Parallel session
Civilian agency and resistance

During episodes of organized violence civilians are often an overlooked protagonist that can directly influence patterns of violence and resist violent actors. This session brings together leading scholars on civilian agency during war and contentious politics with extensive experience in conflict-affected countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA region. Panelists will discuss how civilians shape rebel governance, the different strategies civilians use to respond to armed actors and why such interactions and choices matter for post-conflict politics as well as why ordinary citizens ultimately matter for consolidating peace. 

Session videos

Jana Krause | Michael Weintraub | Corinna Jentzsch | Killian Clarke | Discussant and Q&A


Titta Maja | Chair

Titta Maja is Director General of the Department for Development Policy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has worked in the Department for Communications, where she was Editor-in-Chief of Kauppapolittiikka magazine in 2017–2018. At the Permanent Mission of Finland in Geneva in 2014–2017, Maja was responsible for disarmament, arms control and human rights questions. Her experience of work in the Diplomatic Service includes also posts in Santiago de Chile and Tallinn. She has also served in the Delegation of the European Union to Brazil. In the Ministry, Maja has held several positions linked to development cooperation, including in the Department for Africa and the Middle East and the Department for the Americas and Asia. Maja joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 2002. She has also worked in the service of UNDP, UNICEF and UNIFEM.

Jana Krause | Presenter

Jana Krause is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, where she currently teaches in the Master’s Program Peace and Conflict Studies (PECOS). Her research focuses on civilian agency and civilian protection in communal conflicts and civil wars; local peacebuilding and social resilience; and the gender dimensions of peacebuilding. She has conducted extensive field research on these issues in Indonesia and Nigeria, and more recently in Kenya, South Sudan, and Myanmar. She directs the ERC Starting Grant project ‘ResilienceBuilding: Social Resilience, Gendered Dynamics, and Local Peace in Protracted Conflicts’ (2020-2025).

Michael Weintraub | Presenter

Michael Weintraub is an Associate Professor in the School of Government at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. His research, which focuses on crime and political violence in Latin America, has been published or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, among other journals. Weintraub received his Ph.D. in Government at Georgetown University. 

Abbey Steele | Presenter
Corinna Jentzsch | Presenter

Corinna Jentzsch is Assistant Professor of International Relations (tenured) at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Her research focuses on civilian collective action during civil war, and conflict transformation and escalation. She is also broadly interested in social movements, political violence, peacekeeping, African politics, and fieldwork methods and ethics. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in southern Africa, including Mozambique, Zambia, and Malawi.

Killian Clarke | Presenter

Killian Clarke is an Assistant Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, affiliated with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. He received his PhD from Princeton University’s Department of Politics. From 2020 to 2021, he was a Raphael Morrison Dorman Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow with the Weatherhead Scholars Program at Harvard University. In his research he studies the origins and consequences of grassroots mobilization and protests, and their contribution to transformative political events like revolutions, regime change, and democratization.

Elisa Tarnaala | Discussant

Elisa Tarnaala is Adviser at Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) – The Martti Ahtisaari Centre, a Finnish independent non-profit organisation funded by the Nobel peace prize laureate and ex-president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari. At CMI Dr. Tarnaala’s current work focuses on peace and transitional processes in West and Central Africa as well as Colombia in South America. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Political Science and History from the New School for Social Research, New York, and an M.A. in Social and Economic History from the University of Helsinki.