Monday, October 19, 2015

Conference: Masculinities, Violence and (Post-)Conflict


Postgraduate Conference: Masculinities, Violence and (Post-)Conflict

Date: Thursday, 14 January 2016, 09:00 – 17:00
Venue: Ulster University, York St. Campus (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

The Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University invite proposals for a one-day postgraduate conference on Masculinities, Violence and (Post-)Conflict on Thursday, 14 January 2016. This student-led event will offer academic presentations, peer discussion, networking opportunities and expert feedback in a supportive environment. The conference will be followed by an international high-level workshop on Masculinities and Violence on Friday, 15 January 2016, organized by International Alert, Saferworld and Conciliation Resources (CR), providing a forum for both practitioners and international academics to engage on the topic.

The conference will bring together postgraduate students working on the interface between social constructions of masculinities as well as violence and (post-)conflict. Specifically, the conference will focus on the relationship between these areas, assessing how socially constructed notions of masculinities - in their varying forms, including hegemonic and subordinate conceptions - theoretically and conceptually can, and empirically do (or do not), fuel violence or impact the advancement of women's rights. At the same time, we aim to explore how situations of violence and victimisation influence and (re-)shape notions and dynamics of masculinities (both combatant and civilian identities), in itself and in relation to femininities and gender-hierarchies. The conference will therefore move beyond simplified conceptualisations of gender identities and critically explore the largely ambivalent role of masculinities. We thus aim to approach masculinities as both potentially contributing to violence and at the same time as potentially (and factually) vulnerable. Questions to be explored thus include, but are not limited to:

  • How, conceptually and empirically, can masculinities be linked to violence, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and violence against women (VAW)?
  • Conceptually and empirically, what are the relationships between masculinities and femininities, gender equality as well as women's rights within (post-) conflict contexts?
  • How do situations of violence and (post-)conflict shape masculinities, and how are masculinities (re-)shaped and influenced during conflict and post-conflict lived realities?
  • How and to what extent do post-conflict peace-building and transitional justice processes consider and address masculinities?
We invite paper proposals from postgraduate students across various disciplines that utilize a gendered lens while exploring the dynamics of, and/or relationships between masculinities, violence and (post-)conflict either conceptually or empirically in different geographical contexts and across time. In-depth case study analyses alongside theoretical explorations and empirically-grounded papers, including feminist theoretical and methodological approaches, are welcome. Speakers and discussants at the conference include, inter alia, Prof. Fionnuala Ni Aolain, Prof. Brandon Hamber (both Ulster University) and Dr. Henri Myrttinen (International Alert).

If you would like to propose a paper, please submit an abstract of max. 250 words and a short one-paragraph academic bio by 15 November 2015 to Philipp Schulz ( and Seamus Campbell (

Papers will be grouped thematically and distributed among three main panels. Each panel will have a designated commentator, an established academic or other expert in the field. Commentators will offer expert feedback as well as complement and stimulate peer-discussion. We are seeking the possibility of a publication of contributions (from conference and workshop), for which selected postgraduate papers might also be considered.

Participation and attendance at the conference are free of charge and participants are invited to attend the workshop on the following day. We regret that we are unable to offer travel bursaries or other assistance with costs. 

To download the PDF, click here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Special Rapporteur: Focus on Non-Recurrence

This week, 14-15 October 2015, I attended a policy review meeting in Sweden focusing on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence latest report. The report focuses specifically on the issue of non-recurrence. The Special Rapporteur draws attention to different interventions that can impact of non-recurrence including the role of civil society, the spheres of culture and personal dispositions, as well as the role education reform, arts and culture, and trauma counselling.

Download the Report of the Special Rapporteur A/HRC/30/42, 7 September 2015, click here.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Colombia Visit and Peace Process

In early September I was lucky enough to visit Colombia (17-24 September 2015). Currently, the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) are in the midst of negotiations to end the 50 year conflict. Some 250,000 people (80% civilians) have been killed over the decades and 6.5 million people displaced. Talks began in November 2012 in Havana, Cuba. Several accords have been reached and the final agreement is set to be signed in 2016.

I was invited to Colombia at the request of the City of Valledupar, one of the cities (some 1.5 hours north east of Bogota by plane) that was most affected by conflict. A series of conferences, presentations, and workshops were being organized under the leadership of Mayor Fredys Miguel Socarras Reales, focusing on preparing for the regional implementation of the peace. I addressed a range of community members (about 150-200) over a two-day process to discuss comparative peace lessons at a community level. I also met with the Mayor.

After the community engagements I spent some days in Bogota meeting some key players in the peace process and sharing lessons with them and different civil society members. The trip ended with a presentation to about 200-300 training lawyers at Libre University in Bogotá as part of conference on Reconciliation, Civil Law and Commissions. Again the focus was on comparative lessons from Northern Ireland.

View of the public meeting