25 Jun 2008 - 27 Jun 2008 All day New Hall and St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge



E-mail all conveners at cambridge.postcrisis@googlemail.com.


This 2.5-day conference was convened from 25-27 June 2008 under the title The Culture of Reconstruction: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Aftermath of Crisis.

The conference was inaugurated by Lord Ashdown who gave a lecture entitled After Iraq – shall we ever intervene again? on the evening of Wednesday, 25th of June.

The conference was interdisciplinary in scope and designed to be 'solution oriented'. It brought together researchers, policy makers and professionals working on and in post-conflict and post-crisis scenarios, in order to exchange perspectives and experiences. Panels were organised in such a way as to encourage discussion across disciplines and methodologies. They were complemented by the presentation of case studies, round tables, and the screening of creative media work from the field.

In this manner, the conference aimed to address the complexity and potential complementarities of theories, methods and case studies in post-crisis reconstruction work, in a stimulating, interdisciplinary and constructive format.

Topics under discussion included:
•    accountability and stakeholders;
•    the politics of space and security;
•    identity, religion and heritage;
•    mourning and memorialisation;
•    ownership and capacity building;
•    governing affect: truth, guilt and legitimacy
•    media

Some indicative questions that the conference addressed were:
•    How are new cartographies of power etched into a devastated landscape, and what implications do they have for security, inclusion and exclusion?
•    Who are the stakeholders intervening in post-conflict situations, how do their objectives conflict or complement each other, and how can, or should, they be held accountable?
•    How do mourning processes contribute to the closure, or the continuance of conflict, and what role do burials and bodies play in this respect? By what means can mourning be 'translated' into a memorial and what implications does this have for reconciliation, in the short-, medium-, and long-term?
•    How do timing, perceptions of temporality, and pivotal moments affect reconstruction practice? How do these factors influence notions of the 'post' in post-crisis?
•    How are identities distorted by crisis and what implications does this have for reconstruction?
•    What is the religion that we are dealing with in post-conflict situations? Are we assuming a particular vision of religion?
•    How is the nation reinvented in the aftermath of conflict and what are the implications for the rewriting of history, preservation of heritage, exclusionary policies?

The conference also included a creative element, screening a number of documentaries and featuring a visual arts exhibition that directly addressed post-conflict and post-crisis scenarios.


Background The conference was organised by the Cambridge University Post-Conflict and Post-Crisis Group. Founded in 2005, the group is composed of graduate students, research and teaching staff from departments as varied as engineering, business, medicine, architecture, economics, development studies, anthropology, history, modern languages, archaeology, geography, law and political science. It has been awarded a two-year grant (2007-2009) by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CRASSH) for further research and activities.

Post-Conflict and Post-Crisis Research Colloquium

The Group was founded to promote and put into practice interdisciplinary research and action in order to correspond to the complexity of post-crisis scenarios. Societies emerging from a natural disaster, armed conflict or acute social and economic crisis share similar characteristics: insecurity, uncertainty, violence, increase in poverty, displacement of people, loss of life, organized crime, trauma, and physical destruction. They also share needs: re-establishing rule of law, stabilizing the economy, rebuilding, conflict mitigation and prevention, integrate traumatic events, inscribing and negotiating memories, strengthening civil society, reconciliation, nation building and identity, etc. Interdisciplinary perspectives on the aftermath of crisis are therefore the core concern, and key strength, of this research and discussion group.




New Hall College, University of Cambridge
Centre of Latin American Studies 
Centre of African Studies
Programme on Religion and Ethics in War and Peace-Making at the Von Hügel Institute


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Tel: +44 1223 766886
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