Sarah Nouwen (Pembroke, Law) and Adam Branch (POLIS) win School support for Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives

by Alice Oates

We are thrilled to hear that the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences has awarded Dr Sarah Nouwen (Pembroke, Law) and Dr Adam Branch (POLIS) crucial seed funding for Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives, a multidisciplinary, international, collaborative research and advocacy programme that seeks to establish a new foundation for transitional justice in Africa.

This new research programme is innovative in what it addresses, and in how it does so. The programme aims to make the practice of transitional justice more relevant to the needs of (post-)conflict societies by scrutinising its very foundations. Drawing on law, politics, development studies, anthropology, history, gender studies, international relations and ecological studies, the investigators examine what goals transitional justice seeks to achieve and propose new tools to meet those objectives. The programme also seeks to develop new ways for collaboration among scholars and activists in universities in the Global North and South. Research and advocacy have always been shaped by a legacy of imbalanced power relations and injustice. This programme confronts this legacy head-on, so that procedures can be developed through which global policies are shaped by, and made accountable to, those who are most affected by those policies. This programme’s experiences could make Cambridge University a leader in a new way of engaging in collaborative transnational research, in transitional justice and beyond.

Dr Nouwen works on the intersections of law and politics, war and peace and justice and the rule of law.Her current research programme “Peacemaking: What’s Law Got to Do with It”, funded by a Philip Leverhulme Prize, an ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant and the Newton Trust, explores the role of international law in peace negotiations.