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Dr. Rachel Ibreck

Biography

Rachel Ibreck, MA (SOAS, University of London); MSc (University of Bristol); PhD (University of Bristol) is Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies and joined the Department of Politics and Public Administration in August 2011. She previously taught International Development in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath (2010-11); at the University of Bristol (2006-10); and Social Sciences at the Open University (2009-11). She also worked as a human rights researcher (1995-2003).

Rachel's research interests include the politics of memory after conflict and genocide; heritage and memorialisation; non violent resistance and conflict prevention; international peacebuilding and transitional justice in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has given conference papers and published on these areas, including articles in Memory Studies and the Journal of Statebuilding and Intervention. Rachel is associate director of the Centre for Peace and Development Studies at UL. She is currently exploring a conceptualisation of conflict prevention as nonviolent resistance, through an empirical study of the non-violent responses of local communities and transnational activists to 'land-grabbing' in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.

Research Interests

My research interests include the politics of memory after conflict and genocide; heritage and memorialisation; non violent resistance and conflict prevention; international peacebuilding and transitional justice in Sub-Saharan Africa.

My PhD dissertation, 'Remembering Humanity: the Politics of Genocide Memorialisation in Rwanda' University of Bristol (2009), focused on the politics of memory and its relationship to reconciliation, justice and conflict prevention. It drew on interdisciplinary studies of memory to conceptualise the politics of memorialisation, identifying the intersection between memory, identity and power and an ethics of memory after mass violence. It was based on an empirical study of the sites and rituals dedicated to remembering the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It examined the institutions and discourses of memorialisation as well as the contributions of the state, the international community and genocide survivors to their construction.

My dissertation challenged previous accounts--which emphasised the role of the state in constructing and instrumentalizing public memory--by uncovering the influence of survivors and the support from external donors and NGOs. It found that commemorations and memory sites evoked resentment and trauma, raising questions about whether they might serve, as claimed, towards 'genocide prevention' or 'reconciliation'. The memorials also reflected the complex and tense relations between the Rwandan state and international donors, in that their funding and forms were marked by external influence yet the state also employed them to issue profound critiques of the international community. The dissertation argued that the memorials contain the trauma of the genocide and are a focus for contestation, but they have created a political space for recognition of survivors and condemnation of genocide. As such, both in practice and in principle, they constitute a form of resistance to atrocity.

My more recent work seeks to build on this to examine how mourning is associated with the politics of resistance as well as alternative approaches to conflict prevention.

Teaching Interests

My teaching covers international development and conflict at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I currently teach the following modules:

PO4107 Nationalism, Ethnicity and Conflict
PO5062 Politics of Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Conflict
PO5101 Conflict, Security and Development
PS5101 Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding