Why social ecologies matter: thinking about conflict-related sexual violence and transitional justice through a resilience lens

Wednesday 22 June (00:00) - Thursday 23 June 2022 (00:00)



An online international conference.

Aims of the conference

'Why social ecologies matter: Thinking about conflict-related sexual violence and transitional justice through a resilience lens', is an online, international conference. There will be five thematic panels and two keynote talks. The idea for the conference developed from an ongoing research project, now in its final year and funded by the European Research Council (grant number 724518), about some of the ways that victims-survivors of conflict-related sexual violence demonstrate everyday resilience – and the wider implications of this for transitional justice.

Scholarship on resilience has given little attention to conflict-related sexual violence. Similarly, research on conflict-related sexual violence has, to date, largely overlooked the concept of resilience. In bringing together experts on resilience, conflict-related sexual violence and/or transitional justice from diverse fields, the conference will foster exciting new interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange. Significant in this regard is the shift that has taken place within resilience research away from person-centred, psychology-based approaches towards social-ecological approaches that locate resilience in the interactions and relationships between individuals and their wider environments (from families and communities to entire ecosystems). The overall aim of the conference is to generate reflection and discussion about what it would mean to think in more social-ecological ways about conflict-related sexual violence and, ultimately, transitional justice.

For more information about the research project visit our project webpage.

Conference programme

The conference will consist of five different thematic panels, in which leading scholars and researchers on resilience, conflict-related sexual violence and transitional justice will present and share their ideas. Please see below for the provisional conference programme, and below that for a link to the conference abstracts document.

Please note the time zone for all sessions is British Summer Time (BST) 

Day 1: Wednesday 22 June 2022 

12.00 – 12.15 Opening words and welcome 

Keynote Address: 12.15 – 13.15
Multisystemic resilience in the context of community violence
Professor Michael Ungar, Dalhousie University, Canada 

Chair: Professor Linda Theron, University of Pretoria, South Africa     

13.15 – 13.40 Break 

Panel 1: 13.40 - 15.30 

Theme: What do we mean by resilience? The importance of social ecologies
Panel Chair: Dr Philip Jefferies, Dalhousie University, Canada.

The biopsychosocial-ecological enablers of youth resilience in the context of South Africa
Professor Linda Theron, University of Pretoria, South Africa 

Breaking resilience from neoliberalism
Professor Jonathan Joseph, University of Bristol, UK 

Humanities for Resilience Network: Understanding the cultural production of resilience in marginalised communities
Dr Katherine Brown, University of Birmingham, UK.

Intersectionality of resilience: A strengths-based approach with indigenous youth in an urban Canadian context
Kelley Bird-Naytowhow and Professor Andrew R. Hatala, University of Manitoba, Canada 

15.30 – 15.50 Break 

Panel 2: 15.50 – 17:20

Theme: Does resilience have a place in discussions about conflict-related sexual violence? Reflections from scholars working in the field
Panel Chair: Professor Jennie E Burnet, Georgia State University, USA

What’s love got to do with it? Connecting love, care, resilience and remaking worlds in the wake of conflict-related sexual violence
Dr Philipp Schulz, University of Bremen, Germany 

Honoring spiritual protocol in conflict-related sexual violence
Professor Pascha Bueno-Hansen, University of Delaware, USA

Victims/survivors as co-facilitators of repair and regeneration in conflict affected and post-conflict societies
Dr Yoana Nieto Valdivieso, University of Birmingham, UK 

Day 2: Thursday 23 June 2022

Keynote address: 12.00 – 13.00
Taking stock of reparations, resilience and conflict-related sexual violence
Professor Clara Sandoval-Villalba, University of Essex, UK 

Chair: Dr Meghan Campbell, University of Birmingham, UK 

13.00 – 13.30 Break 

Panel 3: 13.30 – 15.10

Theme: Critical reflections on transitional justice: What are the gaps and shortcomings?
Panel Chair:Dr Philipp Schulz, University of Bremen, Germany 

Transformative gender justice as a reparative response to sexual violence: The potential of a social ecologies approach.
Dr Simon Robins, University of York, UK 

Building resilience through the interactions of individual and collective justice
Dr Chris Dolan, Refugee Law Project 

Centering embodied persistence and sociality towards healing justice in the pluriverse 
Professor M. Brinton Lykes, Boston College, USA 

Trump January 6th impeachment trial: A ‘classic’ transitional justice trial?
Professor Laurel E. Fletcher, UC Berkeley, USA

15.10 – 15.30 Break 

Panel 4: 15.30 – 17.00

Theme: Thinking in social-ecological ways about transitional justice: What does it mean?
Panel Chair: Professor Pascha Bueno-Hansen, University of Delaware, USA

The justice facade and the social ecologies of the Khmer Rouge tribunal
Professor Alexander Laban Hinton, Rutgers University, USA 

Accounting for social-ecological harms and mass atrocity: The light and shadow of transitional justice
Professor Lauren Balasco, Stockton University, USA 

Conflict-affected environments: Implications of harms suffered by the wider environment for survivors of sexual violence in northern Uganda
Dr Eunice Otuko Apio, University of Birmingham, UK 

17.00– 17.20 Break 

Panel 5: 17.20 – 18.50 

Theme: Emerging examples of social ecological transitional justice and future directions
Panel Chair: Professor Lauren Balasco, Stockton University, USA 

Territory as a victim of Colombia’s armed conflict
Professor Alexandra Huneeus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA and Professor Pablo Rueda-Saiz, University of Miami, USA 

Thinking through the social-ecological harms of conflict-related sexual violence: The 1994 genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda
Professor Jennie E. Burnet, Georgia State University, USA 

Other-than-human victimhood and the pursuit of socio-ecological justice
Dr Rachel Killean, Queen’s University Belfast, UK 

18.50 – 18.55 Closing remarks


Download our speaker abstracts.


This is an online conference, and you can register to attend individual panels or the whole conference. Click to register using the button top right.

Further information

This conference is part of the research project 'A Comparative Study of Resilience in Survivors (CSRS) of War Rape and Sexual Violence: New Directions for Transitional Justice'. Headed by Professor Janine Natalya Clark, CSRS is a comparative project – focused on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia and Uganda – that is exploring some of the different ways that victims-survivors of conflict-related sexual violence express everyday resilience. Locating resilience in the interactions and connectivities between individuals and their social ecologies, the project is proposing a new framing of transitional justice to capture the significance of individuals’ social ecologies in shaping how they deal with experiences of violence and human rights violations. The project is funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant (grant number 724518). 


You can email our conference address here csrs@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

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