27 Jan 2022 17:00 - 19:00 Online


An event organised by In War’s Wake: Mobility, Belonging, and Becoming in the Aftermath of Urban Conflict Research Network

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Academic conversation:

  • Naseem Badiey (California State University, Monterey Bay)
  • Christian Doll (North Carolina State University)


In the years following the 2005 peace agreement, which ended a two-decade civil war and ushered in South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the contested town of Juba emerged as the capital of the newest state in the world and a site of varied projects and imaginings of ‘post-conflict reconstruction.’ In the years since, vast international investment and incursion, and the continual influx of South Sudanese and foreigners into Juba continually reshaped and remade the city. It remains the entrypoint and medium through which people have imagined and made manifest different political and social futures for the world’s newest nation-state.

Beginning in 2011, amidst successive legislation transferring responsibility for the state’s prison population to counties, the city of Oakland became a stage for debates about the meaning of ‘criminal justice reform’ and its implementation at the local level. The government of Alameda County, which encompasses the city of Oakland, was tasked with developing a rehabilitative model for incarcerating adult and youth offenders, one that reflected the input of local communities and stakeholders. In the process, the city became a site of conflict between advocacy groups, law enforcement and corrections leaders, and community members. At stake was what processes and policies would be able to meet these actors’ varied aims of acknowledging and accounting for the impact of mass incarceration on local communities, ensuring better outcomes for justice-involved clients, and maintaining public safety amidst increasing gun violence.

The paradigm of ‘post-conflict reconstruction’ in South Sudan and that of ‘criminal justice reform’ in California have made possible significant change for marginalized communities, but at the same time they have framed local dynamics in ways that complicate paths forward, making it difficult to find common visions of change and limiting alternative possibilities for remaking politics and possibilities in both cities.

In this talk, Naseem Badiey and Christian Doll share fieldwork-gleaned insights on local dynamics in these two cities. They suggest how differing (and at times, competing) models of development in urban communities are rooted in, and seek to recover from, trauma and historical injustices of war and mass incarceration. In these very different cities, we see striking similarities in ways institutions and identity politics both enable and constrain positive change.

About the speakers

About the speakers

Dr Naseem Badiey is a political sociologist who began doing fieldwork in Juba in 2006 while a graduate student at Oxford University, one year after the signing of the CPA. She has published articles on reconstruction and state-building in South Sudan, including a book, The State of Post-Conflict Reconstruction, land, urban development, and state-building in Juba, 2006-2011 (Oxford: James Currey, 2014). After six years as Assistant Professor of International Development and Humanitarian Action at California State University Monterey Bay, she joined the local government in California in 2018 where she does research on criminal justice reform in California for the probation department.

In conversation with

Dr Christian Doll is a Postdoctoral Teaching Scholar in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University. His research explores the ways ethnic identity, humanitarian governance, conflict, sovereignty, and ideas of the future manifest in everyday urban life in Africa. Since 2012, he has conducted fieldwork in Juba, South Sudan by employing visual and collaborative ethnographic methodologies. His current book project explores the persistence of the idea of the state in postcolonial contexts and in a neoliberal moment that in many ways has become “post-state.”

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