Permanent Staff

Dr Helen Scanlon


BA (Hons), MA, PhD (SOAS)

Teaching Specialisations:

Comparative Transitional Justice
Post-Conflict Justice in Africa
Gender, Peace and Justice

Courses Taught:

POL3030F: Conflict in World Politics 

POL4032F/ 5040F Comparative Transitional Justice

POL4056F /POL5056F Gender, Peace & Justice

POL4037S POL5037S Post Conflict Justice in Africa

Research Interests:

Transitional and Transformative Justice
Post-Conflict Justice in Africa
Gender and Transitional Justice
Gender and Reparations
Symbolic Reparations


Selected Publications


  • H. Scanlon, Representation and Reality: Portraits of Women’s Lives in the Western Cape 1948-76 (Cape Town: HSRC, 2007)
  • A. Adebajo and H. Scanlon (eds), A Dialogue of the Deaf: Essays on Africa and the United Nations (Johannesburg: Jacana Press, 2006)

Chapters in Books/ Reports

  • H. Scanlon, “Gender and the Politics of Reconciliation” (Cape Town: IJR, 2016)
  • H Scanlon, “Irreconcilable Truths: Gender-based Violence and the Struggle to Build an Inclusive History” in C. Villa-Viccencio (ed.) Africa North and South:  The Afro-Arab Spring and African Renaissance (UCT Press, 2015)
  • H. Scanlon, “Truth and Gender: Assessing South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in Die Grune Reihe (2013)
  • H. Scanlon, “The International Criminal Court: Powerful Tool or Paper Tiger in Advancing International Gender Justice?” in Perspectives: Political Analysis and Commentary from Southern Africa (2012)
  • H. Scanlon and B. Nhalevilo, “‘Many Truths were not Revealed’: the Case of Mozambique” in F. Olonisakin and A. Okech, Women and Security Governance in Africa (London, Fahamu Books and Pambazuka Press, 2011)
  • C. Nibigira and H. Scanlon, Gender, Peace and Security: The Challenges Facing Transitional Justice Processes in Burundi (Brussels: IFP, 2010)
  • H Scanlon and N. Motlafi, “Indigenous Justice or Political Instrument? The Gacaca of Rwanda” in S. Pillay and C. Sriram (eds), Peace versus Justice? Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and War Crimes Tribunals in Africa (UKZN Press, 2009)
  • Helen Scanlon, Cynthia Mugo, and Saida Ali, Gender and Transitional Justice In Africa: Progress and Prospects (NewYork: ICTJ, 2009)
  • S. Pillay and H. Scanlon, Peace versus Justice? Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and War Crimes Tribunals in Africa (Cape Town: CCR, 2008)

Past Supervision: Masters

2019: Robynne Botha, Ashes scattered in the wind: the Romanies as marginalised victims of racial persecution, genocide and the holocaust

2019:   Tessa Assies, The Dutch regulation for Indonesian Widows and what it reveals about the fight for postcolonial reparations

2019; Penohole Brock; Politics of reparations: unravelling power relations in the Herero/Nama Genocide reparations movements

2018: Jody Metcalfe, “What are you?” Exploring the construction of first generation mixed race youth’s identity in post-apartheid South Africa”

2018: Mamello Mosaina, “The Invention of a Nation: the Rainbow Nation Myth,”

2017: Kyla Hazell, “Immovability as the coloniality of frozen affect: Exploring ungrievability and the transformative potential of (e)motion in the Modern world system” (awarded with distinction)

2017: Leah Feiger, “Problematic Portrayals: Neo-colonial Imagery and the (mis)representations of Women in post-genocide Rwanda” (Research Masters: awarded with distinction)

2017: Mary Fawzy, “A genealogy of women’s resistance in Egypt: mapping complexities of Egyptian women’s resistance through different historical periods”

2016: Rolien Zonneveld, “Rwanda’s de-institutionalisation policy: a benevolent reform or a model of social engineering?”

2016: Heidi Mogstad. “We are not 100% free”: Narratives of continuity of change amongst women on the margins of post-apartheid South Africa” (awarded with distinction)

2015: Rebecca Smith, 'These wounds and scars have not healed': A critical gender analysis of the Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations for reparations” (awarded with distinction)

2015: Fenella Henderson-Howat, “Displaced Persons in South Sudan– Whose Responsibility to Protect?”

2014: Rutendo Hadebe, “ Home and National Belonging: Narratives of Black Zimbabwean Middle Class Women in Cape Town” (Research Masters: awarded with distinction)

2013: Ulrike Luhe, “Children, Youth and Transitional Justice in Northern Uganda (awarded with distinction)

2013: Deon Snyman, “Achieving Sustainable Peace in Worcester, South Africa”

2013: Lizzie Lacey, “It takes two hands to clap: conflict, peacebuilding and gender justice in Jonglei, South Sudan”

Contact Details

Physical Address:
5.27, Robert Leslie Building, Upper Campus)
Postal Address:
Department of Political Studies, 
University of Cape Town, 
Private Bag, 
Rondebosch 7700.
Tel.: +27 21 650 3393