What I'm working on over summer: Chris Wilson

09 January 2017
Dr Chris Wilson

We’re catching up with our researchers to find out what they will be working on over the summer.

Dr Chris Wilson is hunkering down for the summer to write a book on migration and violent conflict in the Asia-Pacific, based on 15 years of fieldwork including with the United Nations and the World Bank.

He will be writing about a range of conflicts in regions like northeast India and Indonesia, and focusing on the role of migration in these complicated religious, ethnic and political clashes.

Chris plans to ask what it is about migration that makes violence happen, and why migration leads to violence in some places but not others.

To answer this question he will be comparing peaceful and violent areas, and testing hypotheses from the existing literature in this area in a structured, focussed comparison of different outcomes.

He hopes to use this conflict analysis to inform peace building around the world at a time in which we are seeing unprecedented movement of people.

Among the fieldwork he will be drawing upon is the time he spent heading up a UNDP team in Indonesia researching the main causes of violence in the country, so as to contribute to conflict sensitive development, and a similar conflict analysis role with the World Bank.

He is also interested in why some conflicts escalate and some stagnate, and will be using conflicts in six countries and 15 sub-states as case studies.

Chris is excited to finally sit down and write the first large study of Asia-Pacific conflict with migration as the lens.

Alongside working on his manuscript, he will also be preparing for coordinating the inaugural year of our new Master of Conflict and Terrorism Studies (MCTS) programme.

Chris has been planning the MCTS since he first arrived in the Faculty of Arts in mid-2012, and is looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. Along with Dr Thomas Gregory, he will be arranging a number of public lectures and workshops on conflict and terrorism to launch the degree.

“There’s no comparable programme in New Zealand that studies this important topic from such a range of different empirical and theoretical perspectives.”

The MCTS has taught courses and a research component, and they have brought on board colleagues from across the Faculty, such as Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis from History, Associate Professor Luke Goode from Media and Communication, and Dr Claire Meehan from Sociology.

“This is a multi-disciplinary area of study, even within Politics and International Relations. Together we cover a range of regions and approaches to study the causes, dynamics and prevention of conflict and terrorism.”

Find out more about the Master of Conflict and Terrorism Studies