Transitional Justice Review invites submissions for its 2015 special issue entitled “The Role of Datasets in Transitional Justice Research” to be guest edited by Andrew G. Reiter and Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm.*
In 2009, van der Merwe et al.’s Assessing the Impact of Transitional Justice highlighted many of the new advances in empirical research on transitional justice and reflected on their potential policy implications. Over the last decade, one of the most significant developments has been the proliferation of large datasets to monitor the use of transitional justice mechanisms and to enable broader cross-national comparison. The Transitional Justice Data Base Project, Post-Conflict Justice Dataset, and the Transitional Justice Research Collaborative, among others, have produced global datasets of multiple transitional justice mechanisms for scholars to analyze. Datasets on single mechanisms, such as the Amnesty Law Database and the Chile Human Rights Observatory Case Database, aim to provide scholars with richer qualitative data on individual transitional justice mechanisms.
In their 2010 article that reviewed existing research on the effects of transitional justice, Thoms et al. concluded that strong claims are not yet supported in the field and that the findings of large cross-national studies, in particular, have been unclear and contradictory. In the five years since, a host of new quantitative and qualitative studies based upon large datasets have influenced the field and the time is ripe for a new assessment of our progress. This issue aims to bring together scholars using datasets in their transitional justice research; those writing on challenges associated with collecting data (in the field, archives, etc.) and conducting this type of research; those examining the role of methodology in generating knowledge within the field; and practitioner perspectives on the value of datasets.
Some of the key questions to explore include:
• What is the role of data in furthering transitional justice knowledge?
• How do we appropriately define variables and measure concepts like truth and justice?
• How do we effectively measure whether transitional justice “works” or not?
• What issues complicate our ability to gain access to reliable and comprehensive data?
• What are the political and legal implications of data collection and classification?
• What are the major limitations of quantitative research in the study of transitional justice?
The deadline for proposal submissions is 15 March 2015. Proposals should include a title, 250-word abstract, and a CV of the author(s), and be emailed to email@example.com. Final papers will be due 1 September 2015.
*Andrew G. Reiter, Assistant Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College, has published widely on transitional justice, and has been a member of two teams—Transitional Justice Data Base Project and the Transitional Justice Research Collaborative—that have examined transitional justice quantitatively. Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is interested in methodology and transitional justice and has published qualitative and quantitative studies of transitional justice impact.