Charles’ research in the field of international relations, peace and conflict studies has four main foci:
- The changing nature of United Nations peace operations
- Reform of governance, security and justice systems in conflict-affected societies
- Monitoring and evaluation of conflict management, peacebuilding and development programming
- The Responsibility to Protect and prevention of mass atrocities
More details about each research area below.
1. The changing nature of United Nations peace operations
The first looks at the evolution of United Nations peace operations. In particular, it looks at the implications of recent trends towards a greater focus on civilian protection, more involvement in post-conflict peacebuilding and an increased willingness to use force as part of mandate implementation.
As part of this work, Dr Hunt is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Fellowship for 2017-2020. The project – ‘International Policing and Civilian Protection’ – aims to assess the evolving roles and emerging impacts of police peacekeepers, specifically as they relate to implementing protection of civilians mandates. More detail about this project here.
He is also is a Chief Investigator (along with Professor Alex Bellamy, UQ) on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant for 2016–2019 that aims to evaluate the impacts of more ‘robust’ civilian protection and stabilisation-focused missions. This project – ‘Civilian Protection and the Use of Force’ – investigates the impacts for UN peacekeeping overall as well as for myriad other actors operating in the same space such as the development and humanitarian communities. More detail about this project is available here.
Recent publications in this area include:
- Charles T. Hunt (2017) “All necessary means to what ends? The unintended consequences of the ‘robust turn’ in UN peace operations“, International Peacekeeping, 24(1): 108-131.
- Alex J. Bellamy and Charles T. Hunt (2015) “Twenty-first Century UN peace operations: protection, force and the changing security environment”, International Affairs, 91(6): 1277–1298.
2. Reform of governance, security and justice systems in conflict-affected societies
The second relates to the transformation of governance, security and justice systems as a means of building peace in conflict-affected countries and regions. More specifically, this area of work is interested in questions of everyday peace and the encounter between the global (top-down) and the local (bottom-up) during and following periods of turmoil and violent conflict.
On this topic, Charles is a Chief Investigator on a multi-year research project funded by the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade examining the empirical realities of social order in the ‘differently ordered’ states of West Africa. This project – ‘Understanding and Working with Local Sources of Peace, Security and Justice’ – aims to identify how and to what effect myriad providers of everyday safety and well-being interact and produce emergent socio-political (dis)order. More detail about this project is available here.
Publications flowing from this work include:
- Charles T. Hunt (2018) “Hybridity Revisited: Relational Approaches to Peacebuilding in Complex Sociopolitical Orders”, in Wallis, J., Kent, L., Forsyth, M., Dinnen, S. and Bose, S. eds. Hybridity on the Ground in Peacebuilding and Development: Critical Conversations (Canberra: ANU Press): 51-65.
- Charles T. Hunt (2017) “Beyond the binaries: towards a relational approach to peacebuilding“, Global Change, Peace & Security, 29(3): 209–227.
- Kwesi Aning, Anne Brown, Volker Boege and Charles T. Hunt eds. Exploring Peace Formation: Security and Justice in Post-Colonial States (Routledge, 2018)
3. Monitoring and evaluation of conflict management, peacebuilding and development programming
The third focus relates to issues of monitoring and evaluation, impact assessment and organisational learning in conflict management, peacebuilding and development contexts. This research draws on complexity theory and advocates for new epistemological thinking as well as adjustments to practical approaches to assessment in order to enhance the effectiveness of peacebuilding and development.
This work emerges from a multi-year research project funded by the Australian Federal Police developing a framework for assessing the impact of police capacity-development initiatives overseas.
On these issues, Dr Hunt is author of numerous books and articles including:
- Charles T. Hunt (2016) “Avoiding Perplexity: Complexity-oriented Monitoring and Evaluation for Peace Operations” in Brusset, E., de Coning, C., Hughes, B. eds. Complexity Thinking for Peacebuilding Practice and Evaluation (London: Palgrave), pp.79-109.
- Charles T. Hunt (2015) UN Peace Operations and International Policing: Navigating Complexity, Assessing Impact and Learning to Learn (Abingdon, Routledge).
- Bryn Hughes, Charles T. Hunt and Jodie Curth-Bibb (2013) Forging New Conventional Wisdom Beyond International Policing: Learning from Complex, Political Realities (Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff).
- Bryn Hughes, Charles T. Hunt & Boris Kondoch eds. (2010) Making Sense of Peace and Capacity-building Operations: Rethinking Policing and Beyond (Boston, Brill)
4. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
This fourth area of research is focused on the normative character and trajectory of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as well as the policy and practice dimensions of efforts to prevent mass atrocities more generally.
Recent and forthcoming publications include:
- Charles T. Hunt and Phil Orchard eds. (Forthcoming, 2019) The Responsibility to Protect: Consolidation and Contestation.
- Charles T. Hunt and Morada, N. eds. (2018) Regionalism and Human Protection: Reflections from Southeast Asia and Africa (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff)
- Charles T. Hunt (2016) “Emerging Powers and the Responsibility to Protect: Non-linear Norm Dynamics in Complex International Society”, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 29(2): 761-781.
- Charles T. Hunt (2016) “Regionalism and Human Protection Norms: An Overview in Africa”, Global Responsibility to Protect, 8(2-3): 201-226.
- Charles T. Hunt (2016) “Côte d’Ivoire” in Bellamy, A. and Dunne, T. eds. The Oxford Handbook of The Responsibility to Protect (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp.693-716.