The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, Pakistan, March 21-23, 2014
The impending withdrawal of the United States’ military forces from Afghanistan in 2014 follows one hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War; this centenary of continuous global conflict invites critical reflection on the place of war in modern history. Accelerated development of the means of destruction and technologies of war in the twentieth century, humanity’s most violent, has been as much a feature of modernity as material progress. This process in fact germinated with the dramatic pace and scope of industrialization and colonization in the nineteenth century.
The ensuing ‘Age of Extremes’ can be collapsed into three periods: (1) 1914-1945- that witnessed the two world wars – frequently described as ‘total wars’– unprecedented in their geographical scope and the scale of barbarity; (2) 1945-1991- the Cold War, in which proxy warfare and guerrilla insurgencies were fuelled by competing ideologies; and (3) since 1991- the era of ‘new wars’ characterized by increasingly transnational flows of combatants, ideologies, new technologies and ever-shifting perpetrators and theaters of violence, represented most dramatically by the twenty-first century’s borderless ‘War on Terror’. The modes of warfare in these three periods interacted and shaped each other in complex ways reflecting both the geopolitics and technological innovations of the twentieth century and the fruits of the preceding centuries of economic and military progress. As the locales, organizations, and technologies of war have continuously shifted and evolved, twentieth-century warfare has given new names and forms to historically familiar patterns of conflict, whilst globalizing and mechanizing war as never before.
This conference-workshop identifies war as an essential and perennial feature of modernity rather than the aberrational violation of sovereignty or the outbreak of inter-state violence. Inasmuch as war is an event, it is also a process that defines the modern world; it represents a synthesis of historical developments that disregarded sixteenth-century notions of sovereignty which had prioritized the state as a repository of authority, power, and rational collective action. Viewed over the longue durée, the roots of war are traceable to the very basis of economic and political modernization, and in developments central to our age: industrialization and economic development; imperial consolidation and anti-colonial resistance; state-formation and nationalism; ideological warfare and alliance building; revolutionary Marxism and transnational capitalism; identity politics and secessionist movements.
The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS is pleased to host this dialogue in Lahore. Professors Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago), Gopal Balakrishnan (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Dirk Moses (European University Institute) shall present keynote addresses in open plenary sessions and serve as critical commentators during the event.
We welcome abstracts on a broad range of themes relating to war, society and modernity across the long twentieth century for either panel or workshop presentation. We aim to dedicate the workshop sessions to pre-circulated papers. These papers should represent work in progress and be twenty to twenty-five pages in length. Following the event, we plan to compile the papers in an edited volume or a journal special issue.
Please send an abstract of up to five hundred words and a short bio to . The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS shall extend full hospitality – covering accommodation, meals and local transport – to participants for the duration of the conference-workshop. Participants are requested to make their own travel arrangements to Lahore, Pakistan.
Submission deadline-November 15, 2013
Notification-December 1, 2013
Submission of workshop paper-February 15, 2014
Ali Nobil Ahmad ali.nobil[at]lums.edu.pk
Laila Bushra laila[at]lums.edu.pk
Hasan H. Karrar hkarrar[at]lums.edu.pk
Waqar Zaidi waqar.zaidi[at]lums.edu.pk
Hasan H. Karrar
Lahore University of Management Sciences
Lahore, Pakistan Email: email@example.com
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