Alan Keenan is Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director for the International Crisis Group, based in London. He has worked in and on Sri Lanka for Crisis Group since 2006 and has done research on conflict and human rights issues in Sri Lanka since 2000. Alan has been interviewed on Al Jazeera, BBC and Channel News Asia TV, and on BBC, CBC, NPR, ABC (Aus.) radio and has been quoted in the New York Times, Guardian, Financial Times, Le Temps (Geneva) and other international and Sri Lankan papers. His Sri Lanka commentary has appeared on CNN and Deutsche Welle websites and in Open Democracy, Inside Story, The Lowy Interpreter, The Boston Review, The Hindu, IOL group papers (South Africa), and Groundviews.
Prior to joining Crisis Group, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict and a Visiting Fellow at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo from 2000-2003. Alan also worked as a consultant for the Programme on Human Rights and Conflict at the Law and Society Trust in Colombo. From 2003-5 he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Peace and Conflict Studies at Bryn Mawr College, where he taught courses on human rights, conflict, democratization, and transitional justice. Alan has a PhD in political theory from the Johns Hopkins University and has taught political, legal, and social theory at the Universities of California at Berkeley and at Santa Cruz and at Harvard University. He is the author of Democracy in Question: Democratic Openness in a Time of Political Closure (Stanford Univ. Press, 2003), as well as articles on both political theory and on Sri Lankan politics in various academic journals and edited volumes. His academic work has focused on the activities of local and international NGOs in the context of Sri Lanka’s quarter century civil war. He is working on a manuscript entitled “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: The Politics of Human Rights and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka.”
Alan’s transitional justice-related publications include:
“The Trouble with Evenhandedness: On the Politics of Human Rights and Peace Advocacy in Sri Lanka,” in Michel Feher, ed., Non Governmental Politics (New York: Zone Books, 2007).
“Building a Democratic Middle-Ground: Professional Civil Society and the Politics of Human Rights in Sri Lanka’s Peace Process,” in Jeff Helsing and Julie Mertus, eds., Human Rights and Conflict: New Actors, Strategies and Ethical Dilemmas (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2006).
“Human Rights and Sacred Cows: Framing Violence, Disappearing Struggles,” co-authored with Vasuki Nesiah, in Neve Gordon, ed., From the Margins of Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, (New York: Lexington Books, 2004).
These and other articles can be found at: