Transitioning to a new life: Post-conflict trajectories of former combatants in South and Southeast Asia, 1945-present

Bart Luttikhuis's picture
Call for Papers
November 6, 2020 to November 7, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Military History, South Asian History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies


Call for Papers for a Workshop at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 6-7 November 2020.
Bart Luttikhuis (, in cooperation with Peter Keppy ( and Abdul Wahid (

In the study of post-conflict transitions, a leading question has been how former soldiers and non-state combatants can ‘return to society’. Former combatants have often played key roles in the political developments of their respective societies, and in cases of renewed conflict frequently were key players. In this workshop, we are interested in the various trajectories that former combatants in countries across South and Southeast Asia have charted for themselves, and the ways in which their respective governments have tried – with more or less success – to deal with the problems associated with the ‘reintegration’ of former combatants. 

From our ongoing historical research on Indonesia in the 1940s and 1950s, and from studies on Africa presented at our previous workshop in January 2020, it is clear that the scores of unemployed and socially disrupted veterans (of both the official army and unofficial militias) constituted a complicated problem. After a decade or more of continuing flare-ups of violence and ultimately unsuccessful state-led efforts at pacification and re-integration, many veterans were once again mobilized in both non-state and semi-state (armed) organization. Others became involved in political activism of various kinds. Either way, the trajectories of these people invariable had profound consequences for the political development of their respective societies.

In our workshop on 6-7 November 2020, we hope to explore comparative studies into similar processes throughout South and Southeast Asian, especially in the second half of the twentieth century. We are interested in historical studies on veterans’ movements, violent non-state actors, ‘reintegration’ policies, or post-conflict pacification. We are especially still looking for speakers working on Myanmar, Malaysia, and Vietnam, but other cases from South and Southeast Asia are equally welcome.

This workshop at UGM Yogyakarta is organized in cooperation with KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) Leiden. We have funding available to cover travel costs and accommodation (up to a reasonable maximum). If you would like to join us, please send us an abstract by 15 May 2020 and we will get in touch with you. If invited, full papers will be expected by 20 October 2020. We are working towards publishing an edited volume (for which Amsterdam University Press has expressed interest).

NB: Due to the corona-virus outbreak, UGM Yogyakarta has for the time being suspended the organization of international events. We expect this ban to be lifted before our workshop takes place, but we will monitor the situation and may still decide to postpone or relocate the workshop if needed.

Contact Info: 

Bart Luttikhuis, researcher, Leiden University

Contact Email: