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Laura Martin will be joining the War Crimes Research Group to discuss her new book, Navigating Transitional Justice: Agency at Work in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone.

In post-war Sierra Leone, a range of transitional justice mechanisms were implemented to address experiences of conflict, violence, and human rights violations. Much of the research on local transitional justice processes has focused on the work of organisations, failing to acknowledge how individual and communal dynamics shape and are shaped by these programs. During her talk, Dr Martin will discuss how Sierra Leoneans have navigated their own personal circumstances in conflict and post-conflict societies. Developing the idea of recognised and unrecognised transitional justice processes, Martin uses Fambul Tok as an example of a recognised local transitional justice program and shows how ordinary Sierra Leoneans appropriated Fambul Tok's agenda for their own purposes, highlighting the agencies of a diverse range of actors in shaping transitional justice processes. Justice, as Martin ultimately argues, is not something that happens to or for people, but is enacted by individuals and communities.

Speaker biographies

Dr Laura S Martin is an Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations (with a focus on African Politics) at the University of Nottingham and a lecturer at the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone. She is a qualitative and ethnographic researcher and has spent over ten years conducting fieldwork in Sierra Leone. Dr Martin has a wide range of research interests including post-conflict transitional justice and peacebuilding, the politics of humour and violence, sexual and gender-based violence, and gender politics more broadly. She is also the co-author of the book Humour and Politics in Africa: Beyond Resistance (2023, Bristol University Press) and has published her research in a wide range of academic journals including Third World Quarterly, Cooperation and Conflict, Critical African Studies and the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.

Chair: Rebekka Friedman

Discussant: Kieran Mitton

Event details

Dockrill Room
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS