Critical War Studies
Speaker: Tarak BARKAWI, London School of Economics and Political Science
Friday March 10th 2017 - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Université libre de Bruxelles - Campus du Solbosch
IEE - Avenue F. D. Roosevelt 39, 1050 Bruxelles - Geremek Room
Registration required here
Abstract: War transforms the social and political orders in which we live, just as it obliterates our precious certainties. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the fate of truths offered about war itself. War regularly undermines expectations, strategies and theories, and along with them the credibility of those in public life and the academy presumed to speak with authority about it. One reason for this is the frequently narrow and impoverished intellectual resources that dominate the study of war. Critical War Studies begins with the recognition that this unsettling character of war is a profound opportunity for scholarship. For it is precisely in war’s disordering and unsettling of politics and identities that the socially and historically generative powers of war are exposed. In bending, stretching and even breaking institutions and societies, war reveals them to us anew and offers perspectives obscured in times of peace. At the same time, these disruptions shape and inform the course and character of war. This violent but fecund juncture between war, society and politics is where Critical War Studies locates itself.
Tarak Barkawi is Reader in the Department of International Relations, London School of Economics. He earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota and specialises in the study of war, armed forces and society with a focus on conflict between the West and the global South. He is author of Globalization and War, Soldiers of Empire, and many scholarly articles.