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Dr. Adam Branch at the FU Berlin

Adam Branch during his talk (image: Jonas Bens)

Adam Branch during his talk (image: Jonas Bens)

On 8 and 9 February 2016 we were able to welcome Adam Branch, University Lecturer at the Department for Politics and International Studies of the University of Cambridge, as a guest at the Freie Universität Berlin. At the invitation of Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker, head of sub-project B04 at the CRC “Affective Societies” and the Political and Legal Anthropology Working Group at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, he joined us for an evening lecture and a reading seminar.

8 February 2017: Evening Lecture

On Wednesday evening, Adam Branch held an evening lecture in the Political and Legal Anthropology Seminar Series at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology titled “The Trial of Dominic Ongwen: Rupturing Narratives of Responsibility”. Branch presented his research on the ongoing trial against the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander from Northern Uganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The trial is also one central case study in our CRC's sub-project B04 on sentiments of justice and transitional justice. In his lecture (its central topics will soon appear as an article in the International Journal of Transitional Justice) Branch analysed the ICC’s transitional justice intervention in Northern Uganda and shows how irreconcilable narratives on the armed conflict and the accused’s personal guild are bound to clash in the courtroom. Similar as in his widely received book from 2011 Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda Branch remains skeptical, if the ICC and its Ongwen trial can bring about any kind of justice in Northern Uganda. We have documented his lecture in this audio file:

Lecture by Adam Branch: The Trial of Dominic Ongwen: Rupturing Narratives of Responsibility (audio document follows.mp3)

9 February 2017: Reading Seminar

At the following day, we commenced a reading seminar with Adam Branch. Participating were Master and doctoral students as well as PostDocs from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the CRC Affective Societies. The participants discussed two texts: Adam Branch’s journal article „The Violence of Peace: Ethnojustice in Northern Uganda“ (Development and Change, 2014) and an unpublished draft by Jonas Bens from the sub-project B04 titled „Navigating Competing Normative Logics: Sentiments of Justice and the Legitimacy of the International Criminal Court in Northern Uganda.“

Adam Branch is University Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies and Fellow of Trinity Hall. Prior to joining Cambridge, he was senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda, and associate professor of political science at San Diego State University, USA. He received his BA from Harvard University and his PhD in political science from Columbia University. Among his numerous broadly received publications are two monographs: Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change (Zed Books, 2015, co-authored with Zachariah Mampilly) and Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda (Oxford University Press, 2011).