Book launch ‘Research Handbook on Child Soldiers’ 25 September

The Center for International Criminal Justice (CICJ) cordially invites you to the book launch of the Research Handbook on Child Soldiers edited by Mark A. Drumbl and Jastine Barrett on 25 September at VU University Amsterdam from 11:00-12:45 hrs.

Come join us for a celebratory launch and panel discussion for this new book, published by Edward Elgar press in August 2019.

Although child soldiers have received considerable media and policy attention, they remain poorly understood and inadequately protected. This Research Handbook addresses this troubling gap by offering a reflective and nuanced review of the complex issue of child soldiering.

This book showcases diverse experiences and unique perspectives. It unpacks the life-cycle of youth and militarization: from recruitment, to demobilization, and return to civilian life. Challenging prevailing assumptions and conceptions, this uplifting Research Handbook focuses on the capacities of child soldiers to cope with adversity. In so doing, this book emphasizes the resilience, humanity and potential of children affected – rather than ‘afflicted’ – by armed conflict. Along the way it invokes many facets and angles, including the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ethnographic method, critical feminist theory, post-colonial insights, and the power of literary narratives.

The Research Handbook on Child Soldiers will be of interest to academics, practitioners and activists alike, with its extensive incorporation of cutting-edge fieldwork and the voices of the children themselves. Promoting equity between generations, this Research Handbook will also appeal to individuals from many walks of life who are concerned with the rights of the child in times of conflict, peace and the in-between.

Over two dozen experts from six continents have contributed to this broad interdisciplinary project.

A full invitation can be found here. More information on the book can be found in the webshop and on the online content platform of the publisher.

WHEN: 11.00-12.45, Wednesday 25 September, 2019

WHERE: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, Main building, 11th floor, room HG 11A 24

Mark A. Drumbl (Washigton & Lee University, USA)
Karl Hanson (University of Geneva, Centre for Children’s Rights Studies, Switzerland)
Thijs B. Bouwknegt (NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam)
Barbora Hola (CICJ, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Maarten Bolhuis (CICJ, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


‘The Research Handbook on Child Soldiers is well balanced, and is less on abstractions and philosophizing, and more on offering erudite principle based solutions in respect of our efforts to conceptualise and understand child soldiers across disciplinary and professional divides. True to form, it also charts the way forward as the international community grapples with the ever changing nature of conflict. This book is not so much an idea whose time has come as it is an idea whose time is long overdue in coming.’

– Benyam Mezmur, University of the Western Cape, South Africa, former Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2015-2017)

‘For this Research Handbook, Jastine Barrett and Mark Drumbl have assembled an array of scholars, drawn from six continents, with expertise in multiple fields of law, humanities, and social sciences. Their writings deploy methodologies as varied as empirical study and doctrinal analysis in order to examine situations of armed conflict and other systemic violence, across a temporal spectrum of past, present, and future. Together, these contributions place this exciting volume at the vanguard of scholarship on child soldiers.’

– Diane Marie Amann, University of Georgia, School of Law, US, Special Advisor to the ICC OTP on Children in Armed Conflict

‘This Research Handbook of vivid research on child soldiers memorably exposes how some youth engaged in armed conflicts forget they are still children. Contributors bring rich expertise in law, sociology, ethnography, social work, psychology, political science, criminology, medical anthropology, and literary analysis to the cultural and political contexts for recruiting minors by armed groups and by national military organizations. Beyond dominant images of child soldiers as either merely passive victims or as violent terrors, the authors point toward legal and cultural reforms while cautioning against doing further harm.’

– Martha Minow, former Dean and 300th Anniversary University Professor of Law, Harvard University, US