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Prize for PhD thesis on sexual violence

News: Apr 01, 2020

Anne-Kathrin Kreft, postdoc at the Department of Political Science, has been awarded the Christiane-Rajewsky-Preis 2020 for her PhD thesis Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Threat, Mobilization and Gender Norms, by the German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies.

In her thesis Anne-Kathrin Kreft shows that sexual violence in armed conflict can be a driver of women’s political mobilization for peace and women’s rights.

Congratulations Anne-Kathrin, how does it feel?

Thank you! Of course, it is a great honor to receive an award for my dissertation work. I spent four years researching conflict-related sexual violence, and how women in civil society as well as international actors respond to this violence, inter alia by completing two fieldwork trips to Colombia. Given the subject matter, this work was not always easy. That just makes me all the happier that a jury of peace and conflict scholars sees merit in the dissertation and its core objective: to highlight and examine women’s agency in response to adversity.

What in your research made the German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies so interested that they decided to award you the prize?

The prize is awarded annually to junior scholars who “have made an outstanding contribution to peace and conflict research.” There was supposed to be an award ceremony in which the jury was going to share their justification for selecting the two awardees (the other recipient of the prize is Pia Falschebner). However, due to the developing COVID-19 situation, the award ceremony had to be indefinitely postponed. These are a lot of words to say: I do not yet know what was the driving factor in the jury’s decision, but I thank them for awarding me the prize!

What does the prize consist of? What does it mean to you?

The recognition of my research that comes with the award is the greatest gain. It signifies that work on violence against women, and women’s resistance to this violence – which is still often considered a fringe issue – is worth doing and is an integral part of conflict research. Greater recognition may also mean further dissemination of the results of my dissertation, and thus of the stories and experiences shared by the women activists I spoke with in Colombia. The dissertation would not be what it is without these women, who do impressive work every day to confront sexual and other violence against women and to counter harmful gender norms that facilitate and normalize this violence.
The prize also comes with a monetary award. Owing to the current COVID-19 crisis that is affecting countries all over the world, I will donate part of the award money to efforts to fight the coronavirus.

Anything else you would like to share?

Just a word of thanks to my supervisors, Ann Towns, Lena Wängnerud and Inger Skjelsbæk, for supporting this project; to Mattias Agerberg, who co-authored one of the papers included in the dissertation; to the Colombian research assistants who were integral to setting up and carrying out the interviews, Tania Soriano, Maria-Paula Rojas and Angie Valderrama; and of course to the Colombian women who spoke with me and shared their stories and experiences.

More information

Read more about Anne-Kathrin´s main research findings in this press release: Sexual violence is a driver of women's political mobilization.

The news about the prize was first published at the German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies’ web site (written in German), https://afk-web.de/cms/die-bisherigen-preistraegerinnen/


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