Workshop Rationale: The past quarter century witnessed the primary terrain of global security shift from the international to the intra- and trans-national. Post-Cold War, mass violence has become development in reverse — the unmaking of sovereignties, economies and societies. Contemporary mass violence not only poses a direct challenge to the spread of democratic norms, it also calls into question the ability of states and international organizations to use effective military force to uphold humanitarian norms, defeat irregular armies and rehabilitate collapsed governments. Mass violence also challenges social science; scholars have struggled to keep pace with new dynamics and patterns of armed conflict that appear to defy and transgress existing conceptual schema and traditional levels of analysis.
Though understandings of late warfare have been deeply affected by the international milieu of the 1990s, the global scene has undergone immense changes during the past decade. These changes have yet to be fully appreciated when it comes to the study of mass armed violence, particularly:
• the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent “war on terror”
• the refinement and attempted codification of the principles and practices of humanitarian intervention under the rubric of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine; and
• the ensemble of global forces converging into a potentially nonlinear and catastrophic environmental breakdown, bringing with it unknowable social, political and economic ramifications
With these changes in mind, this workshop seeks to accomplish three aims. The first goal is to offer a critical evaluation of the state of the study of armed conflict, particularly after a decade of intensive research within competing paradigms (e.g., New Wars vs Greed/Grievance). The second goal is to assess this literature within these new and changing international contexts, one markedly different from the immediate post-Cold War reality that gave birth to the recent renaissance in the study of “civil wars.” Third, the implications for democratic governance and the efficacy of military interventions will be assessed, particularly for those states most tasked with these responsibilities.
This workshop intends to bring together eight to ten scholars who are examining these issues in various geographical contexts and from various theoretical perspectives. An important aspect of our work will be an intense engagement with each participant’s text. Minimal time will be given to paper presentations. Instead, the majority of the workshop will be devoted to discussions of each paper so that we can begin the process of constellating our collective work. Submissions will be circulated a month before the workshop so that every participant will have time to become intimately familiar with all the other submissions. Additionally, each participant will be assigned the task of discussant for another participant’s text. The workshop committee will also give substantive feedback on each participant’s submission. While the discussants will help us focus our conversations on each text, the group will work together to find commonalities in the submissions and our conversations.
In addition to original research and analysis, we encourage the submission of unpublished papers, including works-in-progress or chapters from dissertations.
Depending on the synergy developed by the group, we will also examine (1) various strategies to disseminate the papers and (2) means of building and maintaining a network of scholars who are addressing late warfare in critical and engaged ways. Leading up to the meeting, the Workshop Chairs will explore possible avenues of publication (e.g., as an edited volume, as a special journal issue, as a new on-line forum) to put to the group.
The workshop will also feature a public session where members of the Colgate community, including faculty and students, will be able to learn about our workshop and to discuss each participant’s contribution.
Stefanie Fishel (email@example.com)
Post-doctoral research fellow, Peace and Conflict Studies
Jacob Mundy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Assistant Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies
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