Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Call for Papers: Taking Stock of Transitional Justice

As I noted previously, Oxford Transitional Justice Research will host a conference, June 26-28, 2009, on "Taking Stock of Transitional Justice." There is also a call for papers. Here's the call:

Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) invites speaker submissions for the upcoming conference, “Taking Stock of Transitional Justice.” This conference, to be held at the University of Oxford, will critically engage with and challenge current academic thinking on and the practical implementation of transitional justice.

Country-specific plenary debates on key themes will complement a range of indepth, inter-disciplinary panel sessions. Combined, these discussions will explore some of the most contentious questions in the field of transitional justice, including: What has transitional justice achieved in practical terms? What are the theoretical and empirical assumptions underpinning transitional justice? How has the field evolved over time? Has transitional justice unjustifiably preferenced legal approaches? Should we understand justice during transition simply in terms of politics? What is the future of this field? The conference aims to question and re-orient the thinking around transitional justice, exploring its moral underpinnings, its universality and transferability, its objectives and implementation mechanisms.

Submissions are encouraged from academics, policy makers, and practitioners, and from individuals based in both the Global North and South, particularly from countries with experience of transition. The basis for accepting submissions will be evidence of critical thinking and new insights, and varied panels bringing together discipline areas and specialisations that rarely speak to each other.

Submissions are invited under the following five broad conference themes:

Means and Ends: Reconciliation, Truth and Justice

Sessions under this theme return to the principles underpinning transitional justice and critique its theoretical and conceptual basis. Areas for submission include normative principles of justice, reconciliation, forgiveness, memory, agency and power.

Criminal Justice

This theme interrogates the relationship between criminal and transitional justice. Assessing the development of international criminal justice from its domestic roots, the sessions critically engage with – among other themes – the use of prosecutorial discretion, the construction of a criminal case and the principle of complementarity. In raising questions about the links between national and international criminal processes, these sessions focus on the legitimacy of criminal processes during transition.

Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Transitional Justice

This theme explores the relationship between transitional justice and broader post-conflict reconstruction concerns. It focuses on bringing together areas that are rarely discussed together, including security, land reform, institutional reform and justice. Areas for submission include security sector reform, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), and land redistribution.


This theme explores reparations in theory and practice, raising questions about the nature of victimhood, the objectives of reparations, and the monitoring and evaluation of reparations policies. Areas of interest include ‘the victim’, victimhood, memorialisation, reconciliation and reparations in practice.

Local Justice

Sessions under this theme explore contemporary concerns with ‘local’ justice and justice ‘from below.’ This theme focuses on the key social objectives with which local justice has been connected, particularly restoration of fractured relationships and reconciliation, and the practical efficacy of local approaches in achieving the ends designated to them. Areas for submission include conceptualising ‘local’ transitional justice processes, the practical unfolding of such approaches in specific contexts, and the broader implications for transitional justice of these local processes.

Submissions should take the form of a 300-500 word abstract sent to: and include author name, affiliation, contact details, and relevant broad conference theme(s).

OTJR encourages submissions from established and early-career researchers, practitioners and policy makers, who wish to critically engage with the core questions and concerns of the conference and its sub-themes.

Deadline for submissions: 28 April 2009

OTJR has very limited funding to support speaker participation in this conference – and any available funding will be used to facilitate the participation of speakers from the Global South. If you will require financial assistance, please specify this when submitting your abstract. All speakers are eligible for the reduced residential conference rate of £125 (from the normal rate of £225).

Oxford Transitional Justice Research is an inter-disciplinary network of University of Oxford staff and students working broadly on issues of “transition" in states recovering from mass conflict and/or repressive rule. OTJR is dedicated to producing high-quality scholarship that connects intimately to practical and policy questions in transitional justice, focusing on the following themes:

  • Prosecutions
  • Truth commissions
  • Local and traditional practices
  • Compensation and reparations
  • Theoretical and philosophical debates in transitional justice
  • Institutional reform
  • Archives of tribunal and other transitional justice materials

For more information, see