Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives


A conference sponsored by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech.

Arlington (Virginia) Hilton, October 13—15, 2016.


Click here for the revised program: program-10-2-16

Conference registration has now closed, but you may attend one or both keynote lectures free of charge, with no registration necessary.

Hotel bookings: A block of rooms at the Hilton Arlington (950 North Stafford Street Arlington, Virginia 22203) has been reserved for conference participants at a discounted room rate of $159/night. The special rate is available through September 13, 2016. Rooms must be reserved under GROUP CODE CCW, directly through the hotel by calling 703-812-5113 or by registering at this site.


About the conference: Postwar reconciliation is invariably challenging, whatever the nature of the conflict. But it is exceptionally difficult in the aftermath of civil wars. Conflict over common territory, a common political system, competing ideologies, or shared resources generates formidable ongoing problems regardless of whether civil war results in separation or reunification. How have former enemies approached reconciliation following civil wars around the world and throughout history? How have they addressed the issues of reparation and punishment? How have adversaries resolved contests over economic resources or political power? Where and with what consequences have they continued to use violence even after the formal cessation of hostilities? What role have racial, ethnic, and religious differences played? What are the cultural ramifications of civil war? What are the benefits of comparing different models of reconciliation across space and time? How should we evaluate successes and failures?

We will convene an interdisciplinary conference at the Arlington (Virginia) Hilton, October 13—15, 2016. The nearby Arlington National Cemetery serves as a physical reminder of one model of postwar reconciliation: located on the former estate of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, the cemetery contains the graves of soldiers from both sides of the American Civil War. Yet for many observers regional and racial reconciliation after the American Civil War has been incomplete, at best. This conference will address such issues. But the scope of the conference goes well beyond the United States. It will bring together experts from different disciplines to explore reconciliation efforts in the wake of numerous civil wars around the world.

The conference features two keynote speakers:

  • Caroline E. Janney, professor of history at Purdue University. Janney is author of Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause, and Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, winner of the Southern Historical Association’s Charles S. Sydnor Award and the American Civil War Museum’s Jefferson Davis Award.
  • Joseph Sebarenzi, former speaker of the Rwanda parliament and a survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Sebarenzi teaches at the School for International Training in Vermont, lectures widely on the subjects of reconciliation and conflict management, and is author of God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation.

Following the conference, we will invite approximately twelve presenters to an author’s workshop in 2017, with the intention of publishing a collection of essays.

Questions should be directed to James Hawdon, director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention ( or Paul Quigley, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies (

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