This conference will examine both the ways in which the nature of contemporary armed conflict is changing and the historical roots of that change. The recent American experience with insurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq has led to a new debate on the nature of contemporary conflict. Newly popular concepts such as ‘irregular warfare’, ‘asymmetric conflict’, ‘hybrid war’, ‘fourth generation warfare’ and even ‘War 2.0’ all describe a form of conflict that involves far more actors – including insurgents, criminal gangs, peacekeepers, civilians, NGOs, international organizations, foreign governments and media outlets – than does warfare as traditionally conceived. However, these issues, new as they seem, have a past. The historical American experience of ‘small wars’ provides the backdrop for current debates on counterinsurgency. We invite panels and papers that explore any aspect of the contested history of insurgency and counterinsurgency, broadly defined.
This conference considers the historical and contemporary experience of insurgency and counterinsurgency and is particularly, but not exclusively, concerned with the ways in which past experiences with insurgency and counterinsurgency are refracted through current concerns. Possible topics could include but are not limited to:
Lesson-learning and the uses of history: How do policy-makers and institutions use the experiences of the past to inform their decision-making and doctrine?
Modernization ideology and development as counterinsurgency: how have ideologies of modernization influenced counterinsurgency doctrine and practice?
Representations: how have the experiences of ‘small wars’ been represented in literature, music and film?
The New Media Landscape: how have media organizations negotiated the terrain of ‘new wars’, where traditional landmarks and narratives are absent?
Criminality and Organized Violence in Contemporary Conflict: how has the nature of organized violence changed? Does the rise of non-state actors point to a shift in how we perceive and discuss ‘war’?
Intentions and consequences: Does the nature of ‘small wars’ help explain the increasing disconnection between a government’s stated objectives at the beginning of a conflict and the actual outcomes.
Professor Hew Strachan, Oxford University
Hew Strachan is Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford, Fellow of All Souls College, and Director of the Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2003 and awarded an Hon. D.Univ., (Paisley) 2005. He is also Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he was successively Research Fellow, Admissions Tutor and Senior Tutor, 1975-92. From 1992 to 2001 he was Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and from 1996 to 2001 Director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies.
His books include: European Armies and the Conduct of War (1983), Wellington’s Legacy: the Reform of the British Army 1830-54 (1984), From Waterloo to Balaclava: Tactics, Technology and the British Army 1815-1854 (1985); (awarded the Templer Medal), The Politics of the British Army (1997); (awarded the Westminster Medal), the first volume of his three-volume, The First World War (To Arms), (2001); (awarded two American military history prizes and nominated for the Glenfiddich Scottish book of the year), and The First World War: A New Illustrated History (2003); published to accompany the 10-part Wark Clements television series for Channel 4, (nominated for a British Book Award and translated into German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and French). He is joint editor of the journal, War in History, and was editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (1998) and The British Army, Manpower and Society into the 21st Century (2000).
Professor Mark Grimsley, The Ohio State University
Professor Grimsley received an MA in War Studies from Kings College London in 1985 and a PhD in History from The Ohio State University in 1992. He teaches American military history with an emphasis on the Civil War.
He is the author of The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865 (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1995), which won the Lincoln Prize.
He co-authored Warfare in the Western World, the military history textbook in use at the U.S. Military Academy. Other works include Civilians in the Path of War (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002) (with Clifford J. Rogers); The Collapse of the Confederacy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001) (with Brooks D. Simpson); And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999) (with Brooks D. Simpson), and Shiloh: A Battlefield Guide (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006) (with Steven E. Woodworth). He is currently writing a book on the connections between the 1864 military and political campaigns for the "Pivotal Moments in American History" series, published by Oxford University Press.
He also maintains WarHistorian.org, a web site focusing on military history and national security affairs. Blog Them Out of the Stone Age, a blog associated with the site, received the 2005 Cliopatria Award for Best Individual Blog.
In 1994 the OSU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta gave him its Clio Award for Distinguished Teaching in History. He also received the Ben Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching from the College of Humanities in 1997 and Ohio State's Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999.
From July 2008 through June 2010, Prof. Grimsley served as a visiting professor at the U.S. Army War College, where he held the Harold Keith Johnson Chair of Military History. At the conclusion of his tenure he received the Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award.
We invite single paper and panel proposals for this conference. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
Name, contact details and academic affiliation
200-300 word abstract
Brief CV or biographical statement
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 11 April 2011
For queries or further information contact:
Dr. David Fitzgerald
Clinton Institute for American Studies
Dr. David Fitzgerald
Clinton Institute for American Studies
University College Dublin
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