Conflict, War and Development Working Group

The aim of this working group is to bring together academics, activist, politicians and other people from across the world, who have an interest in research on conflict, war and development that is more balanced and objective than the discourses produced and disseminated by mainstream academics and the dominant media.

The working group is in particular interested in analyses that includes material interests and motivations; production of knowledge and false consciousness; media, war propaganda and public opinion; organisation and production of overt and covert warfare; gender and masculinity; psychological operations and humanitarianism. 

Member of the Working Group

Ali Alavi


Ali is a PhD candidate in the department of International Politics at SOAS, University of London. His research focuses primarily on International Politics, Sino-Persian relations, the Arab world and Eastern European political economy. Ali is a frequent commentators on war and conflict in West Asia, primarily through Iranian and Russian media outlets.

Ali has a background in agricultural genetic engineering.


Colette Harris

Reader in Gender and Development, SOAS University of London

I have worked in post-conflict situations – in Central Asia and East Africa after civil wars and in West Africa in the middle of a series of sectarian riots – endeavouring to reduce violence in the community and to bring families and community members closer together through the use of long-term (1 year) discovery-based education projects focused on participatory gender analysis. Much of this work has been aimed at getting older men to rethink local notions of older masculinities in order to reduce the pressure on women and youths and to get younger men to rethink younger masculinities around risk taking and violence. From my perspective gender (mainly in the form of masculinities and the masculinism derived from this) makes the world go round unfortunately almost entirely in negative ways. While I can do little if anything to influence those at the top of the global and even national hierarchies to rethink their masculinities, doing this at grass-roots level has proved very effective. I believe that unless we seriously address the issues of masculinities and masculinism it will be impossible to make any serious progress in regard to any of the issues this working group will deal with.

Farooq Sulihria

PhD Researcher at SOAS.

E-mail: (

Research interests includes: Media imperialism in the age of globalization. Farooq Sulehria has been working as journalist for nearly 20 years. His interests are in media debates and politics.

Farwa Sial

PhD Researcher at SOAS

Email: (

Research interests include Political Economy of Development, Development Aid and Neo-colonialism, New Developmentalism, Neo-liberalism and South-South Development. She has worked in Africa and Asia on a number of development related positions and is currently researching on the rise of Korean aid and investment in the developing world.

Niels Hahn

Lecturer at the University of London

Research interest include issues such as; international relations, imperialism, neocolonialism, political economy of armed conflicts, covert and overt military interventions, humanitarianism, psychological warfare,  propaganda, post-conflict reconstruction and neoliberalism. His research and teaching is partly based on experience from the humanitarian sector, which includes working in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia/Ogaden, Liberia, Tanzania, Somalia, and Sudan/Darfur.

Shirin Shafaie

Shirin’s main research interests are Critical War Studies, Narrative Theory, and Dialectical Theology/Interreligious Dialogue. Has worked extensively on contemporary Iranian war narratives (Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988) using an interdisciplinary methodology of Critical Theory, Oral History and Narrative Theory (based on Hayden White’s ideas). She is currently a Teaching Fellow at SOAS, Department of Politics and the co-convener and lecturer of a course on the Political Economy of Iran at the European University of St. Petersburg. Website:

Toufic Haddad


PhD researcher at SOAS. Toufic’s research focuses on the political economy of neoliberalism, conflict resolution, and state building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This includes heterodox analyses of neoliberalism and foreign aid to the OPT, by examining international and local political economic orders; their influence upon the policy and practices of the international development complex’ workings in the OPT; and its implications on Palestinian social relations and political elites. Additionally, I am in general interested in political economy of the Arab world, and a long time writer and analyst of the Palestinian political setting.


Coordinating Committee of the Working Group

Coordinator (for the establishing of the group):

Coordinating members:

Selected publications by the members (three to four articles)

Colette Harris (2014) ‘The use of participatory gender analysis for violence reduction in (post-)conflict settings: a study of a community education project in northern Uganda’, in Vasilikie Demos and Marcia Segal (eds) Advances in Gender Research, vol. 18B, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.

Colette Harris (2013) ‘What can applying a gender lens contribute to conflict studies? A review of selected MICROCONF working papers’, in Patricia Justino, Tilman Brück, and Philip Verwimp (eds) Micro-Level Perspectives on the Dynamics of Conflict, Violence and Development, Oxford: Oxford University Press  (in press).

Colette Harris (2012) ‘Community-based pedagogies, religion and conflict resolution in Kaduna, Nigeria’, in Lee Marsden (ed.), Ashgate Research Companion on Religion and Conflict Resolution, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 319-336.

Colette Harris (2012) The importance of post-conflict socio-cultural community education programmes: a case study from northern Uganda,. MICROCON Research Working Paper 64,

Hahn, N. (2014). Pan-Africanism and the Struggle against Neocolonialism. African Identities, December, 2013. (Forthcoming).  

Hahn, N. 2013. The Experience of Land Grab in Liberia. Book chapter, in the history section of  “Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa – Foreign direct investment and food and water security”, edited by John Anthony Allen, Martin Keulertz, Suvi Sojamo, and Jeroen Warner.      Routledge International Handbooks. London. (

Hahn, N. 2011. 利用名人当工具的心理战争 The Use of Celebrities in Psychological Warfare, Annual Review of African Studies in China (中国非洲研究评论 2011). Peking University Press (

Hahn, 2007. “Neoliberal Imperialism and Pan-African Resistance”. Journal of World Systems Research, 2007. Volume XIII, Number 2, Pages 142-178. (