The Monthly Digest is a new 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:


OilCraft: The Myths of Scarcity and Security That Haunt US Foreign Policy,Bob Vitalis, Stanford University Press, 2020

Robert Vitalis challenges the conventional wisdom that US military presence in the Persian Gulf belies its strategic access to oil and that this presence stabilizes the volatile oil markets. Vitalis argues that this orthodoxy provides enormous leverage for the US over other regions of the world and that therefore debunking such assumptions have significant implications for the geopolitics of the United States. 

Savage Ecology,Jairus Grove Duke University Press, 2019.

“In Savage Ecology, Jairus Victor Grove offers an ecological theory of geopolitics that argues contemporary global crises are better understood when considered within the larger history of international politics. Infusing international relations with the theoretical interventions of fields ranging from new materialism to political theory, Grove shows how political violence is the principal force behind climate change, mass extinction, slavery, genocide, extractive capitalism, and other catastrophes.” - Duke University Press

Worldmaking After Empire,Adom Getachew, Princeton University Press, 2019

“Decolonization revolutionized the international order during the twentieth century. Yet standard histories that present the end of colonialism as an inevitable transition from a world of empires to one of nations—a world in which self-determination was synonymous with nation-building—obscure just how radical this change was. Drawing on the political thought of anticolonial intellectuals and statesmen, this important new account of decolonization reveals the full extent of their unprecedented ambition to remake not only nations but the world.” - Princeton University Press

Making the World Global: U.S. Universities and the Production of the Global Imaginary,Isaac A. Kamola, Duke University Press, 2019

“In Making the World Global, Isaac A. Kamola examines how the relationships among universities, the American state, philanthropic organizations, and international financial institutions created the conditions that made it possible to imagine the world as global.” - Duke University Press

World Ordering,Emanuel Adler, Cambridge University Press, 2019

“Drawing on evolutionary epistemology, process ontology, and a social-cognition approach, this book suggests cognitive evolution, an evolutionary-constructivist social and normative theory of change and stability of international social orders. It argues that practices and their background knowledge survive preferentially, communities of practice serve as their vehicle, and social orders evolve.” - Cambridge University Press

Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism,Martin Arboleda, Verso Books, 2020

“Planetary Mine rethinks the politics and territoriality of resource extraction, especially as the mining industry becomes reorganized in the form of logistical networks, and East Asian economies emerge as the new pivot of the capitalist world-system. Through an exploration of the ways in which mines in the Atacama Desert of Chile—the driest in the world—have become intermingled with an expanding constellation of megacities, ports, banks, and factories across East Asia, the book rethinks uneven geographical development in the era of supply chain capitalism.” - Verso Books

States of Justice: The Politics of the International Criminal Court,Omar Ba, Cambridge University Press, 2020

“This book theorizes the ways in which states that are presumed to be weaker in the international system use the International Criminal Court (ICC) to advance their security and political interests. Ultimately, it contends that African states have managed to instrumentally and strategically use the international justice system to their advantage, a theoretical framework that challenges the “justice cascade” argument.” - Cambridge University Press

Security at the Borders,Dr. Philippe M. Frowd, Cambridge University Press, 2018 (out recently in paperback)

“Borders are not just lines in the sand, but increasingly globalised spaces of practice. This is the case in West Africa, where a growing range of local and international officials are brought together by ambitious security projects around common anxieties. This book draws on the author's multi-sited ethnography in Mauritania and Senegal, showing how border security practices and technologies operate to build state security capacity, transform how state agencies work, and produce new forms of authority and expertise.” - Cambridge University Press

The Button,William J. Perry, Tom Z. Collina, Benbella Books, 2020

“From former Secretary of Defense and Stanford professor of international relations William Perry and nuclear policy think-tank director Tom Collina, The Button is a fascinating narrative of our living nuclear history—one in which the players hold the fate of the whole world at their fingertips—and a look at presidential power from Truman to Trump.” - BenBella Books

Paramilitarism: Mass Violence in the Shadow of the State,Ugur Ümit Üngör,  Oxford University Press, 2020

Paramilitarism: Mass Violence in the Shadow of the State is the first comparative and conceptual synthesis of paramilitarism. Üngör Focuses on the centrality and breadth of states' paramilitary strategies and examines the involvement of organized crime in paramilitarism. - Oxford University Press

Badges Without Borders,Stuart Schrader: University of California Press, 2019.

“Stuart Schrader shows how the United States projected imperial power overseas through police training and technical assistance—and how this effort reverberated to shape the policing of city streets at home. Examining diverse records, from recently declassified national security and intelligence materials to police textbooks and professional magazines, Badges without Borders offers a new account of the War on Crime, “law and order” politics, and global counterinsurgency, revealing the connections between foreign and domestic racial control.” - University of California Press

Bordering Britain: Law, race and empire,Nadine El-Enany: Manchester University Press. 2020

“(B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance… immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing colonial wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest.” - Manchester University Press

China and Middle East Conflicts. Responding to War and Rivalry from the Cold War to the Present, Guy Burton, Routledge, 2020

“Using a conflict and peace studies angle, Burton adopts a broad perspective on Chinese engagement by looking at its involvement in the region’s conflicts including Israel/Palestine, Iraq before and after 2003, Sudan and the Darfur crisis, the Iranian nuclear deal, the Gulf crisis and the wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen. The book reveals how a rising global and non-Western power handles the challenges associated with both violent and nonviolent conflict and the differences between limiting and reducing violence alongside other ways to eliminate the causes of conflict and grievance.” - Routledge

Articles/ Publications

Forum: Militarization 2.0: Communication and the normalization of political violence in the digital age,Jackson, et. al. (2020), International Studies Review (2020) 0, 1–26

“Scholars of international relations frequently explore how states normalize the use of military force through processes of militarization, yet few have analyzed how new information and communication technologies impact on these processes. The essays in this forum address this gap, and consider the political significance of new technologies, new actors, and new practices that shape “Militarization 2.0” and normalize political violence in the digital age.” - Oxford Academic, International Studies Review

Shabbiha,Ugur Ümit Üngör, 2020 

This article looks at the mobilization and violence of the Shabbiha (pro-regime paramilitary forces) in the city of Homs. It argues that examining the role of the Shabbiha is vital to understanding the broader conflict as these groups became more integrated into the National Defence Forces from 2012 onwards.  

Exiting Empire,The Middle East Report, Spring 2020

This issue of the Middle East Report addresses the critical struggles to confront domestic political, economic and ideological structures that must be changed in order to redirect the United States away from imperial relations with the Middle East. The articles in this report make the cases for demilitarization, halting disastrous economic sanctions, agricultural, trade and immigration policies, and forging new solidarities between diverse political movements in the United States and in the region.

Settler Colonialism, Neoliberalism and Cyber Surveillance: The Case of Israel,Elia Zureik 2020

In this study, Zureik situates the growth of Israel’s cyber technologies and its interplay with the settler colonial regime over Palestinians. Further, it documents how Israel’s surveillance technologies have been increasingly exported to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, assisting in these states’ attacks on internal dissent, fostering closer diplomatic ties, and in preparation for military and logistical preparation in any future war with Iran.

Bucking the Trend: The UAE and the Development of Military Capabilities in the Arab World,David Roberts, 2020.

This article challenges essentialist narratives that undermine military effectiveness of Arab armies by demonstrating that United Arab Emirates (UAE) forces have repeatedly exemplified unusual levels of military effectiveness and sophistication in hostile campaigns. Using approaches from public policy studies (the Advocacy Coalition Framework), this paper investigates how the UAE military bucked the trend.

The logistics of police power: Armored vehicles, colonial boomerangs, and strategies of circulation,Derek Denman, 2020

Tracing the logistics and deployment of the armoured vehicle, Denman builds on a growing body of scholarship that challenges the notion of the ‘militarisation’ of police forces that assumes a historical distinction between civilian and military. Through a logistical approach, Denman aims to map the circuitries of power between colonial exploits abroad and the surplus of militarised materials obtained therein, and how these materials have come to embody what he terms the “martial politics” of policing at home. 

Variegated Finance Capital and the Political Economy of Islamic Banking in the Gulf, Adam Hanieh, 2019

Hanieh looks at the role of Islamic Finance (IF) in the formation of class relations in the GCC, arguing that IF should be understood as a particular instantiation of global financial capital, mirroring patterns of capital accumulation (particularly in its linkages to the built environment). Moreover, Hanieh suggests the increasing interweaving of IF and Gulf financial markets, makes it an integral part of the regional political economy and to understanding IF’s influence in other international markets and the “future patterning” of South-South relations. 

State atrophy and the reconfiguration of borderlands in Syria and Iraq: Post-2011 dynamics, Harout Akdedian and Harith Hasan, 2020.
“This paper looks into emerging trends in the unraveling of bounded sovereign territoriality in borderlands by examining the contest over military, economic, and socio-political spaces in the wake of the devolution of the monopoly of violence and the rise of a multitude of new and old actors to local prominence. Since 2011, borderlands in the MENA region transformed into considerable sites of contested power by a plethora of actors. The paper points out emergent patterns of deterritorialization and reterritorialization of power in its various forms and manifestations in borderlands. The dynamics of ‘place and performance’ in the borderlands of Syria and Iraq showcase the variety of ways borders were instrumentalized under circumstances of state atrophy and their destructive tendencies for borderlands.”

Special Issue on Critical Anthropology of Security from the Middle East,eds. Giulia Dardiry and Sami Hermez, 2020. 

“This colloquy takes the Middle East region as a starting point from which to explore a contrapuntal concept of security that is subverted from its original meaning and captured from the state. The essays follow the lives of revolutionary youth, doctors, commodity traders, refugees, and spies to examine their experiences of (in)security. In doing so, the essays deploy storytelling and other ethnographic forms to think of the political economy, emotions, flows, and ethics of security from the perspective of those living‐in‐crisis.” (El Dardiry & Hermez, 2020)

Conferences/Calls for Papers or Abstracts:

Race and Racism in Critical Security Studies: Reparative possibilities for a field of study and practice

Forum on Race and Racism in Critical Security Studies eds: Claudia Aradau and Marsha Henry 

Submit to @SecDialogue (4k word-limit) by 1 August: 

Mapping South-South Connections: Networks, Alliances and New Actors Calls for Papers

Deadline: September 10th

The conference Mapping South-South Connections: Networks, Alliances and New Actors on the International Scene during the Decolonization Process and Cold War in Latin America, Asia and Africa (1810-1990) aims to explore historical, political and cultural connections between Latin America, Asia and Africa during the decolonization process and the Cold War from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Borders and the State in Light of Covid-19

A round table discussion organized by the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) Beirut School of Critical Security Studies working group and Security in Context

Submissions deadline: August 15, 2020

Gender, Justice and Security: Call for Project Proposals

Deadline for Proposals: Friday 5 June 2020

Awards of up to £200,000, calculated at 100% full economic cost (fEC) are available in this round of funding.

Successful applications will join the thirty-two projects that currently make up the Hub’s research programme, which is organised under six thematic streams: ‘Transformation and Empowerment’, ‘Livelihood, Land and Rights’, ‘Migration and Displacement’, ‘Masculinities and Sexualities’, ‘Law and Policy Frameworks’ and ‘Methodological Innovation’. New projects will extend or deepen Hub research and impact in at least one of the Hub’s seven focus countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

Center for International Policy Studies (CIPS) - Understanding the Five Eyes: Twitter Conference

The Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa is seeking proposals for their first Twitter conference to be held on September 30, 2020. The theme of the conference is Understanding the Five Eyes intelligence network and security partnership. 

“Given that the Five Eyes takes multiple forms and touches different subjects, we welcome proposals reflecting a range of approaches and topics – from disparities in power and technology to Snowden, Trump, Huawei, and COVID-19. We invite particular reflection on the histories of Five Eyes cooperation beyond signals intelligence. Two major components are required from participants in this conference: a Twitter-thread presentation on their project; and a blog post on the project for the CIPS Blog.”

Fellowships/ Scholarships

The French Institutes for Advanced Study Fellowship Programme: 10-month fellowships

For the 2021-2022 academic year, FIAS offers 17 positions in Paris.

Deadline: 15 September 2020, 3:00 pm Paris time

The French Institutes for Advanced Study Fellowship Programme offers 10-month fellowships.

The call is open to all disciplines in the social sciences and humanities and all research fields. Research projects from other sciences that propose a transversal dialogue with SSH are also eligible.  In the Paris IAS, the fellows’ projects can be in any discipline and theme in the humanities and social sciences, and must have an interdisciplinary dimension. The essential selection criterion is the excellence of the project and the researcher. The aim is foremost to support original projects (methods, interdisciplinarity, theoretical innovation, etc.) that significantly advance the state of the art. The capacity of the research projects to address societal issues and their impact beyond their discipline/field or outside the academy will be taken into account.

MESA Global Academy ScholarshipsCall for Applications

Deadline: August 7, 2020

The MESA Global Academy has published a call for applications for scholarships for the academic year 2020-2021. The Global Academy will award up to 12 scholars a $5,000 award to further their research and collaboration with MENA-focused scholars in North America. The Global Academy will support up to six scholars working in the area of governance, accountability, and the rule of law, and six scholars working on fairness and economic equality.


Centre for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS): Reconnecting Asia “Belt, Road, and Beyond”

DATE: September 14 - 18, 2020 (8:00am to 1:00pm EDT). LOCATION: Online. TUITION: $3,000

CSIS is now accepting applications for the Fall 2020 Belt and Road Executive Course in a live format. Drawing insights from leading experts and the Reconnecting Asia Project, this CSIS online executive course constitutes the most extensive effort to map and analyze the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - a $1 trillion flagship foreign policy effort of Chinese president Xi Jinping - that could reshape global networks of trade, transport, and political ties within and between countries for decades to come. This private, virtual course explains what the BRI is, what it is not, and how it is impacting commercial and strategic realities on the ground.

Job openings

Assistant Director,Amman, Jordan. The American Center of Oriental Research

The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), a non-profit institution dedicated to advancing knowledge of Jordan past and present, seeks an Assistant Director. 

Yemen/Saudi Arabia ResearcherThe Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)

ACLED is recruiting Yemen/Saudi Arabia Researchers to assist in the collection, review, and management of political violence and protest data in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Candidates will be expected to have a minimum availability of 10-15 hours/week. This position is fully remote and can be done from any location with reliable internet service. This is a contractor position. 

Consultant/Commentator (Podcast)The Tax Justice Network

Deadline: September 2nd 2020

The Tax Justice Network produces five monthly podcasts aimed at ordinary citizens, campaigners and practitioners, filling the gap in regional media coverage and analysis of tax, redistribution, financial secrecy and the global infrastructure of corruption, holding governments to account.

The Tax Justice Network is seeking a tax justice commentator and consultant for their Arabic podcast. The deadline for applications is September 2nd 2020 with a start date of September 7th 2020]

Lectureship in Middle Eastern StudiesLeeds University: 

Closing Date: Saturday 15 August 2020

The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds, invites applications for an on-going full-time post at the level of Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies (Grade 7) starting in September 2020 (negotiable). The appointment is based in the Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies subject area of the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.

Applicants should be a scholar of the Middle East, with a PhD in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, International Relations or other relevant discipline, and have experience of teaching and supervising at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Article or Event Link
Aug 3, 2020



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.