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Arnaud Kurze is Associate Professor of Justice Studies at Montclair State University. His scholarly work on transitional justice in the post-Arab Spring world focuses particularly on youth activism, art and collective memory.
Dr. Kurze is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, studying youth resilience in North Africa and the Middle East. He has published widely in academic journals, contributed to edited volumes and is author of several reports on foreign affairs for government and international organizations. He is the co-editor of the book, New Critical Spaces in Transitional Justice: Gender, Art & Memory. He is the co-author of Mapping Global Justice: Perspectives, Cases and Practice forthcoming with Routledge and regularly contributes analyses and op-ed articles online for think tanks and other institutions. He has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships.
Transitional Justice, Social Movements and Human Rights
- 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
- 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
- Guest Lecture on "Propaganda, War Crimes Trials and International Law" Mar 7, 2019 @1:00 PM
- New Spring 2017 Course on Human Rights and Int'l Justice JUST 389-04
- Guest Lecture on Nationhood and Identity on April 25, 2016 @ 4:00 pm
- Workshop on "Digital Humanities" Sept 23-24, 2015 @9:00 am
- Roundtable Discussion on "Egypt in Transition" April 15, 2015 @ 11:30 am
- Film Screening "Seeking Truth in the Balkans" Mar 16, 2015 @ 11:30 am
- Guest Lecture on US-Iranian Relations Feb 23, 2015 @ 11:30 am
- Guest Lecture on "Human Rights, Justice & Democracy in the Arab Spring," Oct 27, 2014 @5:30 PM
- Roundtable on Human Rights and Youth Activism on Nov 15, 2016 @ 1:00 pm
SEEKING ALTERNATIVE JUSTICE AMID POLITICAL CHANGE
This research project focuses on youth and injustice, more precisely on how and why the former deal with the latter. Its originality lies in looking at some of the old problems from a new perspective by zooming in on art-inspired contentious politics and exploring the concept of resilience particularly in contexts that impede direct forms of resistance or civil disobedience. Regime changes, particularly non-violent transformations, have spilled much ink in the past. In recent years political transitions have increasingly been studied from a transitional justice lens to shed new light on past wrongdoings, focusing on accountability issues and memory politics. Scholarship has often relied on state-centric analysis — put differently, how governments deal with the past — bottom-up studies, which put the accent on civil society, have also found growing attention within the literature. Marginalized or voiceless actors, however, have been mostly ignored in scholarship. And in spite of state-driven initiatives to deal with the past, societies often encounter difficulties coping with the aftermath of atrocities and oppression, including challenges associated with properly accounting for past wrongdoings or recognizing the burden faced by victims of political and conflict-related violence. Youth, Art & Resilience taps into these persistent issues, notably homing in on vulnerable and sidelined actors, such as youth.
While the mediatization of the Arab Spring brought youth centerstage, they have been actively engaged in transition processes in the past. Unfortunately, little is known about the increasing engagement and advocacy of youth in these transitional contexts. Instead, when inquiring about the role of youth during these processes many questions remain unanswered until now. Some of the questions that can be raised in this context include: Who are these young activists? How and why have they risen? And why have they often been marginalized by the political mainstream? Finding answers to these questions requires examining the expansion of globalized advocacy networks and the spread of social media, which reduced geographical boundaries with the help of information technology. The project aims at understanding this transnational interconnectedness against the backdrop of a selection of case studies of current youth dealing with past human rights abuses, war crimes and other social injustice. It illustrates how youth activists’ goals differ greatly from some of the objectives laid out by more conventional measures implemented after mass atrocities and the fall of repressive and dictatorial regimes. Domestic and international war crimes trials, for instance, serve the purpose of establishing accountability. Yet, the politics of justice, resulting in enormous caseloads that cannot be processed in a timely manner and the conundrum of selecting symbolic and significant cases to advance criminal law, has left victims’ groups with a sense of disempowerment and disenfranchisement. Truth commissions, as part of restorative justice practices, are also problematic in spite of promising ideals to serve those most affected by trauma.
Youth activism therefore emerged as a response, seeking alternative forms of addressing apparent injustices. Strategies of youth in their collective action repertoire include street art, performance activism and social media campaigns, among others. Contrary to some of the established transitional justice mechanisms, youth-led activities do not aim at closing the books. Instead, youth leaders advocate for a public debate and engage directly with society to confront post-conflict and post-authoritarian justice issues at the local level. The project argues that this performance-based advocacy work has fueled the creation of new forms of expression and spaces of deliberation to contest the culture of impunity and challenge the politics of memory in different transitional contexts. The project provides two sets of answers. First, it offers a contextual background to understand these new, alternative transitional justice practices. Second, it provides a conceptual framework that links youth, art and resilience, followed by a number of case studies to illustrate this complex phenomenon.
Against the backdrop of a broad theoretical and empirical foundation of the concept of global justice, this project aims at bridging the gap between theory and practice. It reaches this goal by offering a panoply of case studies and an in-depth discussion of practical challenges. While we provide a theoretical overview of the ideas associated with global justice, we primarily seek to redefine the contours of the conceptual framework — which tend to focus on philosophical and distributive perspectives —by adding a praxis-oriented approach to the canon of theory-embedded work available at present. The emphasis on global justice practice is crucial because it grounds fundamental philosophical debates in contemporary sociopolitical, -economic, and -cultural issues that require policy-focused responses. Persisting international conflicts, increasing inequality in many regions or the world, and acute environmental and climate-related threats to humanity call for a better understanding of the processes, actors and tools available to face the challenges. Connecting these critical aspects to larger moral and ethical debates constitutes thus a sine qua non to harness our students, global leaders of tomorrow, with a roadmap on how to think about large, abstract ideas and apply them directly to a specific context. Rather than providing a required blueprint for the practice of global justice, our book problematizes the efforts to cope with many of the related issues. Our pedagogical approach is designed to map the difficulties that exist between theory and praxis and fuel critical debates to help seek alternative solutions.