Critical War Studies: emerging field, developing agendas

One day workshop, 11 September 2013, University of Sussex


What is left out when critical reflection on armed conflict is conducted under the sign of ‘security’? What are the forms of contemporary militarism? How can the discourses and practices of fighting, transition to ‘peace’, war preparation and military and strategic thought be engaged reflexively? How might militaries be understood as sites of subaltern labour, resistance and critique? How can attentiveness to experiences of war generate critical resources within international relations, sociology, geography, anthropology, history and other disciplines?


Multi-disciplinary proposals are invited for a one-day workshop convened by the University of Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research. The organisers welcome contributions engaging the idea of Critical War Studies, the themes outlined above and below, or suggesting other appropriate topics. It is envisaged that this will be the first of several events leading to opportunities for peer-reviewed publication.


Draft workshop structure:


Panel 1: What is ‘Critical War Studies’?

 What’s in a name? ‘War’, ‘security’ and the analytical status of fighting

 Critical approaches within strategic theory: who is strategy ‘for’?

 Theory and the experience of war

 War in/and society


Panel 2: Political Sociologies of fighting

 Technologies, transformations of war, transformations of self

 Subaltern military labour and military history in Europe and beyond

 Battle narrative and identity

 Gendering war

 ‘Normality’ and ‘extremity’ in fighting and dying


Panel 3: Contemporary militarisms, contemporary militaries

 Ideology contra experience: reflections on the policy/ practice disconnect in the war on terror

 Beyond the strategic studies/ peace studies divide: continuity and change in militarism after the Cold War

 The social construction of weapons

 Military orientalisms and the representation of violence


Deadline for proposals: June 7th


Queries should be directed to: Joanna Wood

01273 876615

More details can be found here:    



Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research

Department of International Relations

University of Sussex

Falmer, Brighton


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