Megan MacKenzie recently spent a year as a post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center for International Security and the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School, Harvard University. Her research areas include gender and development, international relations, security studies, and post-conflict transitions. Megan is excited to be teaching courses related to these research interests, including a new course called “Sex, Power and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.” .
Megan completed her doctorate from the University of Alberta, Canada in 2008. Her dissertation used feminist critical discourse analysis to examine security policies, peacebuilding efforts and the rehabilitation process for former female soldiers in Sierra Leone. Mackenzie’s unique research experience includes extensive work in Sierra Leone where she interviewed over fifty former female soldiers. She plans to return to Sierra Leone in 2009 to conduct follow up research and to explore issues related to transitional justice in the country.
Her current research projects are working through development studies, women’s studies, and international relations, her related research interests include securitization discourses, the influence of the liberal family model (including hegemonic ideas relating to heterosexual marriage, mother-child bonds and the male ‘breadwinner’) on development discourses, critical development studies, sex and war, international and non-governmental organizations and accountability, identity and the construction of women post-conflict; the relationship between academics, aid agencies, and citizens in developing countries, the link between particular discourses and the race for aid agency funding, and transitional justice.
Specific projects include current research on the relationship between transitional justice mechanisms such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and international courts to local citizens’ motivations and rational for supporting peace processes.
She is also working on an edited manuscript tentatively called “Beyond Post-Conflict” aimed at critically examining dominant post-conflict norms and assumptions. Future projects will examine how the nuclear family structure is assumed by, and instituted through international development organizations and agencies. Specifically, looking at how notions of ‘the family’ impact policies directed to two categories of parentless children: children born as a result of wartime sexual violence (sometimes referred to as ‘war babies’), and children who are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS. In addition, she hopes to start a collaborative project looking at the impact of emotionally charged and traumatic research on researchers.