Research

Between 1996 and 1999, Nigel carried out doctoral research among members of the political class in Rwanda and the Rwandan diaspora in Europe. His research explored how these two constituencies accounted for the 1994 genocide and the ways in which they shared epistemological assumptions and representational practices beyond substantive dissension. The results of this research have been published as Accounting for Horror: Post-Genocide Debates in Rwanda (Pluto, 2004). In addition he has also explored the dilemmas of explaining/representing mass violence from the position of the situated anthropologist (in The Ethics of Anthropology Debates and Dilemmas, Routledge, 2003); by means of historical analogy (Social Identities 2006); and through cinematic reconstruction (Society and Space 2008).  The latter has resulted in an edited volume on contemporary, mainstream cinematic portrayal of Africa (Framing Africa: Portrayals of a Continent in Contemporary Mainstream Cinema, Berghahn 2013). 

Nigel is currently completing a research project on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Arusha, Tanzania) supported by the Nuffield Foundation and the British Academy. He has explored the question of the “historical record” at the ICTR through orality, performance, the tacticity of documents and the virtuality of digitisation (Journal of Genocide Research, 2009); the social negotiation and syncretism of legal practice (New England Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2008); the assertion, negotiation and reconfiguration of diverse professional dispositions (in Hinton, A. ed. Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Meanings in the Aftermath of Genocide and Mass Atrocity, Rutgers 2010); the ritualised construction of a public as “validating witnesses” (Ethnos, 2012); and the role of expert witnesses (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2013).

Nigel is a member of the Sussex Rights and Justice Resarch Centre and Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research.

Recent PhD Students

Gavin Weston - Lynchings in Todos Santos Cuchumatán: A Genealogy of Post-Conflict Violence (awarded 2007)
Eugenia Zorbas - Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Discourse and Practice (awarded 2009)
Lyndsay McLean Hilker - Living Beyond Conflict? Identity, Alterity & Reconciliation among Rwandan Youth (awarded 2009)
Larissa Begley - Negotiating Identity: The Reconstruction, Exploitation and Reconciliation of the Hutu/Tutsi Dichotomy in Northwest Rwandan and Eastern Congo (awarded 2011)
Evi Chatzipanagiotidou - From Difference' to ‘Sameness': Peace Movements in Southern Cyprus (awarded 2012)
Andrea Szkil - 'Here everything is possible': Forensic Specialists' work with Human Remains in Post-War Bosnia and Herzegovina (awarded 2013)
Katie McQuaid - An Ethnographic Analysis of the Transformative Encounter between Refugees’ Narratives and Human Rights Discourses (awarded 2014)
Astrid Jamar - Impacts of Aid Coordination Dynamics in Transitional Justice: Comparative analysis of the relationship between local and global actors involved in Burundi and Rwanda (awarded 2017)

Current PhD Students

Wendy Andre - Can (or Do) Alternative Justice Mechanisms Satisfy the Requirements of International Criminal Justice?
Deirdre Patterson - Remittance Exchange and Reliance amongst Transnational Communities and Protracted Refugees.