Skip to main content

2024 Rothschild Prize

Joldon Kutmanaliev, Intercommunal Warfare and Ethnic Peacemaking (McGill/Queen’s University Press, 2023)

Joldon Kutmanaliev’s remarkable work, Intercommunal Warfare and Ethnic Peacemaking, provide a detailed micro-analysis of communal violence and armed conflicts within urban settings, with an eye towards prevention of future violence. Through extensive fieldwork conducted in the cities of southern Kyrgyzstan, Kutmanaliev is able to shed light on the complexities that underlie episodes of violent ethnic conflict. He focuses on the clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in Osh in June 2010, the most significant case of ethnic violence in Central Asia since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

With keen insight, Kutmanaliev describes variations in violence across different neighborhoods, explaining why some communities were affected while others remained untouched. His exploration extends to understanding the diverse reactions of local communities facing similar existential threats, navigating through deteriorating security conditions, and grappling with interethnic tensions. While his argument begins with the important role played by intragroup policing and pacts of non-aggression across groups, he goes on to explore how urban planning and landscapes can play pivotal roles in either mitigating or exacerbating the spread of violence. This spatial component in particular moves the discussion beyond existing theories that describe the causes of interethnic violence and the reasons for its avoidance.

Crucially, Kutmanaliev’s work doesn’t just identify challenges; it also celebrates the resilience and ingenuity of local communities and their leaders. By pinpointing key factors that facilitate the negotiation of non-aggression pacts and empower local constituencies, Kutmanaliev describes the means by which local actors can take steps to prevent future outbreaks of ethnic violence. Intercommunal Warfare and Ethnic Peacemaking makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of conflict resolution and peacebuilding at the grassroots level.

The committee also awards an Honorable Mention to Denisa Kostovicova, Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk About War Crimes (Cornell University Press, 2023).

The winner of the 2024 Rothschild Prize was chosen by the following scholars:
Dmitry Gorenburg, Harvard University; Committee Chair
• Krista Goff, University of Miami
Florian Bieber, University of Graz
• John Paul Newman, National University of Ireland Maynooth