Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us How to find us dr. C.M. (Caitlin) Ryan

dr. C.M. Ryan

Assistant Professor
dr. C.M. Ryan

My research stands at the intersection of International Relations and anthropology. Within International Relations, I draw theoretical insights from postcolonial and feminist approaches to security and economic development. I use methodology and tools of analysis from anthropology to apply these theoretical debates to critical empirical questions. Broadly, these empirical questions focus on political and economic dynamics in postwar contexts.

My current research agenda considers political and economic processes of postwar reform in West Africa in relation to how global involvement interacts with local politics. This is evidenced in my research on the implementation of a global agenda (the Women, Peace and Security Agenda) in the postwar states of Liberia and Sierra Leone. I further develop my theorisation of these dynamics in relation to processes of land reform and agrarian transformation. I am particularly interested in the global drivers of these processes, and the local experiences of them. For instance, my most recently completed project examined the conditions that make large-scale agribusiness investment possible, and how those investments interact with already existing relations of power in local communities.
Some of my findings from this project are published in articles and book chapters, and I am completing a monograph at this time.

In relation to this, I have spent the last 3 years in collaboration with Dr. Maria Martin de Almagro (Université de Montréal) on the gendered and racialized politics of postwar security and economics reforms. This represents a slightly wider focus of my broader research agenda.

My newest project. 'Politics of formalizing Customary Land Rights in Liberia and Sierra Leone' focuses on the global and national processes of land reform that grant women increased legal rights to own land, and the perceptions and experiences of local elites when land reform processes are implemented.

The project is broadly interested in the connections between formalization, wider  statebuilding processes (particularly those that aim to increase gender equality) and resource pressure in the context of commercialization. These questions are common in the literature on land-reform in contexts of legal pluralism, and include: What systems of governance emerge from processes of formalization, and how do they reflect both new and old authority/systems? Who participates in them and how? How might they contribute to inclusive peacebuilding and broader processes of decentralization and devolution of authority?

Broadly, this can be broken down into three focal points – the implications for social embeddedness, community belonging and inclusive resource use and decision making, the implications for institutions in systems of legal pluralism, and the role of markets and marketization in all of this. I recieved funding from the Folke Bernadotte Academy for this project.

Last modified:31 July 2020 09.37 a.m.

Contact information

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands