Dr Denisa  Kostovicova

Dr Denisa Kostovicova

Associate Professor in Global Politics and Director of LSEE Research on South Eastern Europe

European Institute

+44 (0)207 955 6916
Room No
Office Hours
By appointment via Student Hub
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Albanian, Arabic, Czech, English, German, Serbian, Slovakian
Key Expertise
Transitional Justice, Conflict Processes, Post-conflict Reconstruction

About me

Denisa Kostovicova is a leading scholar of post-conflict reconstruction with a particular interest in post-conflict justice processes. She is the author of Kosovo: The Politics of Identity and Space (Routledge, 2005) and Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk about War Crimes (Cornell University Press, forthcoming), and co-editor of a number edited volumes, including Transnationalism in the Balkans (Routledge, 2008), Persistent State Weakness in the Global Age (Ashgate 2009), Bottom up Politics: An Agency-Centred Approach to Globalisation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Civil Society and Transitions in the Western Balkans (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After Conflict (Routlege, 2018). Her work, which has also been published in top political science and international relations journals, has informed policy-making at the EU, UN and in the UK. Dr Kostovicova’s research was funded by a number of prestigious grants, including those by the Leverhulme Trust, MacArthur Foundation and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), among others. She is currently directing a major research programme funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant, “Justice Interactions and Peacebuilding: From Static to Dynamic Discourses Across National, Ethnic, Gender and Age Groups.” She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining LSE, she held junior research fellowships at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.  

Expertise Details

Transitional Justice; Conflict Processes; Civil Society; Post-conflict Reconstruction; Balkans

Selected Recent Publications


Denisa Kostovicova, Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk About War Crimes (Cornell University Press, forthcoming)

James Hughes and Denisa Kostovicova (eds.), Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After Conflict (Routledge, 2018)



Denisa Kostovicova et al., “The ‘Digital Turn’ in Transitional Justice Research: Evaluating Image and Text as Data in the Western Balkans,” Comparative South East European Studies, 70(1) 2022: 24-46.

Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Denisa Kostovicova and Ahmet K. Suerdem, “Persistence of Informal Networks and Liberal Peace-building: Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Journal of International Relations and Development 25 2022: 182-209.

Denisa Kostovicova and Eleanor Knott, “Harm, Change and Unpredictability: The Ethics of Interviews in Conflict Research,” Qualitative Research 22(1) 2022: 56-73.

Denisa Kostovicova and Tom Paskhalis, “Gender, Justice and Deliberation: Why Women Don’t Influence Peace-Making,” International Studies Quarterly, 65(2) 2021: 263-276.

Vjollca Krasniqi, Ivor Sokolic and Denisa Kostovicova, “Skirts as Flags: Transitional Justice, Gender and Everyday Nationalism in Kosovo,” Nations and Nationalism, 26(2) 2020: 461-476.

Denisa Kostovicova, Ivor Sokolic and Orli Fridman, “Introduction: Below Peace Agreements: Everyday Nationalism or Everyday Peace?”, Nations and Nationalism 26(2) 2020: 424-430.

Denisa Kostovicova, Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic and Marsha Henry, “Drawing on the Continuum: A War and Post-war Political Economy of Gender-based Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 22(2) 2020: 250-272.

Denisa Kostovicova, “Transitional Justice and Conflict Studies: Disconnects and Implications,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4(2) 2019: 273–278.

Denisa Kostovicova and Aude Bicquelet, “Norm Contestation and Reconciliation: Evidence from a Regional Transitional Justice Process in the Balkans,” Ethnic and Racial Studies41(4) 2017: 681-700.

Denisa Kostovicova, “Seeking Justice in a Divided Region: Text Analysis of a Regional Civil Society Initiative in the Balkans,” International Journal of Transitional Justice, 11(1) 2017: 154–175.

Current Projects

Since 2018, Dr Kostovicova has been leading a 5-year project funded by the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant entitled ‘Justice Interactions and Peacebuilding: From Static to Dynamic Discourses across National, Ethnic, Gender and Age Groups (JUSTINT)’. To learn about the project visit: http://www.lse.ac.uk/european-institute/research/justint. In 2015, she was awarded a Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust to investigate ‘Reconciliation Within and Across Divided Societies: Evidence from the Balkans’. She has recently completed research collaboration with King’s College London and University of the Arts London, on the project ‘Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community,’ funded through the Large Grant scheme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Conflict Theme of the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS) and through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) (2016-2019), to learn about the project see: artreconciliation.org. In 2017-2018, Denisa co-ordinated together with Dr Marsha Henry from the LSE’s Department of Gender Studies, the Bosnia and Herzegovina work-package of the ESRC Strategic Network on Gender Violence Across War and Peace, based at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security.

Previously, Dr Kostovicova’s research was supported by a number of grants, including from the MacArthur Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation, the EU's 7th Framework Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). She has also collaborated on numerous international research projects, such as the European Study Group on Europe's Security Capabilities, convened by Professor Mary Kaldor at the invitation of Javier Solana, former EU Foreign Policy Chief (2004-2008, reconvened in 2016); Friedrich Ebert Stiftung-funded project on local ownership ‘Exiting Conflict, Owning the Peace’; and was a member of an international team appointed by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, Braunschweig, Germany, to assess Kosovo Albanians history textbooks on behalf of the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Education Ministry in Kosovo.

Teaching Responsibilities

Dr Kostovicova convenes a specialist course on Globalisation, conflict and post-conflict reconstruction (EU4A2) and Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in Europe and Beyond (EU485). She has also taught courses on comparative conflict analysis, global politics and global civil society. Before joining LSE, she had contributed teaching at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. From 2014-2018, Dr Kostovicova convened MSc Conflict Studies in the Department of Government. She is the Programme Director of MSc Culture and Conflict in Global Europe, 2019-2020. She was awarded the Major Review Teaching Prize, and was a nominee for the LSESU’s Student-Led Teaching Excellence prize twice. Her PhD students have worked on different aspects of conflict, transitional justice, and post-conflict reconstruction on a range of case-studies, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, Israel-Palestine, Crimea and Moldova.

Public Policy and Public Engagement

Dr Kostovicova maintains a keen interest in policy implications of her research on post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation, and regularly engages in knowledge exchange with policy makers in the EU, the UK and the Balkans. Most recently, she has contributed to the House of Lords International Relations Committee Inquiry report ‘The UK and the future of the Western Balkans’ and the House of Commons Balkans Inquiry. She has written policy papers and reports for the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme. She authored many policy analysis pieces published by Oxford Analytica, Chaillot Papers, Strategic Comment (Institute of Strategic Studies), openDemocracy, Warreport, Transitions on-line, Development & Transition, etc. She has contributed comment for the UK and international media, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Observer, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, Associated Press, Public Radio International (US), and others. Also, she regularly blogs for LSE’s Department of Government blog and EUROPP.


Education and Professional Experience

Dr Kostovicova graduated from the University of Maine, U.S., and has a PhD and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and an MA from the Central European University, Czech Republic. Before joining the LSE, she held Junior Research Fellowships at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and Linacre College, Oxford. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, she worked as a journalist during the wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution in 1990s, reporting for the CNN World Report and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others.

Video and Audio

What we should have known (TEDx talk - TEDxLSE, March 2017)

Women in Conflict: violence, injustice and power (LSE Government 'Conflict Research Group' public lecture, April 2015)