Archive: ‘Forensic Archaeology’

Call for chapter abstracts: Edited volume on “Approaching Perpetrators”

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Prisoners at work, Rwanda

Call for Chapters

Approaching Perpetrators: Insights on Ethics, Methods, and Theory

Deadline: October 1, 2015

Editors: Kjell Anderson, Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies,

& Erin Jessee, University of Strathclyde

Although much has been written about the causes of genocide and similar mass atrocities, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge of perpetrators. While a range of studies have emerged over the past few decades that examine perpetrators’ motives and actions as represented in legal transcripts or through the narratives of survivors, for example, there is a relative paucity of studies that emerge from firsthand qualitative fieldwork with perpetrators themselves. Our volume will address this gap by bringing into conversation for the first time a selection of chapters on perpetrators of genocide and related mass atrocities based entirely on qualitative field research. As such, this volume will explore the personal, social, economic, political and historical contexts through which people from a range of backgrounds become perpetrators, and the theoretical insights that can be gained from engaging with perpetrators’ narratives, facilitating a more nuanced understanding of how genocide and related mass atrocities take shape within societies. (more…)

New policy brief: The Right to Know – Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Rights of the Missing and their Families in Northern Uganda

Sunday, July 26th, 2015


Since 2012, I have been collaborating on a part-time basis with the Uganda-based Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) on their Right to Know campaign. JRP initiated this campaign to draw attention to the plight faced by many survivors of the recent twenty-year civil war in northern Uganda: namely, the absence of reliable information about the missing – often presumed dead – victims of the war, and its negative impact surviving communities in the years since the formal cessation of hostilities. (more…)

New Online Resource: Research in Difficult Settings

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015


Susan Thomson, Milli Lake and I have recently launched a new online resource – Research in Difficult Settings – that provides a forum for academics and practitioners from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and regional expertise to exchange ideas related to conducting fieldwork in highly politicized, authoritarian, and other difficult settings. The resource consists of three main components: (1) a scholars’ database to promote networking among like-minded affiliates; (2) a working paper series containing long- and short-form articles on pressing ethical and methodological issues; and (3) an interactive forum that facilitates real-time discussion of challenges that emerge during fieldwork. The resource boasts an impressive Advisory Board, including Kathleen Blee, Kimberly Theidon and  Chandra Lekham Sriram, among others, who will assist with peer-reviewing all working paper submissions. Simply sign-up to join the conversations!

New Web Publication: Among the Anonymous Dead

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 14.23.06Following a successful panel on “Among the Anonymous Dead: Exhumations and the Emotive Materiality of Deceased Victims of Mass Violence” that I organized for the 2014 American Anthropological Association annual meeting, the discussant, Sarah Wagner, and I were invited to write a reflective piece for the new Emergent Conversations series overseen by the Political and Legal Anthropology Review. In this piece, we highlight the growing interest that surrounds anonymous victims of mass atrocities in various locations around the world, and how dead bodies are often capable of affecting, both positively and negatively, efforts aimed at promoting social repair in transitional communities. We then briefly discuss the papers presented by the panel’s contributors, including John Harries, Jackie Leach-Scully, Dawnie Steadman, and myself, with particular emphasis placed on the themes of “emotive materiality” – how the physical and imagined presence of bones and other remains evokes emotional responses in those who come in contact with them – and “temporalities” – how the passage of time influences people’s reactions to the anonymous dead. A key outcome of the panel was the shared realization that the symbolic capital attributed to human remains in the aftermath of mass atrocities can be contested throughout a society. Assigning meaning to the anonymous dead is a process that is not solely state-driven, nor is it inherently consistent across time and space.

Al-Jazeera feature on “Mapping Uganda’s Massacres”

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
DeiDeo Komakech conducts an interview in Bolo

Al-Jazeera’s online digital magazine has just published a feature piece I co-authored with photojournalist Marc Ellison on the work of Refugee Law Project’s Deo Komakech in northern Uganda. From his hometown of Kitgum, Deo has taken on an incredible project that seeks to document previously unreported mass atrocities that occurred during the recent twenty-year civil war in northern Uganda, whether perpetrated by the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) or the Ugandan military. Since launching the project in September 2010, he has archived Ugandan newspaper reports pertaining to over 4,500 LRA attacks and abductions and trained community leaders across northern Uganda in documenting additional atrocities that have yet to be reported. Thus far, an additional 230 attacks have been revealed, though more will undoubtedly follow as he extends. (more…)


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