January 2023 Monthly Digest - First digest of 2023

The 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


Hinge Points

An Inside Look at North Korea's Nuclear Program

Siegfried S. Hecker, with Elliot A. Serbin


North Korea remains a puzzle to Americans. How did this country—one of the most isolated in the world and in the policy cross hairs of every U.S. administration during the past 30 years—progress from zero nuclear weapons in 2001 to a threatening arsenal of perhaps 50 such weapons in 2021?

Hinge Points brings readers literally inside the North Korean nuclear program, joining Siegfried Hecker to see what he saw and hear what he heard in his visits to North Korea from 2004 to 2010. Hecker goes beyond the technical details—described in plain English from his on-the-ground experience at the North's nuclear center at Yongbyon—to put the nuclear program exactly where it belongs, in the context of decades of fateful foreign policy decisions in Pyongyang and Washington.

Describing these decisions as "hinge points," he traces the consequences of opportunities missed by both sides.The result has been that successive U.S. administrations have been unable to prevent the North, with the weakest of hands, from becoming one of only three countries in the world that might target the United States with nuclear weapons. Hecker's unique ability to marry the technical with the diplomatic is well informed by his interactions with North Korean and U.S. officials over many years, while his years of working with Russian, Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani nuclear officials have given him an unmatched breadth of experience from which to view and interpret the thinking and perspective of the North Koreans.

In the Crossfire of History

Women's War Resistance Discourse in the Global South

Edited by Lava Asaad, Fayeza Hasanat

Contributions by Farzana Akhter, Lava Asaad, Margaret Hageman, Nyla Khan, Shafinur Nahar, Doaa Omran, Carolyn Ownbey, Moumin Quazi, Lucia Garcia-Santana, Stefanie Sevcik, Matthew Spencer

In the global south, women have and continue to resist multiple forms of structural violence. The atrocities committed against Yazidi women by ISIS have been recognized internationally, and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Nadia Murad in 2018 was a tribute to honor women whose bodies have been battered in the name of race, nationality, war, and religion. In the Crossfire of History:Women's War Resistance Discourse in the Global South is an edited collection that incorporates literary works, testimonies, autobiographies, women’s resistance movements, and films that add to the conversation on the resilience of women in the global south. The collection focuses on Palestine, Kashmir, Syria, Kurdistan, Congo, Argentina, Central America, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. The essays question historical accuracy and politics of representation that usually undermine women’s role during conflict, and they reevaluate how women participated, challenged, sacrificed, and vehemently opposed war discourses that erase women’s role in shaping resistance movements.

The transformative mode of these examples expands the definition of heroism and defiance. To prevent these types of heroism from slipping into the abyss of history, this collection brings forth and celebrates women’s fortitude in conflict zones. In the Crossfire of History shines a light on women across the globe who are resisting the sociopolitical and economic injustices in their nation-states.

Shadow Negotiators

How UN Organizations Shape the Rules of World Trade for Food Security

Matias E. Margulis


Shadow Negotiators is the first book to demonstrate that United Nations (UN) organizations have intervened to influence the discourse, agenda, and outcomes of international trade lawmaking at the World Trade Organization (WTO). While UN organizations lack a seat at the bargaining table at the WTO, Matias E. Margulis argues that these organizations have acted as "shadow negotiators" engaged in political actions intended to alter the trajectory and results of multilateral trade negotiations. He draws on analysis of one of the most contested issues in global trade politics, agricultural trade liberalization, to demonstrate interventions by four different UN organizations—the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (SRRTF).

By identifying several novel intervention strategies used by UN actors to shape the rules of global trade, this book shows that UN organizations chose to intervene in trade lawmaking not out of competition with the WTO or ideological resistance to trade liberalization, but out of concerns that specific trade rules could have negative consequences for world food security—an outcome these organizations viewed as undermining their social purpose to reduce world hunger and protect the human right to food.

Journal Articles / Papers

From a Militarized to a Decarbonized Economy: A Case for Conversion

Miriam Pemberton


When the U.S. military budget decreased after the Cold War, military contractors initiated a strategy to protect their profits by more widely connecting jobs to military spending. They did this by spreading their subcontracting chains across the United States and creating an entrenched war economy. Perhaps the most infamous example: Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet, which is built in 45 states.

While that strategy further entrenched military spending as a priority for U.S. lawmakers by connecting jobs in more congressional districts to military spending increases, these jobs don’t always bring widely-shared prosperity: Of the 20 states with economies most dependent on military manufacturing, 14 experience poverty at similar or higher rates than the national average.

Looking at two case studies, HybriDrive and CALSTART, the paper illustrates how the military can redirect its weapons and technological production capacity towards civilian uses and decarbonize the U.S. economy, given the right policy environment. The report makes clear that significant military spending cuts must be made and those funds must be redirected to green civilian industrial activities in order to transition from a militarized to a decarbonized economy.

The technopolitics of security: Agency, temporality, sovereignty

Frank I Müller and Matthew Aaron Richmond


This introduction to the special issue on ‘the technopolitics of security’ outlines key concepts and engages debates pertaining to the relationship between techno-materiality, security governance and struggles over sovereignty. ‘Technopolitics’ refers to the strategic practice of designing and using technologies to enact political goals, producing hybrid forms of power that combine cultural, institutional and technological dimensions. These technopolitical practices give rise to new forms of agency, producing effects unintended by their designers that may alter logics of political contestation and allow technologies to be reappropriated for different political purposes. To illustrate the distributed forms of agency and contingent encounters that the technopolitics approach evokes, the article develops three key aspects of technopolitics in its relationship to security governance: (1) an understanding of agency as distributed between human and non-human actors, but also asymmetric in that human intentionality plays an assembling role that is frequently overrun by the unintended effects; (2) the temporal horizons of imagination and action over which technopolitical interventions unfold, identifying the importance of logics of anticipation and eventization; and (3) the relationship between technopolitics and sovereignty, arguing that it encourages a decentred and materialized understanding of how claims to sovereignty are made and contested.

Against the Law

By Mezna Qato, and Kareem Rabie


By organizing based on international law, the struggle for Palestinian liberation has been transformed into a question of rights. In late 2011, a tweet was posted from the Occupy Wall Street Twitter account. Written in support of the flotilla that the Israeli military had just intercepted, it read: “We support and would like to express #solidarity to #FreedomWaves #Palestine #ows.” The message was quickly deleted.

A mealy-mouthed explanation circulated: the Tweet was “unauthorized” and had not been subject to Occupy’s consensus-based decision-making structure. And it was never discussed because consensus on Israel/Palestine would have been impossible to achieve — a dispiriting fact. It’s difficult to imagine other contexts where support for activists trying to break a brutal blockade would have been so hard to muster.

Insurance technopolitics: Car theft, recovery, and tracking systems in São Paulo

Deborah Fromm


In response to high levels of car theft, insurance companies in São Paulo have developed new systems and technologies for tracking and recovering stolen vehicles. These interventions are driven by an insurance rationality that seeks to manage risk and ensure these companies’ profitability. However, this article draws on the notion of technopolitics to argue that the tracking devices and other technologies mobilized in this way also exercise their own agency. They help to mediate and reorganize the power dynamics and relations between diverse actors who operate within São Paulo’s stolen car market and vehicle recovery processes, presenting both challenges and opportunities for each as they pursue their respective aims. The notion of ‘insurance technopolitics’ emphasizes this conjunction between risk governance and the contingent, technologically mediated relationships and conflicts to which it may give rise.

Job Openings/ Fellowships

Executive Director of Orfalea Center (Academic Coordinator II)


This Academic Coordinator II position will serve as the centerpiece of an expanded Orfalea Center program of research, engagement, public education, and campus community, with the particular responsibility for transforming thematic research clusters and hubs into grant-seeking and grant-implementation bodies. This position will train and mentor the cluster faculty and students in grant seeking, grant development, and grant implementation. This role will be in charge of relationships with foundation program officers, and building partnerships with public, government, and public sector research funders.

Application Window

Open date: January 30, 2023

Next review date: Monday, Feb 13, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)

Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, Mar 31, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)

University of Chicago, Social Sciences Collegiate Division

Instructional Professor in Global Studies (Open Rank)


The Social Sciences Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago is now accepting applications for a full-time Instructional Professor (open rank) who will teach in the Global Studies Program. The appointment is renewable, with an initial term of at least two years, beginning September 1, 2023. Appointment at the rank of Assistant, Associate, and full Instructional Professor will be considered based on the candidate’s experience.

Deadline: April 19th, 2023

Pennsylvania State University

Just Transformations Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowship

Apply online at https://apptrkr.com/3698698

Deadline: March 08, 2023

The Pennsylvania State University is in its second year of a 3.1-million-dollar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its https://www.psu.edu/news/research/story/mellon-foundation-awards-31-million-broad-diversity-education-initiative/. This grant allows the University to expand existing programs and develop new initiatives focused on Black studies, racial justice, and diversifying academic communities and pipelines. The https://la.psu.edu/ seeks applications from scholars who wish to advance their research or expand their digital and public-facing scholarship. 

Up to six Postdoctoral Fellowships will be available for the 2023-24 Academic year. These are limited-term, one-year appointments from the date of hire with a possibility for renewal.

We seek applicants who have a deep and demonstrated commitment to diversity in the academy whose research also focuses on the consequences of racial inequities, barriers to racial equality, and democratic social change and transformation. Scholars from historically underrepresented racial minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


The Women’s Movement and The Challenge of Political Islam in Turkey


Please Join Security in Context and the OU Center for Peace and Development at the University of Oklahoma for "The Women's Movement and the Challenge of Political Islam in Turkey," a talk with Yeşim Arat, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

Date/Time: Wednesday, February 8, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

You can register for the Zoom webinar here: https://oklahoma.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DC8L_OJoRxy9S03q0d4-QQ

Professor Yeşim Arat was a member of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul from 1983-2022, and is a member of the Science Academy of Turkey. Professor Arat works on questions of women’s political participation, gender-based violence and problems of democratization in Turkey. She is the author of The Patriarchal Paradox: Women Politicians in Turkey (1989), Rethinking Islam and Liberal Democracy: Islamist Women in Turkish Politics (2005), Violence against Women in Turkey (2007, with Ayşe Gül Altınay), and Turkey Between Democracy and Authoritarianism (with Şevket Pamuk) (Cambridge, 2019) as well as many academic articles.

For accommodation on the basis of disability, contact stephaniesager@ou.edu

Podcast and SiC new website

SiC Podcast Episode 6: Two Years of Security in Context


What has Security in Context achieved in the past two years? And what does the future hold for the project? In this episode, we hear from some of the key people leading Security in Context’s research network, including: Omar Dahi, Project Director of Security in Context and Economics Professor at Hampshire College; Shana Marshall, Associate Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and Assistant Research Faculty member at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs; Pete Moore, Associate Professor of Politics at Case Western Reserve University; Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Firat Demir, Professor of Economics at the University of Oklahoma and co-director of University of Oklahoma's Center for Peace and Development; Rabie Nasser, economist, researcher and co-founder of the Syrian Center for Policy Research; and Fernando Brancoli, Assistant Professor of International Security and Geopolitics at the Institute of International Relations and Defense at the University of Rio de Janeiro. For more please visit www.securityincontext.com or follow us on Twitter @SecurityContext 

Created and hosted by Anita Fuentes 

Graphics by Owen Neuburger

Security in Context Website 2.0


In January 2023, SiC launched its website 2.0. Kindly visit, and let us know what you think.

Article or Event Link
Feb 8, 2023



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