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Richard Georgi

Doctoral Student

School of Global
Visiting address
Konstepidemins väg 2
41314 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 700
40530 Göteborg

About Richard Georgi

My PhD project is entitled: Fighting for Rights in Times of Violent Peace: The Politics of Human Rights Activism in the 2016 Colombian Peace Process. In my research, I study the activism of human rights defenders in view of their experiences with and political advocacy on the current attempt to build peace in Colombia. I seek to understand, how the peace process with the FARC-EP, which for many is marked by systematic atrocities against activists and pervasive political polarization, affects the work of human rights defenders and, vice-versa, how activists intend to seize the opportunity of the 2016 peace agreement to mobilize for their vision of social justice.

In times, where the global consensus around human rights is weakening and academic critique proclaims the end-times of human rights, my project steps back to investigate how the discourse of human rights is actually employed in activist practices. I use a range of interdisciplinary research methods, combining seven months of fieldwork observations in different heavily conflict-affected regions of Colombia, in-depth interviews and discussions with activists, and tools of large-N text analysis, in order to address issues that emerge at the intersection of human rights, peace-conflict nexus, and activism, such as: How can we study the politics of human rights activism in violent conflicts? How can we understand the surge of violence against human rights defenders after armed conflict ends? How do visions of human rights and peace relate to each other? How do activists envision justice under the conditions of its absent presence in Colombia? Drawing on post-foundational political philosophy, and in particular Ernesto Laclau's seminal reflections on oppression and change in Latin America, I argue that we cannot understand human rights as an isolated discourse nor just as Western-liberal tools, but that we must engage with their contested political appropriation, such as for example in the Colombian history of protest and popular mobilization.

I graduated in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin. Before starting my PhD at SGS, I worked, among others, as human rights observer in Mexico and researcher for the German Institute for Human Rights.

I have teaching experiences in the fields of: Political Theory and Sociology, International Relations, Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Global Governance.

My overall research interests concern: Human Rights, Political and Social Theories, Activism and Popular Mobilization, Conflict-Peace Nexus, Research on Violence, Postcolonial Theory, Feminist and Gender Research

In addition to my PhD research, I volunteer for the international human rights organization Peace Brigades International, and I am member of the board of trustees of the Kenyan grassroots organization YHEPP that works with marginalized communities in Nairobi.