Roddy Brett is a Lecturer with the School of International Relations. He was awarded his Ph.D. at the University of London in 2002, and since that time lived in Latin America, principally in Guatemala and Colombia, working as a scholar-practitioner. His fields of research include conflict and peace studies, political and other forms of violence, genocide studies, social movements, indigenous rights, democratisation and transitions. His work as a practitioner is in the fields of conflict analysis, indigenous rights, political violence and genocide, post-conflict reconstruction, and human rights. He has published a total of eight books, including monographs and co-edited volumes, as well as articles on these themes.
He has acted as Advisor to the United Nations Development Programme in both Colombia and Guatemala, and to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala. Dr. Brett also served as Advisor on Indigenous Affairs to the Norwegian Embassy in Guatemala.
Dr. Brett worked with the Centre for Human Rights Legal Action in Guatemala, initially as Field Investigator, and subsequently as Coordinator of the Department for Justice and Reconciliation (DEJURE). In this capacity, he was a member of the original team that prepared the evidence for and political strategy of the legal case filed against three former presidents of Guatemala and their military high commands of the 1980s for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This led to the conviction by a Guatemalan court of former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt in May 2013 for eighty years for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Dr. Brett continues to advise the United Nations System in Latin America, at this moment in Colombia, in particular in themes of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He holds a position of Visiting Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the International Centre on Non-Violent Conflict, in Washington D.C., and of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Humanitarian Studies of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in Bogota, Colombia.
IR 3052 The Politics of Violence and Resistance in Latin America
IR 5701 Peace and Conflict Theory
IR 3053 Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Transition in Latin America
Dr. Brett is interested in the international, regional and national socio-political, legal and cultural factors determining and shaping armed conflict, war and authoritarian regimes and the transformation and resolution of said contexts. In particular, he is interested in the paths taken by emerging polities in the aftermath of conflict and the relationship between how conflicts are settled and the nature of the subsequent political regime that emerges. This research is regionally focused on Latin America. A further specific research interest in this regard are the forms in which States, the international community and civil society resolve conflict and ‘build peace’, in many cases leading to negative peace and ongoing violence.
Dr. Brett is particularly interested in political violence, including genocide, ethnic conflict and mass atrocities. In this regard, he is part of a project led and funded by the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, which seeks to comprehend how and why mass atrocities and genocide end. He is preparing the manuscript for his new book, The Post-Conflict Legacy of Genocide: Political Violence in Guatemala, to be published in 2015.
Dr. Brett is co-founder of a research network, British Academics for Colombia Under Peace (BACUP), which monitors and analyses the ongoing Colombian peace process (since August 2012) and aims at establishing a framework through which to comprehend the process within regional and theoretical perspectives and, ultimately, to learn from it. His work on Colombia has two focuses: analysis of the patterns of violence that have shaped armed conflict; and analysis of the peacebuilding processes at national and local levels that seek to overcome conflict and violence. Fieldwork on these issues is, at present, funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
A different branch of research relates to the ways in which non-violent conflict practices and platforms have emerged to confront contexts of violence, both during and in the aftermath of conflict and war. Of particular interest are the forms through which war and conflict impact upon the State, political society and civil society and how civil society and social movements engage with and seek to transform these contexts. At present, Dr. Brett is part of a Minerva funded project entitled 'Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why? Towards an Empirically Grounded Understanding of Individual Motivation in Terrorism.
- (2012) (Editor with Freddy Cante) La voluntad Indómita: Fundamentos Teóricos de la Acción Colectiva. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad del Rosario.
- (2010) (Editor with Angela Santamaria) Jano y las Caras Opuestas de los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad del Rosario.
- (2010) (Editor with Santiago Bastos) El Movimiento Maya en la Decada despues de la Paz. Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.
- (2009) La Ciudadanía y la Etnicidad. Guatemala: UNDP.
- (2008) With Francisco Rodas. Democracia y Derechos Humanos: Voz Ciudadana. Guatemala: UNDP.
- (2008) Indigenous Politics and the Guatemalan Process of Democratisation, 1985-1996. Leiden and Boston: Brill-CEDLA Latin American Studies Series.
- (2007) Una Guerra sin Batallas: del Odio, la Violencia y el Miedo en el Ixil y el Icxán, 1972-1983. Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.
- (2006) Movimiento Popular, Etnicidad y Democratización en Guatemala, 1985-1996. Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.
- “Overcoming the Original Sin of the “Original Condition:” How Reparations May Contribute to Emancipatory Peacebuilding”. Human Rights Review, July 2013. With Lina Malagon.
- (2013) "Peace stillborn? Guatemala's liberal peace and the indigenous movement", Peacebuilding, Vol. 1, No. 2. Oxford: Taylor and Francis.
- (2011) “Confronting Racism From Within the Guatemalan State: the challenges faced by the Indigenous Rights Defender of Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudsman”, in Oxford Development Studies, Vol. 39, No. 2. Oxford: Taylor and Francis.
- (2010) "Racism in Guatemala: Historical Tendencies and Actual Debates" (thematic edition co-editor). Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies. Issue 6. Stockholm: Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University.
- (2010) “State Racism in Guatemala: transformations and continuities”, in Racism in Guatemala: Historical Tendencies and Actual Debates, Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies. Issue 6. Stockholm: Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University.
- (2008) With Frederic Solop. “Saying silenced trues and refuting subaltern invisibilities: Academic research in legal cases”, in Nómadas, Number 29. Bogota: Universidad Central.
- (2012) With Freddy Cante. "Voluntad indómita como atributo esencial de la movilización colectiva y de la consolidación de la democracia", in La voluntad Indómita: Fundamentos Teóricos de la Acción Colectiva, Roddy Brett and Freddy Cante (Editors) Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad del Rosario.
- (2010) “El Movimiento Maya: ¿invención política o realidad social?”, in El Movimiento Maya Diez Años Después de los Acuerdos de Paz: retos y posibilidades, Roddy Brett and Santiago Bastos (Editors). Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.
- (2010) “Introducción: el Movimiento Maya y sus retos actuales”, in El Movimiento Maya Diez Años Después de los Acuerdos de Paz: retos y posibilidades, Roddy Brett and Santiago Bastos (Editors). Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.
- (2010) “Introducción”, in Jano y las caras opuestas de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas, Roddy Brett and Ángela Santamaría (Editors). Universidad del Rosario: Bogotá, Colombia.
- (2010) “Las Políticas Indígenas y la Democratización en Guatemala: evolución, transformación e impacto”, in Jano y las caras opuestas de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas, Roddy Brett and Ángela Santamaría (Editors). Universidad del Rosario: Bogotá, Colombia.
- (2009) “Guatemala: 1954 and its Human Rights Legacy”, in Encyclopaedia of Human Rights” (Oxford University Press).
- (2009) “Rigoberta Menchú Tum”, in Encyclopaedia of Human Rights” (Oxford University Press).
- (2008) “Una Aproximación hacia los Problemas del Racismo y la Discriminación dentro de la Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos”, in Mayanización y La vida Cotidiana: La Ideología y el Discurso Multi-Cultural en la Sociedad Guatemalteca, Santiago Bastos and Aura Cumes, FLACSO: Guatemala.
Co-Coordinator of the M.Litt in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of St. Andrews.
- Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
- International Associatin of Genocide Scholars (IAGS)
- International Studies Association (ISA)
- International Civil Society Network on Infrastructures for Peace (I4P)
- International Centre on Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC)
- Advisory Council of the Institute of Humanitarian Studies of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Bogota, Colombia (IHS-OCHA)
"Why Mass Atrocities End". World Peace Foundation / Tufts University. 2012-2014.
"Peace as a Continuation of War by Other Means? Understanding Colombia’s Current Push for Peace". The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. 2013-2014.
"Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why? Towards an Empirically Grounded Understanding of Individual Motivation in Terrorism". Minerva. 2013-2016.
- Member of the Editorial Board, Desafíos. Journal, Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia (2013-date).
- Editor, Desafíos. Journal, Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia (2009-2012).
Invited Talks, Lectures and Seminars
- "The Trial of Efraín Ríos Montt". Seminar: Putting the State on Trial: Heads of State Prosecutions in Latin America 15 years after the ‘Pinochet Case’. University of Ulster. Belfast (17 October 2013).
- “In the Aftermath: The Unintended Consequences of Guatemala’s Genocide.” International Association of Genocide Scholars Biennial Conference, Siena, Italy (21 June 2013).
- “Peacebuilding in the Aftermath of Genocide: what the Conviction of General Ríos Montt may tell us”. Genocide in Our Hemisphere: Justice and Reconciliation in Guatemala: Beyond the Conviction of General Ríos Montt. Seminar, New America Foundation, Washington D.C. (29 May 2013).
- “Can Civil Resistance Play a Role in Peace Processes? The Cases of Colombia and Guatemala”. Seminar with the International Centre on Nonviolent Conflict and International Peace Research Institute (PRIO). PRIO, Oslo (13 May 2013).
- “Challenging the ‘Flat-Packed Peace’: Local-level peacebuilding in Colombia”. Conference at the Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research, The Santos-FARC Peace Talks. Department of International Relations, University of Sussex (12 April 2013).
- ‘Nonviolent Conflict and Civil Resistance in the Face of Genocide: a Commentary’. Seminar at the Irish School of Ecumenics and Centre for Post-Conflict Justice, Trinity College Dublin and Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster (24 January 2013).
- “Political violence and the Conversion of Violent Actors to Civil Actors”. Discussant, Seminar on ‘Transitions from Armed to Violent Resistance’, Berghof Foundation, Berlin (11-12 January 2013).
- “The Fallacies of Guatemala’s Liberal Peace”. Paper presented at conference “New Frontiers for Peacebuilding: Hybridity, Governance and Local Agency”, The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester (13-14 September 2012).
- “The inconclusive end to mass atrocities in Guatemala”. Seminar ¨How Mass Atrocities End¨, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the World Peace Foundation (17 November 2011).
- “Peace as a Continuation of War by Other Means: the Guatemalan Peace Process”. Seminar Security and Peace Processes in Northern Ireland and Central America. Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia (9 November 2010).
- Co-organizer with CINEP, Colombia, Negociaciones regionales y Nacionales del Conflicto Armado, Perspectivas, Aprendizajes e Historias detrás de la historia (4-5 November 2010).
- “Armed Conflict and International Humanitarian Law: the Case of Guatemala”. Seminar, Conflict and Peace: Institute of Humanitarian Studies (United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA). Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS), Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia (3 November 2010).
- Co-organizer, Laboratorio Intercambio de Saberes, Academia – Constructores de Paz, in Conference EXPOPAZ, UNDP. Bogotá, Colombia (29 October 2010).
- “Ethnicity and Indigenous Movements in Latin America”. Seminar, Faculty of Political Science and Law. Universidad Central, Bogotá, Colombia (25 October 2010).
- “Understanding Strategic Mobilization and Conflict in Latin America: the Case of Indigenous Movements”. Seminar for the Study of Civil Resistance, International Center for Nonviolent Conflict. Istanbul, Turkey (27 July 2010).
- “Indigenous Mobilization and Conflict in Latin America: a Regional Perspective”. Diploma for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, Tufts University, Boston, USA (24 June 2010).
- “Challenges for Civil Society in Post-Conflict Guatemala”. Saint Edward’s University – The Kozmetsky Center of Excellence in Global Finance, El Colegio Mexiquense, A. C., Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades (CIICH-UNAM), Laboratorio de Análisis de Organizaciones y Movimientos Sociales. Valle de Bravo, México (1 March 2010).
- “Ethnicity and Citizenship: a Debate”. United Nations Development Programme Public Book Launch and Seminar. Guatemala City, Guatemala (25 February 2010).
- “The Institutionalization of Impunity: Genocide and Armed Conflict in Guatemala”. Symposium “Violencia, Reparaciones y Políticas del Pasado: Perspectivas Críticas desde África y América Latina”, 13er. Colombian Congress of Antropology: Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá (1 October 2009).
- “The Indigenous Movement in Guatemala from the Perspective of Social Movement Theory”. Conference Lo Local y Lo Global: una mirada desde el caso colombiano. Center of Interdisciplinary Studies (CIES) –Laboratory of Transnational Processes. Universidad ICESI, Cali, Colombia (11 September 2009).
- “The Evolution, Strategy and Demobilization of the Indigenous Movement”. Seminar concerning the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia. Universidad del Rosario-United Nations System in Colombia (August 2009).
- “The Obstacles for the Human Rights Movement in Post-Conflict Guatemala”. International Political Studies Association, Santiago, Chile (July 2009).
- “The Impact of New Legal Structures on Peace-Building in Guatemala: The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office”. Seminar for the Center for Research on Inequality, Security and Ethnicity, University of Oxford (CRISE), 'How Can the Law Help Reduce Group-based Inequalities?' Keble College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (15 May 2009).
- Discussant for the Panel Procesos Jurídicos Globales y Nuevas Prácticas Políticas del Movimiento Indígena Transnacional, Congress of Legal Anthropology, Bogotá, Colombia (30 October 2008).
- “El Movimiento Popular y las Políticas de Etnicidad en Guatemala”. Paper for the Social Sciences Faculty Seminar, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia (11 August 2008).
- “Las Políticas Indígenas en Guatemala en Perspectiva Comparativa”. Paper for the Faculty Seminar of the Instituto de Estudios Sociales Contemporáneos, Universidad Central, Bogotá, Colombia (6 August 2008).
- “Movilizaciones Indígenas en la Guatemala Posconflicto”. Paper for Georgia State University, Guatemala City, Guatemala (May 2008).
- “Civil resistance and alternatives to violent struggle”. Inaugural Conference, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, King’s College, University of London. London (17-18 January, 2007).
- Co-Chair and Co-Organizer with Victoria Sandford, Violence and Impunity in 21stCentury Guatemala in the Aftermath of Genocide. Latin American Studies Association Conference, Montreal, Canada (September 2007).
- Understanding Violences perpetrated during the Internal Armed Conflict and in the Aftermath of Guatemala’s Genocide”. Latin American Studies Association Conference, Montreal, Canada (September 2007).
- “Indigenous Mobilisations in Post-Conflict Guatemala: Isolated Resistances or Nascent Movement?” Paper given at the Sawyer Mellon Seminar Globalizing the Americas: World Economies and Local Communities: Indigenous Mobilisation across the Americas. University of Toronto, Toronot, Canada (16 November 2006).
- “The Indigenous Movement and the Guatemalan Peace Process: an historical approximation”. Paper given at the Faculty of History and Political Science Seminar. University Del Valle, Guatemala City, Guatemala (7 November 2006).
Dr. Brett can talk to the following issues:
- Conflict / peace issues in Latin America
- Peace Processes
- Elections in Latin America
- Political violence, genocide, mass atrocities
- Social movements and civil resistance
- Indigenous rights
- The Post-Conflict Legacy of Genocide: Political Violence in Guatemala. Part of the series Rethinking Political Violence (editor, Roger Mac Ginty). Palgrave MacMillan. To be published 2015.
PhD Supervision topics
- Conflict / peace issues in Latin America
- Peace Processes
- Political violence, genocide, mass atrocities
- Social movements and civil resistance
- Indigenous rights