Joanna Quinn is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction at Western University. Dr. Quinn’s research considers the role of acknowledgement, or the recognition of past events, in overcoming the effects of conflict and abuse. She is interested in its potential to affect real and lasting change. She has written widely on the role of acknowledgement in truth commissions and in customary law in Uganda, Haiti, Canada, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Canada.
Her current project considers what makes people care in post-conflict societies. Quinn seeks to understand why by-standers and outsiders fail to understand what has taken place in survivor communities, and ultimately never engage in processes of acknowledgement and reconciliation in those communities. Her current project further specifies the acknowledgement hypothesis, demonstrating the importance of "thin sympathy" or a basic understanding of the needs of the other as a necessary condition for action.
Quinn was appointed to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015.