State-Led Inquiries Workshop

On 9th September 2021, we held our virtual workshop ‘State-Led Inquiries as Political Devices: Lessons Learned and Lost from British Interventions, 1853 to the Present Day’ with fascinating contributions from Dr James Strong, Dr Max Drephal, Dr David Saunders, Leyla Belle Drake, Dr Huw Bennett, Dr Louise Kettle, Dr Glen Rangwala, Dr Alan Ingram, and Hannah Richards. We were also incredibly luckly to welcome Professor Richard Toye, Professor Martin Thomas, Dr Tom Bentley, Professor Andrew Williams, and Dr Elspeth van Veeran as discussants for our panellists.

Some of the key themes that emerged from our discussions were:

  • The political potentiality of inquiry – in its establishment, methodology, and findings
  • The role of civil society or ‘publicness’/’public opinion’ in inquiries.
  • The methods employed in and around inquiries and by inquiry personnel and how these inform the inclusion – or marginalisation – of certain voices.
  • The coloniality of the liberal state and the role of inquiries in perpetuating geopolitical power dynamics.
  • The archival afterlife of inquiries.

We are hoping to expand on these themes and issues in our special issue on public inquiries.

For those of who were unable to attend the workshop, we live-tweeted the discussion with the hashtag #WTFAworkshop from our twitter account @warning_archive: