Synthetic Justice? Harnessing cultural practices in rebuilding after conflict

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 06 February 2014


Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Joanna Quinn


Louana Gaffey
+61 2 6125 8244

It is clear that there is utility in the use of customary practices of acknowledgement and justice within communities, and particularly in post-conflict contexts. Their outcomes are important, and communities trust in and rely on such practices - much more than they are able to trust introduced mechanisms like truth commissions, for example. Controversially, Associate Professor Quinn proposes the creation of made-up or synthetic practices. Based on extensive fieldwork in Uganda, Fiji, and Solomon Islands, she explores a number of questions related to the "invention of tradition".


Joanna R. Quinn is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction at Western University, Ontario, Canada. She received her PhD from McMaster University. Since 1998, Dr Quinn has engaged in research that considers the role of acknowledgement in overcoming causes of conflict, which has the potential for real and lasting change. She has written extensively on the role of acknowledgement in Truth Commissions in Uganda, Haiti, Canada and elsewhere. Her current research considers the role of customary practices of acknowledgement and justice in Uganda, and comparatively in Fji and Solomon Islands.

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