February 2023 Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest is a resource provided by Security in Context that provides a list of recent publications, calls, conferences and other items relevant to the critical global, security, and international political economy studies audience. In addition to new items, our digest may contain relatively recent entries, so please double check dates on any calls or conferences. All descriptions taken from their original sources unless otherwise indicated. If we’ve missed something, or you have items you’d like to contribute for future digests, please email us at:  submissions@securityincontext.org


Junk Food Politics 

How Beverage and Fast Food Industries Are Reshaping Emerging Economies

By Eduardo J. Gómez


Why do sugary beverage and fast food industries thrive in the emerging world?

An interesting public health paradox has emerged in some developing nations. Despite government commitment to eradicating noncommunicable diseases and innovative prevention programs aimed at reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes, sugary beverage and fast food industries are thriving. But political leaders in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia are reluctant to introduce policies regulating the marketing and sale of their products, particularly among vulnerable groups like children and the poor. Why?

In Junk Food Politics, Eduardo J. Gómez argues that the challenge lies with the strategic politics of junk food industries in these countries. Industry leaders have succeeded in creating supportive political coalitions by, ironically, partnering with governments to promote soda taxes, food labeling, and initiatives focused on public awareness and exercise while garnering presidential support (and social popularity) through contributions to government anti-hunger and anti-poverty campaigns. These industries have also manipulated scientific research by working with academic allies while creating their own support bases among the poor through employment programs and community services. Taken together, these tactics have hampered people's ability to mobilize in support of stricter regulation for the marketing and sale of unhealthy products made by companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé.

Drawing on detailed historical case studies, Junk Food Politics proposes an alternative political science framework that emphasizes how junk food corporations restructure politics and society before agenda-setting ever takes place. This path breaking book also reveals how these global corporations further their policy influence through the creation of transnational nongovernmental organizations that support industry views.

Poverty as Subsistence 

The World Bank and Pro-Poor Land Reform in Eurasia

By Mihai Varga


Poverty as Subsistence explores the "propertizing" land reform policy that the World Bank advocated throughout the transitioning countries of Eurasia, expecting poverty reduction to result from distributing property titles over agricultural land to local (rural) populations. China's early 1980s land reform offered support for this expectation, but while the spread of propertizing reform to post-communist Eurasia created numerous "subsistence" smallholders, it failed to stimulate entrepreneurship or market-based production among the rural poor. Varga argues that the World Bank advocated a simplified version of China's land reform that ignored a key element of successful reforms: the smallholders' immediate environment, the structure of actors and institutions determining whether smallholders survive and grow in their communities. With concrete insights from analysis of the land reform program throughout post-communist Eurasia and multi-sited fieldwork in Romania and Ukraine, this book details how and why land reform led to subsistence and the mechanisms underpinning informal commercialization.

About the author

Mihai Varga is a Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at the Eastern Europe Institute, Freie Universität Berlin. He was a Max Weber Fellow in 2011-2012 and his research focuses on economic crises and their political and socioeconomic consequences.

China’s Asymmetric Statecraft

Alignments, Competitors, and Regional Diplomacy

Yuxing Huang

An astute examination of China’s foreign policy and what it means for the future of its international relationships.

China is not only a great power but, often, an opaque one. What does its regional diplomacy tell us about the country’s geopolitical position and ambitions, and what patterns does it reveal?

Building from international relations theories focused on how external threats, domestic politics, and ideology influence foreign policy, Yuxing Huang puts forward a nuanced argument. He suggests that in an environment of numerous regional competitors and alignments, China has developed a form of asymmetric statecraft toward its many weaker neighbors. In the South China Sea, it maintains a uniform strategy toward Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Whereas in South Asia, it practices selective strategies to maintain the status quo with India and to enhance Pakistan’s position.

Drawing on extensive archival sources, this perceptive interpretation of the different narratives and paradigms that constitute China’s foreign policy alerts us to the potential future of its diplomatic endeavors in a dramatically changing international environment.


The political discourse of Comunes regarding FARC-EP dissidents in Colombia

Jerónimo Ríos

Critical Studies on Security


The following paper aims to explore the political discourse of the party heir to the FARC-EP, now known as Comunes, in relation to the phenomenon of dissident groups that see themselves as continuing the legacy of the defunct guerrilla, and which have proliferated after the signing of the Peace Agreement in late 2016. Based on nine in-depth interviews with political figures who have occupied or occupy relevant positions in the current political party, we explore the issues that enable us to understand how this phenomenon has taken place. The aim is to give a voice both to the official party line and to the critical sector, which have formed a kind of political divide since January 2021. Both sides have a shared understanding of the structural and institutional aspects that have led to the emergence of these armed groups, although they differ on other aspects, in particular, regarding their position towards the armed group led by alias ‘Gentil Duarte’ and, above all, the group known as ‘Segunda Marquetalia’. Since August 2019, the latter group of dissidents has been led by alias ‘Iván Márquez’, previously the head of the FARC-EP’s negotiating delegation during the peace process.

U.S. Guns Are Fueling Violence in Central America, Here’s How to Help Stop the Arms Flow

Nate Smith 

The Forum on Arms Trade highlights an article by Nate Smith in Just Security on the flow of arms from the U.S to Central America.


"The Trump-era change in arms export control, shifting administration of semi-automatic firearms from the State Department to the Commerce Department, was justified  in part as a way for U.S. arms manufacturers to expedite their exports. It seems to be working, and now people in Central America are suffering the consequences of a regulatory framework focused on increasing exports, rather than reducing risk. In 2020, candidate Biden pledged to revert control of firearm export licenses back to the State Department, but President Biden’s administration appears to have no such plans..."

The impact of explosive weapons in Gaza The people behind the numbers

Humanity & Inclusion

The Forum on Arms Trade highlights a report from Humanity & Inclusion on the casualties and injuries from explosive weapons in Gaza. 


“...According to the available data, 2,150 Palestinian civilians were killed between 7th July 2014 and 31st December 2021; 1,840 were killed by air-launched explosives, 258 by live ammunition, 28 by surface-launched explosives, and 24 by other means. Girls below the age of 18 years’ old accounted for 10.3% of the civilians killed, women 16.2%, boys under the age of 18 years’ old 22%, and men 51.5%. During the same period, 53,372 people were injured, 2,202 by air-launched explosives, 25 by surface-launched explosives, and 51,145 people by other means in the context of demonstrations and/or conflict…”

Conferences/Calls for Papers or 

Call for Submissions to the Security in Context GlobalInsecurity online Magazine.  

Send us your proposal for articles, policy briefs, and policy papers at: submissions@securityincontext.org.

Global Insecurity is the online magazine for the Security in Context initiative. Global Insecurity draws on the expertise of SiC scholars and highlights research, interviews, and briefs from SiC research projects. Global Insecurity also publishes outside contributors and serves as a forum for analysis and debate on pressing global issues.

We will consider articles that are analytically compelling and related to a topic on global (in)security, broadly defined. This could include, but is not limited to, critical international relations and political economy; multipolarity; great power competition and the global South; race, gender, and (in)security; transnational war economies; and critical security studies.

Potential authors should send a one- to three-sentence pitch to submissions@securityincontext.org. You may also send complete articles, but pitches are preferred. We do not have the capacity to respond in detail to each submission, but a Global Insecurity editor will be in touch if your entry is accepted. Commentary pieces should be between 500 to 750 words, and analytical articles range between 1000 and 2500 words, although, in some circumstances, essays may exceed that limit. Links to reputable sources should be embedded in the text.

2023 Call For Papers “Financialization And The Global Arms Industry”

Security in Context is issuing a call for papers on the theme of “Financialization and the Global Arms Industry.” Please submit 400-word abstracts/proposals or completed papers by March 30th, 2023 to: submissions@securityincontext.org. Please use the email subject heading "Financialization & Global Arms Industry Paper Proposal." The results for accepted proposals will be announced by April 15, 2023.

We invite paper proposals from researchers, including graduate students, junior and senior scholars, working at the intersection of economic financialization and the global arms industry/militarization of production/securitization.

Proposals within this broad theme are welcome and possible topics of interest might include (but are not limited to):

  • the role of sovereign wealth funds and pension funds in the global arms industry;
  • effects of venture capital on militarization of the trajectory of tech startups;
  • the expansion of corporate venture capital within large military industrial firms;
  • the capitalization of asset streams in military industrial firms through new financial products;
  • the political economy of cross-border investments, M&As, and trade flows in the defense industry; the influence of the military-industrial complex on great power competition; the rise of new forms of war-making in the Global South;
  • theorizing the broader relationship between finance and war;
  • increasing defense industry partnerships among Global South countries, including China, Turkey, Russia and MENA countries

2023 Call For Papers “The Global South In An Era Of Great Power Competition”

We are accepting paper proposals for policy and research papers in the 2,500-3,500 word range. Please submit 400-word abstracts/proposals or completed papers by March 30th, 2023 to: submissions@securityincontext.org. The papers will be reviewed by a joint editorial committee between SIC, NUQ_IAS, and OU CPD. The final papers will be published by Security in Context as part of a special publication series on Multipolarity, Great Power Competition, and the Global South. Published papers will receive a modest honorarium. Authors of published articles will be invited to present their papers at a public international conference to be held in October 2023.Travel expenses will be covered.


None of Us Is Free Unless All Are Free: Anti-Imperialism and the Black Radical Tradition


Co-presented by the UMass Amherst W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, the Department of History, and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Date/Time: February 23, 6:00 PM Eastern

From joining with First Nations peoples to contest European settlement to protesting the annexation of foreign territory, the political struggles waged by African Americans have fostered a vibrant Black Radical Tradition consistently opposed to U.S. imperialism. Those drawing on this tradition have not only protested U.S. invasions of other nations as a matter of principle, but also highlighted the interconnections between injustices waged abroad and oppression at home. In doing so, this tradition has often served as the basis for solidarity with those struggling against U.S. imperialism, a solidarity that has helped to inform radical movements here against patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation.  

The James Baldwin Lecture addresses issues connected to social, economic, and political justice and underpinnings in institutional racism. The lecture honors the late James Baldwin, who taught at UMass for several years. It was established by and made possible with generous support from History Department alumnus Dr. Allen J. Davis ’68. This lecture is co-presented by the Department of History, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: Initial Analysis


In this short interview, SIC Project Director Omar Dahi interviews SIC co-founder Firat Demir on his initial reaction to the earthquake, focusing on the impact and consequences in Turkey.

Date/Time: February 17, 2023 

Firat Demir is a Professor of Economics at the University of Oklahoma (OK, USA). He received his B.A. from Bogazici University (Istanbul Turkey), and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame (IN, USA).  Firat is also an affiliate faculty in the Department of International and Area Studies, the Center for Peace and Development and the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma. Firat is an associate editor of the Review of Social Economy and the Journal of Economic Surveys. His main fields of research are economic development and open economy macroeconomics focusing on the issues of economic globalization, structural change, South-South trade and finance, long run development and growth, and political economy of development. Firat was a Fulbright Fellow in Montenegro in 2015-2016 and has been selected as a Fulbright Fellow in Lithuania for 2020-2021. Firat has published one co-authored book (South-South Trade and Finance in the 21st Century: Rise of the South or a Second Great Divergence), and numerous articles in journals, including World Development, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Development Studies, Development and Change, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Review of Radical Political Economics, World Economy, Journal of Economic Surveys, and Foreign Policy.

Global South Caucus of International Studies (GSCIS): Writing and Funding Research from the Global South

Scholars from the global South face unique hurdles in applying for international funding or submitting academic publications. Join IR experts to learn how these scholars can navigate grant and publication hurdles. 


February 16, 2023, 10:00 AM EST

International academic rankings for publications and research institutions are overwhelmingly led by institutions in the global North. Researchers in the global South are underrepresented in many of these international funding institutions and academic journals of notoriety. In their own institutions, these scholars are increasingly expected to publish in top funding institutions and academic journals, which is itself an added hurdle for their career development given the difficulty from their positionality to access these platforms. This panel gathers experts with career experience in the global South and who witnessed these hurdles and who have collected tips and techniques to overcome some of them. We will touch upon four dimensions of career development: 1) participation in research workshops (Andrew); 2) grant applications (Cyril); 3) article writing (Samer); 4) turning a PhD dissertation into a book (Z).

Job Openings/Fellowships

The Security Policy Studies (SPS) Program of George Washington University invites applications for a Visiting Assistant Professor beginning June 2023.

Review of applications will begin on March 27, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled. Only complete applications will be considered.


The Security Policy Studies (SPS) Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C invites applications for the position of Visiting Assistant Professor of Security Policy Studies beginning June 2023. SPS is a policy-oriented master’s degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on 21st century security challenges and how to respond to them. Students enroll in one of our 4 concentrations: U.S. national security, transnational security, conflict resolution, and science and technology. Students take cornerstone courses in international security and security policy analysis, and other foundational courses in their field of concentration in small classes with cohort faculty members in spring, fall, and summer semesters.

The SPS Program has approximately 240 students. The finalist will teach classes serving the SPS curriculum and will report to the SPS Program Director and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Elliott School. They will work to integrate co-curricular offerings and activities to enhance the academic experiences of all SPS students. The Visiting Assistant Professor will also have program-focused service responsibilities in the role, as instructor, academic mentor, and advisor to students in the SPS Program, helping students navigate their graduate experience from the first year and beyond. They will also participate in SPS information sessions for prospective students and participate in other campus-related events.

The successful candidate will be expected to teach graduate courses in science and technology, transnational security, economic security (with a focus on trade wars, sanctions and embargoes), or security studies related matters.  We welcome applicants familiar with non-conventional security studies, including cybersecurity, climate security, transnational security in the Global South, cryptocurrencies and organized crime, and other emerging topics.

This is a term-limited, nonrenewable appointment of 12 months, from June 1, 2023 – May 31, 2024.

Michigan State University Research Associate - Fixed Term

Review of applications will begin March 17, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled. 


As part of the Mellon funded project, “Diaspora Solidarities Lab”, the College of Arts & Letters announces a new postdoctoral or post-MFA fellowship in the Arts & Humanities. This is a search for an interdisciplinary scholar to fill a 12-month, full-year postdoctoral position (research associate) in the Department of English with the opportunity to begin a tenure-system assistant professorship in one of the departments within the College of Arts & Letters the following year. The goal of the Diaspora Solidarities Lab [co-directed by Yomaira Figueroa (MSU) and Jessica Marie Johnson (JHU)] is to foment work in Black and Ethnic Studies digital humanities, transdisciplinary studies, and community collaboration. The ideal candidate will pursue research and/or creative activities, teach a 0-1 course load, and engage in the intellectual life of the “Diaspora Solidarities Lab” and within the College of Arts & Letters. They will be supported by a network of mentors who help them embark on an academic career and chart their pathway to intellectual leadership by way of sharing knowledge, expanding opportunities, and mentorship and stewardship. The successful candidate may also participate in college-cohort programming organized by a Mentoring Team that includes presenting in an inter-departmental colloquium series and opportunities for faculty development.


To be eligible, applicants must have completed their PhD, MFA, or equivalent during or after the 2018-2019 academic year and prior to the start date. The one year fixed-term Research Associate position will begin on August 16, 2023. The appointment will be made to the applicant who shows promise for a tenure-track position in Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters in the 2024-2025 academic year in accordance with MSU academic hiring process. Transitioning into a tenure-track faculty position at Michigan State University will require a series of structured, merit-based evaluations, which will include substantial peer input. MSU’s academic hiring process will be followed in appointing the candidate that advances into the tenure-track.


FLOW PODCAST EPISODE 3 - The Ramifications of the Earthquake in a War-Torn Country: Failure of the International Humanitarian System (13 February)

The Ramifications of the Earthquake in a War-Torn Country: Failure of the International Humanitarian System 

With Rabie Nasser, Katty Alhayek, Basileus Zeno, Omar Dahi, Lisa Wedeen

In conversation with Bassam Haddad


Monday, 13 February 2023 1:00 PM EST

On this episode of the Flow Podcast, host Bassam Haddad will speak with guests Rabie Nasser, Katty Elhayek, Basileus Zeno, Omar Dahi, and Lisa Wedeen about the unfolding calamity in Syria. Speakers will address the failure of the relief and rescue efforts in the wake of the earthquake that shook the country on 6 February, starting with the Syrian regime and ending with the international humanitarian system.

Article or Event Link
Mar 15, 2023



Join Our Newsletter and Get the Latest
Posts to Your Inbox

No spam ever. Read our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.