Doing the research I do has left scars: Challenges of researching in the transitional justice field

Date & time
1–2pm Thursday 6 October 2016

Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University

Dr Olivera Simić, Griffith University


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Nicole Harman
6125 0454
College seminar
Olivera Simic

Transitional justice research involves critical examination of difficult topics that can raise ethical and methodological issues for participants and for researchers. Empirical research is a common approach to transitional justice studies in the field, yet researchers’ accounts of the tensions that can arise when undertaking research in politically sensitive environments are largely missing from the scholarly literature.

Informed by the insights of scholars and researchers who work in the transitional justice field, this paper aims to open discussion about the myriad ways that researching sensitive topics may affect researchers, and to bring attention to strategies used by researchers to negotiate these challenges. The paper concludes with suggestions for improving the wellbeing of researchers when working with difficult topics in the field.


  • Dr Olivera Simić »

    Dr Olivera Simić is a Senior Lecturer with the Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Australia and a Visiting Professor with UN University for Peace, Costa Rica. Her research engages with transitional justice, international law, gender and crime from an interdisciplinary perspective. Olivera’s latest edited collection, Transitional Justice and Reconciliation: Lessons from the Balkans (with Martina Fischer) has been published by Routledge in 2015. Her latest monograph Surviving Peace: A Political Memoir has been published by Spinifex in 2014. Olivera is currently working on her monograph Silenced Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence (Routledge, 2017) and the first textbook in transitional justice with a group of experts from around the world (Routledge, 2017).

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