Conducting Research in Post-Conflict Contexts (Recommended Reading and Recording to Follow)

Session leader: Catherine Gilbert

Wednesday 2 February 2022, 2pm - 4pm 

A short recording in connection to the session will be published here soon

Catherine conducted fieldwork in Rwanda in 2012 during her PhD and again in 2018 as part of a Marie Curie Fellowship. She is currently working with Rwandan diasporic communities living in Belgium, France and the UK. Originally trained as a literary studies scholar, Catherine now adopts a range of ethnographic methods in her research. These include: semi-structured interviews with community members, writers, performers, leaders of survivor organisations, and people working in the NGO, charity and education sectors; site visits; participant observation. Her current research project, ‘Genocide Commemoration in the Rwandan Diaspora’, investigates the impact of place and displacement on commemorative practices within diasporic communities, with a particular focus on cultural memory, trauma and narrative. This session focused on how the researcher confronts and manages the challenging experiences s/he encounters while conducting fieldwork in a post-conflict context, paying particular attention to the importance of self-care as a researcher.

Key publications:

Catherine Gilbert, From Surviving to Living: Voice, Trauma and Witness in Rwandan Women’s Writing (Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2018)

Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro, On Commemoration: Global Reflections upon Remembering War (Peter Lang, 2020).

Recommended reading:

Dickson-Smith, Virginia, et al., “Researching Sensitive Topics: Qualitative Research as Emotion Work”, Qualitative Research, 9 (2009), 61–79.

Harris, J., and Huntington, A., ‘Emotions as Analytic Tools: Qualitative Research, Feelings, and Psychotherapeutic Insight’, in K. Gilbert (ed.), The Emotional Nature of Qualitative Research (London: CRC, 2001), pp. 129–45.

Jessee, Erin, “Managing Danger in Oral Historical Fieldwork”, Oral History Review, 44.2 (2017), 322–347.

Jessee, Erin, “The Limits of Oral History: Ethics and Methodology Amid Highly Politicized Research Settings”, Oral History Review, 38.2 (2011), 287–307.

Markowitz, Ariana, “The Better to Break and Bleed With: Research, Violence, and Trauma”, Geopolitics, 26.1 (2021), 94–117.

Theidon, Kimberly, “‘How was your trip?’ Self-Care for Researchers Working and Writing on Violence”, Social Science Research Council Working Papers on Research Security, No. 2 (2014), <>.

Woon, Chih Yuan, “For ‘emotional fieldwork’ in critical geopolitical research on violence and terrorism”, Political Geography, 33 (2013), 31–41.

Last modified: Thursday, 3 February 2022, 4:46 PM