Conference Invitation: “Peace from Below” at the University of Tromsø

The University of Tromsø Centre for Peace Studies invite you to the Critical Interdisciplinary Conference on Studying Peace from Below. The conference will take place in Tromsø, Norway, from 5-6 September 2019. For further details, see the conference site and detailed program.

The discourse and practices of peace building processes in post-conflict and volatile environments that aim to achieve or sustain peace often tend to exclude local communities and treat them as beneficiaries instead of active participants, creators, and agents. This has led to failures, which have prompted questions about the legitimacy of external and top-down peace building approaches and calls for local ownership and participation.

The ‘view from below’ came as a response to this criticism. In such a context, this Critical Interdisciplinary Conference on Studying Peace from Below aims to interrogate and problematize how the ‘from below’ perspective has been used in teaching, research, and policy (in education and research institutions, as well as state, regional, and supranational organizations, e.g. the EU, the AU, the ASEAN, the UN etc.).

Recently, the UN identified peace, justice, and gender equality as some of the important themes to be addressed in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In view of this, we want to explore and better understand the relevance and significance of studying peace from below vis-à-vis the SDGs, with a particular focus on the issues of achieving peace, justice, and gender equality. The core objective is to examine the possibilities, tensions, and even contradictions that are inherent in ‘the view from below’ as it has been conceptualized and applied so far.

To register for the conference (in full or in part), send an email with your name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation to with subject line #peacefrombelow2019.


Thusday, 5 September

08:30 – 09:00 – Registration and Refreshment

09:00 – 09:30 – Welcome note. Conference Team: Marcela Douglas (Director of the Centre for Peace Studies); Kenneth Ruud (Vice Rector for Research & Development, UiT)

09:35 – 11:05 – Session A. Identity, Conflict & Peace

11:05 – 11:25 – Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 – Session B. Peacebuilding: Actors & (Just) Institutions

13:00 – 14:00 – Lunch (*presenters & by invitation only)

14:05 – 15:35 – Session C. Challenging Peace Processes: Design – Implementation Gap & Grassroots Resistance

15:35 – 16:00 – Coffee break

16:00 – 17:15 – Keynote lecture.


17:15 – 20:30 – Conference reception (*presenters & by invitation only)

Friday, 6 September

09:00 – 10:30 – Session D. Identity Politics & Peace

10:30 – 10:45 – Coffee break

10:45 – 12:00 – Keynote lecture.

RESCUING ‘LOCAL’ FROM ITS ‘GLOBAL’ ENTHUSIASTS: A POSTCOLONIAL READING OF ‘PEACE FROM BELOW’ by Swati Parashar (University of Gothenburg, Sweden and SOAS University of London, UK)

12:00 – 13:00 – Lunch (*presenters & by invitation only)

13:05 – 14:35 – Session E. Migration, Development & Gender

14:35 – 14:50 – Coffee break

14:50 – 16:20 – Session F. Transitional Justice & Reconciliation – Seeking Transformation

16:30 – 17:00 – Closing remarks

17:30 – 20:00 – Conference reception in Ardna (*presenters & by invitation only)