CfP: Reconciliation After War (Crimes): Historical Perspectives

Interdisciplinary workshop, King’s College London, 30 November – 1 December 2017.

Reconciliation is often cited as a key objective in the aftermath of violent conflict, where goals of peace, justice and reconciliation are seen as not only complementary but mutually reinforcing. But it is often unclear what, precisely, is meant by reconciliation, how, exactly, different activities and processes might foster reconciliation, and at what level (individual, community, group, state, inter-state). Moreover, whilst there has been attention to reconciliation internationally in the contemporary era and much discussion about the relationship between processes of transitional justice and reconciliation in contemporary contexts, little is known or written about how reconciliation has been practised (or not) in the past. Has reconciliation ever truly been achieved, or is reconciliation better understood as a trajectory to which there is no ‘end-state’? This workshop will bring together historians and others from different disciplines to explore the concept and practice of reconciliation in different periods in the past and in different cultural, geographical and historical contexts to explore, inter alia, these questions:


  • How has reconciliation been conceptualised and practised across time and space – in different regions of the world and throughout history?
  • What factors have affected the success or failure of attempts to achieve post-conflict reconciliation?
  • How have parties addressed issues of accountability, reparation, punishment, forgiveness, mercy, repentance and grace?
  • How has reconciliation been resisted? Where and by whom?


We invite contributions that address these themes from a wide variety of perspectives, and historical eras – ranging from the English and American Civil Wars to more contemporary histories drawing on twentieth century experience around the globe. We welcome submissions from artists, practitioners, PhD students, early career researchers and established scholars. We anticipate publishing those papers selected for the workshop in an edited volume/journal special edition.


Please send your paper proposal to Henry Redwood ( by 31 May 2017, including:

  • Name, affiliation and contact email.
  • Title and 250-word abstract
  • A brief biographical note


This workshop is part of an AHRC-funded project, Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community, a major collaborative initiative involving an inter-disciplinary team of investigators at King’s College London, the London School of Economics and The University of the Arts in London. The research is funded under the Conflict Theme of the Partnership for Conflict Crime and Security Research (PaCCS), an initiative of Research Councils UK, and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). For more information, contact or see

Three Weddings and 8,000 funerals

Command and Responsibility at Srebrenica revisited: The Mladić and Karadžić Trials and the Legacy of the Yugoslavia Tribunal.

Professor James Gow, King’s College London

War Studies Meeting Room (K. 6.07)
21/03/2017 (18:00-19:30)

Registration URL

In 2013, Professor James Gow was awarded a 3-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to examine the defining trial of the ICTY, that of Ratko Mladić, and its impact on the evolution of international criminal justice.  Here, he will discuss the trial and reflect on the Tribunal’s historical legacy, particularly the significant wealth of evidence regarding the genocide at Srebrenica in July 1995 presented in both the Mladić trial, and that of Bosnian Serb political leader, Radovan Karadžić. Does this evidence finally answer the question of who, ultimately, was responsible?  Contrary to widespread assumptions and the verdict in the Karadžić case, can it be that Mladić holds sole responsibility, and Karadžić was not directly involved?

James Gow is Professor of International Peace and Security and Director of the International Peace and Security Programme at King’s College London. He has been a close observer of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia since its inception, twenty-four years ago, and also a direct participant in its proceedings.  Professor Gow served four years as an expert advisor to the Office of the Prosecutor, was the first witness to be called at the ICTY and testified in several cases subsequently.  He has published widely on issues to do with the Yugoslav War, war crimes and visual representations of conflict (books include: War and War Crimes (2013), Prosecuting War Crimes: Lessons and Legacies of the ICTY (2013); War, Image and Legitimacy (2007), The Serbian Project and its Adversaries: A Strategy of War Crimes (2003) and Triumph of the Lack of Will: International Diplomacy and the Yugoslav War (1997).

Whither Transitional Justice? US policy, past experience and future prospects

Zachary Kaufman in conversation with Rachel Kerr

Monday 9 May, 1200-1330

War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07

King’s Building, Strand Campus

King’s College London

Zachary D. Kaufman, JD, Ph.D., is a Fellow (starting July 1, Senior Fellow) at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as a Visiting Fellow at both Yale Law School and Yale University’s Genocide Studies Program. From 2014 to 2015, he served as a Fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to academia, he worked on transitional justice issues while serving at the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, the UN International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Court. He is the author or editor of three books: United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics, and Pragmatics (2016); Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World (2012); and After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (2009).


The Visual Jurisprudence of Transition: Art at the Constitutional Court in South Africa

Tuesday 1 November, 1300-1400

War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07, King’s Building, Strand Campus, King’s College London

Speaker: Eliza Garnsey, University of Cambridge

Chair: Dr Rachel Kerr, King’s College London

The Constitutional Court of South Africa stands on the site of several former notorious prisons where ‘virtually every important political leader in South African history from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela as well as scores of ordinary South Africans caught in the web of colonial and apartheid repression’ (Segal, 2006) were once imprisoned. The Court is symbolically significant—representing South Africa’s transition—and physically significant—establishing a spatial precedent for how to address the past in building the future. The building is a unique space by international comparison, not only because it has transformed the penal site, but because it integrates artworks into the fabric of the architecture and houses a large visual art collection developed by and for the Court. These artworks draw attention to individual, collective, and time-based narratives which play a role in a shaping the larger ‘unity in diversity’ narrative at the Court, understood as a new kind of ‘visual jurisprudence’ which, in such close proximity to the Court, inhabits a unique position where the assumptions of justice and what it means to uphold the Constitution in a ‘new’ South Africa can be probed.

Eliza Garnsay is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the University of Cambridge, where her research focuses on transitional justice and art in ‘post-apartheid’ South Africa.

To register: