Dr Roddy Brett, Senior Lecturer

Dr Roddy Brett is a Senior Lecturer with the School of International Relations. He was awarded his PhD at the University of London in 2002, and since that time has lived in Latin America, principally in Guatemala and Colombia, working as a scholar-practitioner.

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. He worked with the Centre for Human Rights Legal Action in Guatemala as a member of the original team that prepared the evidence for 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.

Dr Brett continues to advise the United Nations System in Latin America and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the International Centre on Non-Violent Conflict, in Washington DC, 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.

His fields of research include:

  • conflict and peace studies
  • post-conflict reconstruction
  • reconciliation
  • political and other forms of violence
  • genocide studies
  • transitional justice
  • democratisation and transitions.

Research areas

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. His most recent monograph on these themes, The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide: Political Violence in Guatemala, was published in 2016.

Dr Brett is also interested in 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 civil society and victims engage with, shape and seek to transform contexts of violence and shape post-conflict scenarios. He is, at present, preparing his new book on victimhood, transitional justice and violence and reconciliation, with a focus on Colombia, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press and to be published in 2017. 

Publications

Books:

  • (2016) The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide: Political Violence in Guatemala. Palgrave MacMillan: London. 
  • (2012) La Voluntad Indómita: Teorías de los Movimientos Sociales y la Acción Colectiva (The Indomitable Will: Theories of Social Movements and Collective Action, including contributions from Professor Doug McAdam, Professor Statys Kalyvas, Professor Jon Elster and Professor Sidney Tarrow). Co-edited with Freddy Cante. Universidad del Rosario: Bogotá, Colombia (Peer-Reviewed).
  • (2010) Jano y las Caras Opuestas de los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas (The Janus Faces of Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights). Co-edited with Angela Santamaría. Universidad del Rosario: Bogotá, Colombia.
  • (2010) El Movimiento Maya Diez Años Después de los Acuerdos de Paz: retos y posibilidades (The Mayan Movement in Guatemala, 10 Years after the Peace Accords: challenges and possibilities). Co-edited with Santiago Bastos. F&G Editoriales (Peer-Reviewed).
  • (2009) La Ciudadanía y la Etnicidad (Citizenship and Ethnicity). UNDP: Guatemala (Peer-Reviewed).
  • (2008) Democracia y Derechos Humanos: Voz Ciudadana (Democracy and Human Rights: the Citizens’ Voice). UNDP: Guatemala.
  • (2008) Indigenous Politics and the Guatemalan Process of Democratisation, 1985-1996. Brill-CEDLA Latin American Studies Series (Peer-Reviewed).
  • (2007) Una Guerra sin Batallas: del Odio, la Violencia y el Miedo en el Ixil y el Icxán, 1972-1983 (“A War without Battles: Hate, Violence and Fear in Indigenous Communities in the Ixil and Ixcán, 1972-1984”) (prologue by sociologist Prof. Edelberto Torres-Rivas). A major book based on the special witness reports presented to the Public Prosecutor for the genocide trial against the former Guatemalan Military High Command of the 1980s. F + G Editoriales (Guatemala).
  • (2006) Movimiento Popular, Etnicidad y Democratización en Guatemala, 1985-1996 (“Popular Movement, Ethnicity and Democratisation in Guatemala, 1986 – 1996”). F + G Editoriales (Guatemala).

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

  • (2016) “Peace without Social Reconciliation? The Trial for Genocide of General Efraín Ríos Montt”, in Journal of Genocide Research (special Eds. Diane Nelson and Elizabeth Oglesby). Volume 18, Number 2.
  • (2013) With Lina Malagon. “Overcoming the Original Sin of the Original Condition: How Reparations May Contribute to Emancipatory Peacebuilding”. Human Rights Review, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp 257-271.
  • (2013) “Peace stillborn? Guatemala’s Liberal Peace and the Indigenous Movement”. Peacebuilding. Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 222-238.
  • (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 Journal, Volume 39, No. 2. University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • (2010) Racism in Guatemala: Historical Tendencies, Present Challenges and Possible Directions (thematic edition editor). Thematic issue for the online journal the Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies (Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University).
  • (2010) “State Racism in Guatemala: transformations and continuities”, in Racism in Guatemala: Historical Tendencies, Present Challenges and Possible Directions. Thematic issue for the online journal the Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies (Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University).
  • (2008) “Comparing Research Experience in Strategic Legal Case Research: the experiences of Guatemala and Arizona, USA”, in Nómadas (Universidad Central, Bogotá, Colombia). With Frederic Solop.

Forthcoming articles:

  • “The Role of Civil Society in Peacemaking: the case of Guatemala”. Journal of Peacebilding and Cooperation. Vol. 12, Number 1 (2017).

Policy papers:

  • (2016) The Role of Victims Delegations in the Santos-FARC-EP Peace Talks. Bogota: United National Development Programme.
  • (2014) Local Level Peacebuilding in Colombia (A Lessons Learned Paper). United Nations Development Programme.

Chapters in peer-reviewed books:

  • (2016) “Strategic Responses to Genocide: The Guatemalan”, in Remembering the Rescuers of Victims of Human Rights Crimes in Latin America (Eds. Marcia Esparza and Carla De Ycaza). Lexington Books.
  • (2016) “Peacebuilding in South America”, with Diana Florez, in The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace. Palgrave MacMillan (2016). (Eds. Oliver P. Richmond, Sandra Pogodda, Jasmin Ramovic). New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • (2016) “The Persistence of Genocidal Logic Beyond Mass Killing: the Case of Guatemala”, in How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, the Sudans, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq (Ed. Bridget Conley). New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • (2015) “The Janus Face of International Activism and Guatemala’s Indigenous Peoples”, in Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism, Alex De Waal (Editor). Zed Books: London and New York. 
  • (2010) “El Movimiento Maya: ¿invención política o realidad social?”, in El Movimiento Maya Diez Años Después de los Acuerdos de Paz: retos y posibilidades, R. Brett y S. Bastos (eds.). F+G Editoriales: Guatemala.
  • (2010) “Introducción: el Movimiento Maya y sus retos actuales”, in El Movimiento Maya Diez Años Después de los Acuerdos de Paz: retos y posibilidades, R. Brett y S. Bastos (eds.). F+G Editoriales: Guatemala.
  • (2010) “Introducción” in Jano y las caras opuestas de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas. Co-edited with Ángela Santamaría. 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. Co-edited with Ángela Santamaría. Universidad del Rosario: Bogotá, Colombia.
  • (2009) “Guatemala: 1954 and its Human Rights Legacy”, book chapter in Encyclopaedia of Human Rights” (Oxford University Press).
  • (2009) “Rigoberta Menchú Tum”, book chapter 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” (“An Approximation towards the Problem of Racism and Discrimination with the State Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman”), in Mayanización y La vida Cotidiana: La Ideología y el Discurso Multi-Cultural en la Sociedad Guatemalteca, Santiago Bastos and Aura Cumes, FLACSO: Guatemala.

Teaching

Modules:

  • The Politics of Violence and Resistance in Latin America (IR3052)
  • Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Transition in Latin America (IR3053)
  • Peace and Conflict Theory (IR5701)
  • Issues in Peace and Conflict (IR5151)
  • Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding in Latin America (IR5062).

Research students

First supervisor

  • Elizabeth Armstrong 
  • Diana Florez 

PhD supervision topics

Topics include:

  • conflict/peace issues, principally in Latin America
  • peace processes
  • transitional justice
  • democratisation
  • political violence, genocide, mass atrocities
  • social movements and civil resistance.