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Understanding Violence Seminar Series

The Understanding Violence Seminar Series explores the drivers of violent and peaceful behaviour, with a focus on the impact of trauma in conflict-affected states. Throughout 2020-21, we will be inviting a range of speakers including diplomats, academics, activists, journalists, and policy practitioners, who will bring new disciplinary insights and inspire new ways for thinking through the challenges of armed conflict and its aftermath.

The series is led by Dr Christine Cheng, Lecturer in War Studies, and Pauline Zerla, PhD student, Department of War Studies.


Event Calendar:


28 Oct

15:00 – 16:30

Visual Investigations in Conflict Zones Christiaan Triebert, Journalist at the New York Times

4 Nov

15:00 – 16:15

Violent Extremist Disengagement and Reconciliation Chris Bosley, Senior Program Officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace

11 Nov

15:00 – 16:30

Victims and Transitional Justice in Columbia Dr Lina Malagón, Research Associate at the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) at the University of Ulster

2 Dec

15:00 – 16:15

What Works? Creative Approaches to Transitional Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Professor Rachel Kerr, Professor of War and Society, King's College London

Dr Tiffany Fairey, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, King's College London

9 Dec

15:00 – 16:15


Understanding the Current Dynamics of Eastern Syria: Tribes, Islamists & Kurdish Autonomy

Hassan Hassan, Director, Nonstate Actors Program, Center for Global Policy 

6 Jan

15:00 – 16:15


When Bad Things Happen to Good Brains: The Effects of Early Life Stress and Adversity

Dr Charles Nelson, Professor of Paediatrics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, Director of Research in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital

13 Jan

15:00 – 16:15


Violence and Peace through the lens of health and trauma


Professor Richard Sullivan, Director, Institute of Cancer Policy

20 Jan

15:00 – 16:15


Getting involved in Political Violence: Irish Stories Dr Neil Ferguson, Professor of Political Psychology, Liverpool Hope University

27 Jan

15:00 – 16:15


Addressing cycles of violence in (post-)conflict regions from a clinical perspective Dr Anselm Crombach, University of Konstanz

4 Feb

15:00 – 16:15


Lives and Violence Mareike Schomerus, Busara Center, Nairobi and Research Director of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium at ODI, London

10 Feb

15:00 – 16:15


Reducing Fragility & Conflict: Emerging Insights from Impact Evaluations

Aprille Knox, Policy Manager, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab 

17 Feb

15:00 – 16:15


No safe place: Prevalence and correlates of violence against conflict-affected women and girls in South Sudan


Mary Ellsberg, Founding Director, Global Women’s Institute, George Washington University

3 Mar

15:00 – 16:15


How my understanding of participating in violence changed: Reflections from research and practice


Dr Rebecca Wolfe, Assistant Instructional Professor, Harris School for Public Policy, University of Chicago

10 Mar

15:00 – 16:15


Peace as Violence

Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P. O'Neill Chair in Peace, International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), Ulster University

17 Mar

15:00 – 16:15


Prisons and Terrorism

Rajan Basra, PhD student, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), Department of War Studies

24 Mar

15:00 – 16:15


War and Genocide in South Sudan: A Book Talk by Clemence Pinaud


Clemence Pinaud, expert on South Sudan, African civil wars and genocide

5 May

15:00 – 16:15


No peace without peace of mind: An integrated approach to mental health and psycho-social support and peacebuilding

Friederike Bubenzer, Senior Project Leader, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

12 May

15:00 – 16:15


The Islamic State’s Pattern of Sexual Violence: Ideology and Institutions, Policies and Practices


Mara Redlich Revkin, National Security Law Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center

Elisabeth Jean Wood, Crosby Professor of the Human Environment and Professor of Political Science, International and Area Studies, Yale University.

26 May

15:00 – 16:15


The long shadow of conflict: Unexpected links between war, interpersonal violence and social cohesion


Dr Jocelyn Kelly, Director for Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s (HHI) Gender, Rights and Resilience (GR2) program

2 June

15:00 – 16:15


Masculinity, Ideology and Change in the People’s War in Nepal

Heidi Riley, Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin and interim Survey Director, XCEPT Project, Kings College London

9 June

15:15 – 16:30


Traumatic Violence and Violent Trauma

Renos K. Papadopoulos, Professor of Analytical Psychology, Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and Director of the ‘Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees’

16 June

15:00 – 16:15


Reflections on Governance and Taxation by Armed Groups

Zachariah Mampilly, Marxe Endowed Chair of International Affairs, City University of New York

23 June

15:00 – 16:15


Is Violence Ever Right? Violence and developmental pathways in Brazil and Colombia

Sandra Jovchelovitch, Professor of Social Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science 

30 June

15:00 – 16:15


Ex-combatants’ Counter-Stigma Strategies and the Stigmatising Politics of Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration


Jaremey McMullin, Senior Lecturer, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews


Previous events in Understanding Violence Seminar Series

17 Mar

Prisons and Terrorism

17 March 2021, 15:00 to 16:15

Rajan Basra will analyse the role prisons can play in radicalising and reforming people.

10 Mar

Peace as Violence

10 March 2021, 15:00 to 16:15

Professor Brandon Hamber will explore how peace processes, and the aftermath, are experienced by…

24 Feb

Researching Armed Actors

24 February 2021, 15:00 to 16:15

Dr Alison Brettle and Dr Christine Cheng will talk about their experience in researching armed…

4 Feb

Lives and Violence

04 February 2021, 15:00 to 16:15

Mareike Schomerus will explore how we can improve development programmes in conflict contexts using…