Roxani Krystalli, Ph.D.

roxani.krystalli@tufts.edu


Program Manager

Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

Year of PhD: 2020

Country: United Kingdom (Scotland)

About Me:

Roxani Krystalli is a Program Manager at the Feinstein International Center in Boston, MA. She is a humanitarian practitioner and researcher, who works on issues of gender, war, and peace-building. Her current research project examines the politics and hierarchies of victimhood in Colombia. Roxani is particularly interested in the ethics of storytelling about violence. She has spent a decade focusing on understanding people’s experiences of violence and justice in the aftermath of armed conflict, including working with former combatants, refugees, victims and survivors of violence throughout Latin America, the Mediterranean, and East Africa. For her work, Roxani has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. She has also been recognized as a United States Institute of Peace ‘Peace Scholar’, a Social Science Research Council Fellow, a Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security Fellow, and a recipient of a National Science Foundation research grant. Her work has appeared or been cited in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Disasters, The International Feminist Journal of PoliticsOpen Democracy, and on numerous blogs and podcasts, including on her own blog, Stories of Conflict and Love. She holds a BA from Harvard University, an MA from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and has recently completed a PhD at The Fletcher School. In September 2020, Roxani will join the University of St Andrews, where she will be a Lecturer (Assistant Professor), focusing on feminist peace and conflict studies at the School of International Relations.

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

Conflict Processes & War

Human Rights

Political Violence

Transitional Justice

Victims' Rights

Humanitarianism

Gender And War

Colombian Peace Process

Countries of Interest

Colombia

Greece

Publications:

Journal Articles:

(2019) Doing feminism: A conversation between Cynthia Enloe and Roxani Krystalli, International Feminist Journal of Politics

“As we go forward in the twenty-first century,” Cynthia Enloe writes, “feminists inside and outside academia need to be on our guard against a cynical form of knowing. We need to send the roots of our curiosity down even deeper." In this conversation, we have endeavored to do just that. In August 2019, we exchanged several emails about the politics of seriousness, the meanings of politics, and the different ways in which we have understood ourselves and our feminist work over time. We wanted to turn the usual curi- osity that we orient toward our questions on international politics toward the topics of identity, writing, academia, failure, and joy. These, too, are feminist questions, not only because they prompt reflections on power but also because they invite us to take seriously the issues of joy, well-being, and the meaning that we each find in how we do our work. A lightly edited version of this conversation can be found below.

(2018) ‘I followed the flood’: a gender analysis of the moral and financial economies of forced migration, Disasters

What would a gender analysis of refugee crises reveal if one expanded the focus beyond female refugees, and acts of physical violence? This paper draws on qualitative research conducted in Denmark, Greece, Jordan, and Turkey in July and August 2016 to spotlight the gendered kinship, hierarchies, networks, and transactions that affect refugees. The coping strategies of groups often overlooked in the gender conversation are examined throughout this study, including those of male refugees and those making crossings outside of the context of a family unit. The analysis is theoretically situated at the intersection of critical humanitarianism and the politics of vulnerability, and rooted in debates about the feminisation of refugees and corresponding protection agendas. A key contribution of this work is the ethnographic tracing of how refugees embody these politics along their journeys. In closing, the paper sketches out some implications of the findings for humanitarian practice and identifies avenues for further research.

Book Chapters:

(2019) Narrating Violence: Feminist Dilemmas and Approaches, Edward Elgar Publishing

In this chapter, I explore how what we know about violence changes when we take narratives seriously. To do so, I draw from a growing feminist tradition of narrative research – and I ask what is feminist about these approaches. I argue that engaging with narratives is not only a methodological choice, but also an ethical posture: a curiosity about knowledge and an orientation towards power.

(2017) Gender and Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, Oxford University Press

A gender-analytical approach to DDR is three-pronged: It involves using gender analyses to improve the standards of support for women in DDR programs, prioritizes parallel programs and funding for women, and involves demilitarizing masculinity and femininity among ex-combatants. In this chapter, we explore why, despite increasing attention to gender and DDR, institutions and policy makers still find it so difficult to align DDR conceptually, logistically, and programmatically for women. We argue this is due to four challenges in the conceptions of women and DDR, and gender and DDR. First, despite extensive advocacy for a rights-based approach that would emphasize women’s right to participate in DDR, these programs often remain inaccessible to female combatants and females associated with fighting forces due to conceptual and implementation barriers. Second, for the women who are able to access them, the content of DDR often does not reflect their wartime experiences or post-demobilization needs. Third, it is important to consider alternatives to current forms of DDR, as well as look outside and beyond the traditional DDR framework to address the reality that a formal DDR program may not be suitable or desirable for many women who have been combatants. Finally, DDR programs fall short of taking on the violent, militarized masculinities of male combatants, which contribute to continued violence in public and private spaces in the post-conflict.

Book Reviews:

(2019) Rethinking Silence, Voice, and Agency in Contested Gendered Terrains, edited by Jane Parpart and Swati Parashar, International Feminist Journal of Politics

In this powerful edited volume, Jane Parpart and Swati Parashar “explore the power of silence in a world where voice is too often privileged as the ultimate sign of power." Contributors challenge the silence-versus-speech dichotomy, whereby silence is synonymous with passivity, and speech with politics, agency, or power. The authors pay attention to the adjectives that lend silence its qualities, exploring strategic, performative, necessary, structural, gendered, and productive silences. Silence becomes an adjective too: silent refusal, silent witness, silent resistance.

Other:

(2016) The Colombian peace agreement has a big emphasis on the lives of women. Here’s how., Washington Post

In 2014, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced a new sub-commission on gender in the peace process, tasked with ensuring that the agreements had an “adequate gender focus.” In July, the sub-commission presented the results of its work to the assembled peace delegations in Havana, as well as to U.N. officials and representatives of Colombian civil society groups. While not all of the agreement’s documents are final or publicly available, here is what we know from the available summaries and public statements.

(2016) Here is how attention to gender affected Colombia's peace process, Washington Post

On Friday, October 7, 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to negotiate and sign peace accords with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerillas, after 52 years of violent conflict. The award came just five days after Colombians rejected the deal in a national plebiscite, albeit by a very narrow margin, leaving the peace process in limbo. Observers have been commenting on the shock of the defeat and on the added twist of the Nobel. But few in the English-language media have discussed how the attention of the peace accords to sexuality and women’s experiences of the conflict may have affected views during the plebiscite. Here’s what we know.