Program Director Tatiana Carayannis provides some of the conceptual basis for a new SSRC program on Understanding Violent Conflict. This essay traces the program’s origins in new understandings of the complexity of contemporary international conflict—including the importance of local dimensions and the extra-local nature of so much violence. Building on the recent work of the Justice and Security Research Program (JSRP) on how public authority is exercised in conflict settings, the UVC will take these lessons in a range of new directions, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
Tatiana Carayannis is director of the Social Science Research Council’s new Understanding Violent Conflict Research Initiative and deputy director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum. She also has a visiting appointment at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Africa Centre and Department of International Development. Tatiana leads the Council’s China-Africa Knowledge Project, convenes the DRC Affinity Group, a small brain trust of leading Congo scholars and analysts, and is a research director of two international research collaborations, the Conflict Research Programme and the Centre for Public Authority and International Development (CPAID) based at the LSE. A scholar of UN peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Central Africa more generally, her current research focuses on war networks and the shaping of public authority in Central Africa, and the impact of interventions for justice and security on local communities, including those displaced.
A seasoned researcher, Carayannis has written widely on political mobilization, rebel governance (the MLC rebel movement in particular), international justice, democratic processes and elections, UN peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy, and on the agenda-setting role of UN human rights and development ideas. Her first book is UN Voices: The Struggle for Development and Social Justice (coauthored with Thomas G. Weiss, Louis Emmerij, and Richard Jolly, Indiana University Press, 2005) and her second is Making Sense of the Central African Republic (coedited with Louisa Lombard, Zed Books, 2015). She is currently completing two book projects: Pioneers of Peacekeeping: ONUC 1960–1964; Authorities in Conflict in DRC (coedited); and a monograph on Jean-Pierre Bemba, the ICC, and the MLC rebel movement. All are scheduled for publication in 2018-2019. A fifth book, The Third UN (with Thomas G. Weiss) is currently in the early stages.