Memory and Justice

2017 “Only Looking Forward: The Absence of National History in Sierra Leone.” Chapter in History Can Bite: History Education in Divided and Post-War Societies. Eds. Denise Bentrovato, Karina V. Korostelina, and Martina Schultze. V&R; Unipress, Göttingen.

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Summary: In a volume containing critical insights on teaching history in the wake of civil war and mass violence, this chapter explores connections between education, identity, and memory post-war Sierra Leone. It explains how, through education systems, past violence can inform nation-building as well as citizen formation in Sierra Leone and similar countries.

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“Teaching Silence in the Schoolroom: Whither National History in Sierra Leone and El Salvador?” Third World Quarterly, 36:1, 2015, pages 147-161. For full Spanish translation in pdf, click here.

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Summary: This article addresses the divergent cultures of silence and memorialization about the civil wars in Sierra Leone and El Salvador, and examines the role that sites of remembering and forgetting play in crafting post-war citizens. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in each country, the article documents how the culture of silence that pervades Sierra Leone enables a progress-driven ‘looking forward’ without teaching the past, while El Salvador is working on weaving a culture of memorialization into its democratization process.

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“Remembering Violence: The Role of Apology and Dialogue in Turkey’s Democratization Process.” Democratization, April, 2012, pages 1-24.

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Summary: This article examines how citizens use memories of violence in dialogue with a democratizing Turkish state, and explores how memories of violence influence solidarity communities in addition to those who are direct descendants of survivors. In demonstrating the connection between memory and political participation, it identifies and explores in detail three discursive moments where Turkish and Armenian citizens invoke memory in dialogue with one other and with the state.

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“From Sulha to Salaam: Connecting local knowledge with international negotiations for lasting peace in Palestine/Israel.” With Mandi Vuinovich, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2009, pages 127-148.

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Summary: This article surveys conflict resolution in the Arab world, then turns to sulha, a Palestinian peacemaking process, for an in-depth analysis to distill lessons for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Discusses key features of the community-based practice of sulha that could be invoked at the international level: restoration of honor and dignity, reconciliation in the wider community, and public demarcation of the end of violence. The article argues that culture is crucial in fostering mutual understanding in conflict resolution, and that ensuring the basic human right to dignity should be an essential component of international third-party interventions.

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“World views in peace building: a post-conflict reconstruction challenge in Cambodia.” Development in Practice, 20: 1, 2010, pages 85-98.

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Summary: This article explores post-conflict reconstruction in Cambodia through an analysis of both the dangers of liberal peacebuilding and the positive role that capacity-building training plays in war-torn societies. The central question addressed is how insider–outsider dynamics influence Cambodia's post-conflict reconstruction projects, as well as how international workers and Cambodian NGO staff are affected by constructed assumptions of ‘the good life.’ The article offers an overview of Cambodia's history and cultural context to situate its analysis of liberal peace building and foreign donors, as well as the behavioral characteristics of international peace builders operating within Cambodia, and concludes with recommendations for improving future partnerships between insiders and outsiders in Cambodian peace-building projects.

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“Justice or Reconciliation? The Khmer Rouge Tribunal.” Book chapter in Afro-Asian Conflicts: Changing Contours, Costs and Consequences. Ed. Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra & Seema Shekhawat. New Century Publications, Delhi, India, 2008, pages 101-127.

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Summary: The issues of conflict and peace are of immense relevance in the post-Cold War scenario, which has witnessed an unprecedented rise in violent conflicts locally, yet with global ramifications. Oftentimes the conflicts have been protracted with horrendous consequences. This volume looks at some of the conflicts in Africa and Asia and their political and humanitarian dimensions. The book explores the causes and changing contours of these conflicts with a focus on costs and consequences. By emphasizing on these twin aspects, it brings to the forefront the victimization of common peoples caught in conflict situations.

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“No Justice, No peace: Cambodia's Post-Conflict Reconstruction Challenges.” Asian Perspective, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2008, pages 37-57.

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Summary: With a focus on the expectation of reconciliation from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, this article dives into the interrelationship between national reconciliation processes and grassroots peacebuilding in the form of conflict resolution trainings. Noting that retributive justice processes cannot take the place of restorative justice, genuine reconciliation in Cambodia will need to incorporate culturally-based ritual derived from Buddhism in order to be relevant to local people. The Khmer Institute of Democracy (KID), a Cambodian NGO, serves as a case study for the successes and obstacles to local peacebuilding initiatives.

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2007  “Powerful Cultures: Indigenous and Western Conflict Resolution Processes in Cambodia.” Peace, Conflict and Development, Issue 11, pages 1-28.

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Summary: Explores the role of cultural differences and disparities in power in western and indigenous mediation and cross-cultural conflict resolution processes, including analysis of mediation, culture, conflict, and power. Draws on fieldwork in Cambodia in looking at the dynamics of western and indigenous cultures in mediation trainings, where western epistemologies are prioritized.

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