Bert Suykens

Bert holds an MA in History from KU Leuven and a MSc in Conflict and Development from Ghent University. For his PhD, he studied the Maoist movement and Bodo and Naga insurgencies in India. Later he diverted his attention to party-political violence in Bangladesh, focusing on the organisation of collective violence, student politics and sacrifice as part of party-political violence. While the work in Bangladesh is continuing, he has recently started a research line on the political economy of sand commodity chains and has again taken up his research interest in Maoist martyrdom.

New Publication: Mujib’s Two Bodies: Memorial Populism in Bangladesh

Chapter is published in the edited volume Claiming the People's Past: Populist Politics of History in the Twenty-First Century,

Book Launch: Performing Sovereign Aspirations with Bart Klem

It adopts a performative perspective to understand the institutional landscape around the Tamil separatist conflict during and after the Sri Lanka civil war.

Call for Papers: Armed archives

This workshop aims to provide a space for discussion among scholars who study archives of non-state armed actors in order to contribute to the ongoing wider debate on the ‘archival turn’ in conflict studies.

New Special Issue: Locating sand

This special issue in the Extractive Industries and Society organised together with Melissa Marschke and Jean-François Rousseau aims to provide a jumping-off point towards both empirically and conceptually sophisticated work on sand.

Vacancy job student: CRG Support Staff (temporary, part-time (20%))

The Conflict Research Group is looking for a new job student to run our online presence and help with research group logistics.

CRG Book launches: Conflict minerals, inc. by Christoph Vogel

A conversation between CRG author Christoph Vogel and Jeroen Cuvelier on Christoph's new book on conflict minerals in which he analyses why the campaign against ‘unethical’ mining went awry, and radically disrupted eastern Congo’s political economy.

CRG Book launches: Rebellious Riots by Sam Kniknie & Karen Büscher

Karen Büscher (CRG) and Sam Kniknie (CRG in conversation with Emma Elfversson (Uppsala University) & Kieran Mitton (King's College)

CRG Book launches: The political economy of civil war and UN peace operation by Mats Berdal & Jake Sherman

Natalie Domaas (CRG) discusses with Mats Berdal (King's College) the operational and political challenges facing UN operations in relation to the complex political economies of conflict.

CRG Book launches: Tales of the Post-Plantation by Robin Thiers

Patricio Abinales (UH-Manoa) and Jeroen Adam (CRG) discuss the intriguing tale of 'people, plants, and pathogens' encountered in the exploration of Philippine banana plantations.

New Publication: Sand urbanism in Bangladesh: Transitions of sand extraction and trade in Dhaka-Narayanganj

Sand is shaping and has shaped urban development in many parts of the world. Developing the concept of sand urbanism, this paper aims to understand the recursive constitution of sand extraction and urbanity.

Current research projects:

The political economy of river sand mining in South Asia: A commodity chain approach

South Asia's riverbeds are a primary site of conflict between the need for development and environmental protection.

The political economy and governance of river sand commodity chains in Ethiopia

This research, outreach and networking project aims to better understand the political economy and governance of river sand commodity chains in Ethiopia to put the topic on the agenda of policy makers and civil society in Ethiopia.

The moral politics of violent death in Bangladesh

This project wants to understand how rebel groups and societies deal with violent death as a part of civil strife.

Martyrdom and propaganda ontologies in Maoist India

In writings produced by the Naxalite Maoist movement in India, martyrdom features extensively.

Dataset on political violence in Bangladesh

This project starts from a new dataset on political violence in Bangladesh. Based on four newspapers (one English, three Bengali) the project aims to map political violence in Bangladesh from 1991 to the present.

Publications: