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Expert Roundtable on Ethics and Conflict Research

16:00 to 17:30, 25 September 2018
Nuffield College, Large Lecture Room

Research on conflict dynamics is accompanied by challenging ethical questions. How can scholars research the causes, character and consequences of armed conflict and political violence in an ethical, humane way? Does research only have to lead to better understanding of the drivers of conflict, or should it also aim to ameliorate human suffering? The ways in which scholars address these questions will affect, among other things, the ways data are generated and used; the responsibilities and obligations of researchers to multiple stakeholders, including the human subjects with whom they may engage over extended periods in high-risk settings; and the practical value and implications of the knowledge scholars produce. The aim of the roundtable is to bring these issues to the fore and reflect on how individual scholars and the political science community can respond to the ethical demands and dilemmas of researching violent armed conflict.

Our four speakers – scholars who have made important recent contributions to these debates – will be invited to discuss the ethical aspects of all stages of the research cycle, from identifying urgent and important research questions and designing appropriate strategies to answer them, to safely and responsibly conducting research in fragile and insecure environments with the associated risks to the researcher, their research subjects, and local partners, and then disseminating the findings in useful and impactful ways.

The roundtable is part of the Workshop on Conflict Dynamics, generously supported by Nuffield College, the Changing Character of War Centre and the Centre for International Studies at the University of Oxford, and the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University.

Registration for this event is essential: please email:

Speaker Biographies:

Kate Cronin-Furman

Dr Kate-Cronin Furman studies mass atrocities and human rights. Her research has been published or is forthcoming in International Studies QuarterlyPolitical Science & Politics, and the International Journal of Transitional Justice. She also writes regularly for the mainstream media, with recent commentary pieces appearing in The Los Angeles Review of Books, SlateForeign PolicyThe Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog, War on the Rocks, and Al Jazeera. In September 2018, she joined the Department of Political Science at University College London as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in human rights. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia in October 2015 and has held fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation. She also has a J.D. (Columbia, 2006) and has practiced law in New York, Cambodia, and The Hague.

Roxanne Krystalli

Roxani Krystalli is the Humanitarian Evidence Program Manager at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. Her research focuses on patterns of violence in mass atrocities and on victim-centered transitional justice, paying particular attention to gender and other dimensions of power. Roxani has spent a decade working on issues of gender and violence in conflict areas and transitional contexts. For her work, Roxani has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Service at Tufts University. She is a US Institute of Peace “Peace Scholar,” a recipient of the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship and Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship and holds a fellowship from the National Science Foundation and the Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security. Her published work has appeared in The International Feminist Journal of Politics, The Washington Post, The Conversation, Open Democracy, Women Under Siege, NextBillion, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative blog. Roxani has a BA from Harvard University an MA from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and she is a PhD Candidate at The Fletcher School, where she is researching the politics of victimhood during transitions from violence, with a focus on the case of Colombia.

Milli Lake

Dr Milli Lake is an Assistant Professor of International Security at the London School of Economics' Department of International Relations. She completed her doctorate in Political Science at the University of Washington in 2014, and her expertise lies in political violence, state-building and the rule of law in violence and conflict-affected states. Her work focuses on central and east Africa. Recent projects include an examination of the relationships between post-conflict institution-building and local dynamics of peace and violence in DR Congo, and examinations of the prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes in DR Congo and South Africa. Her recent book Strong NGOs and Weak States, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2018, and other research appears in outlets including International OrganizationInternational Studies QuarterlyWorld DevelopmentLaw and Society Review, and the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. Dr Lake has worked as an area specialist and a rule of law consultant with organizations such as USAID, The World Bank, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, Berkeley School of Law and the International Law and Policy Institute. She regularly provides expert testimony in asylum cases and has written and taught extensively on the ethics and practicalities of field research in violence-affected settings.

Anouk Rigterink

Dr Anouk Rigterink is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Natural Resource Rich Economies (OxCarre). She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Anouk investigates the political economy of violent conflict. Specifically, she researchers whether and how natural resources (especially diamonds) are related to violent conflict, the impact of media in conflict-affected situations, and individual and group behaviour in violent conflict, including the impact of drone strikes on the internal organisations of terrorist groups in Pakistan.