Wilson Center Experts

Arnaud Kurze

Title VIII Short Term Scholar
Global Europe Program

Contact Information:
Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
Human Rights
International Development
Society and Culture
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Visiting Scholar, Center for Global Studies, George Mason University
Wilson Center Project(s):
“Youth, Performance Activism, and the Politics of Memory”
May 01, 2015
Jun 30, 2015

Dr. Arnaud Kurze teaches courses on social movements and transitional justice in the MA program in the Department of Politics at New York University (NYU) and is a non-resident visiting scholar at the Center for Global Studies (CGS) at George Mason University (GMU). In the past, he was the publication & web editor at CGS and Coordinator of CGS's 'Human Rights and, Justice & Democracy Project', funded by the Open Society Institute. He has published in several academic journals and is author of several reports on foreign affairs for the government and international organizations. His latest coauthored chapter, "Afraid to Cry Wolf: Human Rights Activists’ Struggle of Transnational Accountability Efforts in the Balkans," was published in 2013 with Springer. He regularly contributes analyses and op-ed articles online for think tanks and other institutions and has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships including the Woodrow Wilson Center, Sciences Po, and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). His research interests are Southeast European politics, transitional justice, and social movements.

Project Summary

This research project explores the emerging youth activism to deal with the past in post-conflict Balkan societies. While scholarly literature on youth advocacy work is incrementally developing, research that focuses on performance-based activism in Southeast Europe—combining art, performance and activism—is inexistent. This research project draws on over two-dozen in-depth interviews with youth activist leaders across the former Yugoslavia focusing on their performance-based campaigns. Additional data was collected from content analysis—including media coverage, policy briefs and reports— and online-based prosopography. The latter consists of studying common characteristics of these activists by means of a collective study of their lives and careers. In his findings, the author explains why the emergence of transitional justice youth activism in the Balkans falls short of the significant institutional reforms of earlier youth movement mobilizations in the regions. He also throws light on why their performance activism is distinct from practices of older, established human rights organizations in the region. Notwithstanding, he argues that this performance activism has fueled the creation of a new spatiality of deliberation—so called strategic confrontation spaces—to contest the culture of impunity and challenge the politics of memory in the former Yugoslavia.

Major Publications

“Afraid to Cry Wolf: Human Rights Activists’ Conundrum to Define Narratives of Justice and Truth in the Former Yugoslavia,” (2013) with Iva Vukusic. In Olivera Simic and Zala Volcic, Transitional Justice and Civil Society in the Balkans, Springer: New York.

“Democratizing Justice in the Post-Conflict Balkans: The Dilemma of Domestic Human Rights Activists,” (2012). CEU Political Science Journal, Vol. 7, No. 3, 243-268.

"To Be or Not to Be: Croatian Human Rights Activists’ Struggle to Account for Mass Atrocities," (2011). Global Studies Review, Vol. 7., No. 1.

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