurion University in Israel, you became active in local civil rights groups and passionate about the region. A “constant companion” of war, as you so eloquently put it, you lost kin to the Holocaust and have since looked to shed insights on conflicts that claim lives.

You were once taking a quiet walk through the British Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, strolling among the graves of young soldiers who died during World War I, when you came to a deep understanding that youth have long been, as you wrote, “consumed in the fires of war.” 

Thus was the inspiration that led to your groundbreaking book, Armies of the Young: Child Soldiers in War and Terrorism. In this impressive volume — with case studies from Eastern Europe during the Holocaust, Sierra Leone and Palestine — you make the strong case that the child soldier problem reflects changing social and legal views of childhood.

Recently translated into Italian, the book has been described by reviewers as “powerful,” “provocative” and a “strong example of an ethical and engaged treatment of this topic.”

You have expanded your contributions with articles such as, “Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood” and a forthcoming piece about child soldiers in literature. You also helped frame the American Anthropological Association initiative to promote U.S. ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. You are now studying the war crimes trials at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where the principle defendants were charged with recruiting child soldiers.

But your scholarly pursuits are not limited to this important realm. You have authored Readings in Anthopology and numerous chapters and papers on subjects like American families, Judaism, the Middle East, poverty and slavery.

An FDU faculty member since 1981, you have taught such courses as Cultural Anthropology and American Constitutional Law. For your many leadership roles on campus — which include serving as president of the Faculty Senate and chair of the University Grievance Committee — you have been honored with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service.

Today, we happily honor you once again. Your inspired work has probed profound questions, shaped new understandings and earned you the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship.