Current Research Projects

Dr. Luisa Gandolfo

Dr Gandolfo’s research currently focuses on the role of third-party religious actors in the promotion of peace and the fomentation of conflict in Palestine/Israel. In particular, the study explores the religio-political exchanges that are occurring within and across the region and the role of Christianity in the promotion of non-violence and inter-faith cohesion in the West Bank. In doing so, it endeavours to understand the ways in which different approaches to interpretation of faith texts impact on the promotion and negation of peace and to expand the understanding of the Palestine-Israel conflict beyond the existing ethno-nationalist discourse – what role can third-party religious actors play in the promotion of peace? How do their actions affect local Palestinian communities? Moreover, can third-party religious actors assume a role in the promotion/negation of peace and cohesion? Lastly, the project seeks to facilitate a wider discussion on the role of faith in society and in conflict resolution in Palestine/Israel, with a particular focus on the role of external international religious and human rights organizations.

Professor Bernadette Hayes

Professor Bernadette C. Hayes’s research focuses on societies emerging from conflict. An expert on Northern Ireland, her main areas of expertise include victims’ issues, religious and ethnonational identity, gender, as well as the role of socio-political institutions, such as the educational system, in ameliorating or exacerbating conflict. In collaboration with Professor John Brewer (Queen’s University of Belfast), Professor Hayes is currently completing a Leverhulme Trust-funded project – Compromise After Conflict – which focuses on the role of compromise as a mechanism for conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Dr. Joanne McEvoy

Much of Dr McEvoy’s research focuses on the institutional prescriptions for generating inter-group compromise and accommodation in post-conflict societies. She has a particular interest in the operation of power-sharing democracy and has considerable fieldwork experience of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. She is also interested in the role of external actors (the UN, EU, and key states) in incentivising power-sharing as part of a peace settlement. More broadly, Dr McEvoy has undertaken a Leverhulme Trust-funded project on the cooperation among international organisations (the EU, Council of Europe and the OSCE) in the promotion of minority rights in multi-ethnic states. This focus on the role of international organisations in conflict resolution has led to a more recent project (funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland) on the cooperation between the UN and the EU in liberal peacebuilding. Finally, Dr McEvoy is presently researching the question of legitimacy in peacebuilding – how international organisations seek to legitimate their peace operations, and whether and how power-sharing arrangements might have enhanced legitimacy credentials.

Dr. Gearoid Millar

Dr. Millar is currently in the middle of a project studying the local experiences of a large European bio-ethanol project in the rural north of Sierra Leone. This large FDI project has leased 40,000 hectares of land on which approximately 25,000 people live in 90 small villages. The project has had significant effects on many of these villages and Dr. Millar’s work is primarily engaged in exploring if these effects are experienced positively or negatively by local individuals and communities and whether they will serve to stabilize peace or act to promote new conflicts. The project started with six months of fieldwork in 2012 and will continue with additional shorter fieldwork trips in 2013 and 2014 to conduct additional interviews. Dr. Millar is currently writing a number of articles based on the initial 2012 data collection and will complete a book manuscript from all three years of data when the project is completed in 2015.

Dr. John Nagle

Dr Nagle’s research encompasses non-sectarian social movements in Belfast and Beirut. This comparative research examines a range of movements in these cities, ranging from LGBT, trade unionists, secularists, pro-democracy, global justice and environmentalists. A further theme concerns kin state and group relations. He is looking at why kin states may or may not intervene on behalf of their kin groups located in a neighbouring state. Dr Nagle address whether the relationship between kin state and group either foments or limits violent secessionist action. He is particularly interested in the modes of intellectual and artistic representation used by kin state and group members to describe each other. He has written a number of articles and book on these themes as well as commentary pieces in the Conversation and Huffington Post.

Professor Marysia Zalewski

Professor Zalewski’s research focuses on the relationship between theory and practice, the development of theory and methodology, and the ways in which concepts, such as gender, are used. She is currently working on several inter-linked projects including: the fabrication of gender, despair in international politics, emotion and the production of securitized borders, and an exploration of the philosophical and material production of knowledge.