Rachel’s research centres on the politics of human rights, justice and civil society in the context of conflict and genocide, principally in Africa. Her expertise in this area is based on interdisciplinary academic research and activist engagement. She is interested in settings which have been sites of atrocities, and laboratories for international interventions in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and humanitarian response. In particular she focuses on the agency of marginalised groups in the pursuit of rights, justice and peace, including through ethnographic and participatory action research methodologies.
Rachel has published on the politics of memory in post-genocide Rwanda, based on PhD research, and is continuing to explore the relationship between mourning, identity and rights after or during mass violence. Another stream of research focuses on land conflict, including transnational and local resistance to ‘land grabbing’ in Africa. She has also worked on everyday experiences of justice amid conflict in South Sudan as part of the Justice and Security Research Programme at LSE.
- PhD Politics and International Relations, University of Bristol (2009).
- MSc Social Science Research Methods, University of Bristol (2004).
- MA Area Studies Africa, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (1995).
Rachel was previously based at the London School of Economics in 2014-16, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London in 2013-14 and the University of Limerick in 2011-13, and has taught peace and conflict, human rights, development, African politics, humanitarianism.
- The Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding in Africa: 3rd year undergraduate
- Global Governance: 2nd year undergraduate
- The Politics of Human Rights: MA option
Area of supervision
Rachel is interested in supervising topics relating to human rights activism, justice and peacebuilding in conflict-affected or post conflict settings, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the use of political ethnography and participatory action research methodologies.
Rachel previously worked in human rights research, most recently as former director of Justice Africa. She continues to collaborate with practitioners – a current initiative involves developing an archive of court observations in South Sudan.
Rachel Ibreck (2015) A Right to Land? Activism against land grabbing in Africa’, in Advocacy in Conflict, Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism, Alex de Waal (ed) London: Zed Books.
Rachel Ibreck (2013) ‘International Constructions of National Memories: The Aims and Effects of Donor Support for Genocide Remembrance in Rwanda’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 7:2, pp. 149-169.
Rachel Ibreck and Alex de Waal, (2013) ‘Hybrid Social Movements in Africa’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31:2, pp. 303-324.
Rachel Ibreck (2012) ‘The Time of Mourning: The Politics of Commemorating the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda’ in Philip Lee and Pradip Thomas (eds) Public Memory, Public Media, and the Politics of Justice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 98-120.
Rachel Ibreck (2010) ‘The Politics of Mourning: Survivor Contributions to Memorials in Post-Genocide Rwanda’, Memory Studies, 3:4, pp. 330-343.
Rachel is interested in collaborations with civil society activists in Africa on research of mutual concern. This working paper co-authored with Naomi Pendle (2016) highlights initial findings from a partnership to develop an archive of customary and statutory court observations in South Sudan: Customary Protection? Chiefs’ Courts as Public Authority in UN Protection of Civilians Sites in South Sudan
She is also exploring new ways to make research findings accessible to wider audiences. This cartoon on Seeking Justice in South Sudan co-authored with Victor Ndula, Godfrey Bulla and Alex de Waal, (2015) is based on participatory action research on a land dispute in Juba, South Sudan.
Publications and research outputs
Ibreck, Rachel. 2019. South Sudan's Injustice System: Law and Activism on the Frontline. London: Zed Books. ISBN 9781786993397
Ibreck, Rachel. 2018. Victims and Survivors from Cyangugu, Rwanda: The Politics of Testimony After Genocide. In: Vincent Druliolle and Roddy Brett, eds. The Politics of Victimhood in Post-conflict Societies, Comparative and Analytical Perspectives. Palgrave, pp. 301-325. ISBN 978-3-319-70202-5
Ibreck, Rachel and de Waal, Alex. 2018. A Human Security Strategy for the European Union in the Horn of Africa. In: Mary Kaldor; Iavor Rangelov and Sabine Selchow, eds. EU Global Strategy and Human Security Rethinking Approaches to Conflict. Routledge. ISBN 9781138098961
Ibreck, Rachel. 2017. Contesting Dispossession: Land rights activism in Gambella, Ethiopia and Pujehun, Sierra Leone. In: Dip Kapoor, ed. Against Colonization and Rural Dispossession. London, Uk: Zed Books, pp. 251-275. ISBN 9781783609444
Ibreck, Rachel. 2015. A Right to Land? Activism against land grabbing in Africa. In: Alex de Waal, ed. Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism. London: Zed Books. ISBN 9781783602728
Ibreck, Rachel. 2012. The Time of Mourning: The Politics of Commemorating the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda. In: Philip Lee and Pradip Thomas, eds. Public Memory, Public Media and the Politics of Justice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 98-120. ISBN 978-0-230-35406-7
Ibreck, Rachel. 2011. The Resistance Memorial, Bisesero, Rwanda. In: Maggie Andrews; Charlie Bagot-Jewitt and Nigel Hunt, eds. Lest We Forget: Rethinking Cultures of Remembrance. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, pp. 210-214.
Ibreck, Rachel and de Waal, Alex. 2022. Introduction: Situating Ethiopia in Genocide Debates. Journal of Genocide Research, 24(1), pp. 83-96. ISSN 1462-3528
Ibreck, Rachel and Seeka, Angelina. 2022. Civicness in exile: The solidarities and struggles of South Sudanese refugees in Cairo. Journal of Civil Society, 18(2), pp. 219-238. ISSN 1744-8689
Ibreck, Rachel. 2018. [Review] Investing in Authoritarian Rule: Punishment and Patronage in Rwanda's Gacaca Courts for Genocide Crimes by Anuradha Chakravarty. Inside Rwanda's Gacaca Courts: Seeking Justice after Genocide by Bert Ingelaere Madison. Courts in Conflict: Interpreting the Layers of Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda by Nicola Palmer. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 56(01), pp. 169-174. ISSN 0022-278X
Ibreck, Rachel and Pendle, Naomi. 2017. Community Security and Justice under United Nations Governance: Lessons from Chiefs’ Courts in South Sudan’s Protection of Civilians Sites. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 6(1), 16. ISSN 2165-2627
Ibreck, Rachel and Pendle, Naomi. 2016. Customary Protection? Chiefs’ Courts as Public Authority in United Nations Protection of Civilian Sites, South Sudan. The Justice and Security Research Programme(34), ISSN 2051-0926
de Waal, Alex and Ibreck, Rachel. 2013. Alem Bekagn: The African Union's accidental human rights memorial. African Affairs, 112(447), pp. 191-215. ISSN 0001-9909
Ibreck, Rachel. 2013. International Constructions of National Memories: The Aims and Effects of Foreign Donors' Support for Genocide Remembrance in Rwanda. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 7(2), pp. 149-169. ISSN 1750-2977
Ibreck, Rachel. 2010. The politics of mourning: Survivor contributions to memorials in post-genocide Rwanda. Memory Studies, 3(4), pp. 330-343. ISSN 1750-6980
Ibreck, Rachel and de Waal, Alex. 2021. Foundational justice: a strategy for peace in the Horn of Africa. Other. Conflict Research Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
Ibreck, Rachel; Pendle, Naomi; Robinson, Alice and The Bridge Network. 2021. Bridging divisions in a war-torn state: Reflections on education and civicness in South Sudan. Discussion Paper. Conflict Research Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
Ibreck, Rachel; Logan, Hannah and Pendle, Naomi. 2017. Negotiating Justice: Courts as local civil authority during the conflict in South Sudan. Discussion Paper. Justice and Security Research Programme, LSE, London.