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:

March 2021


Revolutionary Bodies Technologies of Gender, Sex, and Self in Contemporary Iran

K. S. Batmanghelichi, Bloomsbury, 2021

Gender and sexuality in modern Iran is frequently examined through the prism of nationalist symbols and religious discourse from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this book, Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi takes a different approach, by interrogating how normative ideas of women's bodies in state, religious, and public health discourses have resulted in the female body being deemed as immodest and taboo.

Media and Mapping Practices in the Middle East and North Africa

Alena Strohmaier, Angela Krewani (eds), Amsterdam University Press, 2021

A few months into the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2009/10, the promises of social media, including its ability to influence a participatory governance model, grassroots civic engagement, new social dynamics, inclusive societies and new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, became more evident than ever. The overall focus of this book is not so much on the role of new technologies and social networks as it is on how media and mapping practices expand the very notion of cultural engagement, political activism, popular protest and social participation.

Rethinking the Body in Global Politics Bodies, Body Politics, and the Body Politic in a Time of Pandemic

Kandida Purnell, Routledge, 2021

This book rethinks the body in global politics and the particular roles bodies play in our international system, foregrounding processes and practices involved in the continually contested (re/dis)embodiment of both human bodies and collective bodies politic.

Achieving a Feminist Peace by Blurring Boundaries between Private and Public

Nina Wilén, Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, 2021

In spite of increased attention to women’s sidelining in matters related to peace and conflict, women continue to be marginalized in peacekeeping missions, peace negotiations and peacebuilding processes. Both international institutions such as the UN and academic scholars therefore argue for women’s need to be included in peace processes to build a greater post-conflict gender balance and a more inclusive and durable peace.

Recasting Islamic Law Religion and the Nation State in Egyptian Constitution Making

Rachel M. Scott, Cornell University Press, 2021

By examining the intersection of Islamic law, state law, religion, and culture in the Egyptian nation-building process, Recasting Islamic Law highlights how the sharia, when attached to constitutional commitments, is reshaped into modern Islamic state law.


Torture Is the Nasty Center of the 9/11 Case at Guantánamo

Lisa Hajjar, The Markaz Review, 2021

The 9/11 case at Guantánamo - the military commission case against five men charged with plotting the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 - is embroiled in the problematic and irecconcilable legacy of torture against the defendants on the one hand, and the legal justice the prosecution seeks, on the other. 

Developing the Halal Market: China’s Opportunity to Strengthen MENA Ties and Address Uighur/Hui Issues

Zaynab El Bernoussi, Brill, 2021

Professor Zaynab El Bernoussi on the potential for China to stabilise its internal ethno-religious tensions and strengthen burgeoning geopolitical and economic relations with the MENA region through developing the Chinese Halal market.

Symposium: Human Shields

Humanity Journal, 2021

This symposium brings together six scholars to discuss Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire.

The Time of the “Maybe” in Massive Urbanization: Reflections from a collective of Southern urban scholars

(March 2021)

The objective of this Forum is to complicate the usual depictions of Global South mega-urban regions. Neither the sure-fire means of realizing the aspirations of majority populations nor as a descent into chaos, the massiveness of Southern cities offers many different dimensions and implications.

Society and Space: Anti-Asian Violence

(March 2021)

In this forum on Anti-Asian violence, Society and Space gather the perspectives of Asian-American scholars and organizers who contextualize the Atlanta mass shootings within the long histories of US immigration policy, US empire, the policing of sex work, and more.

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research: Volume 45  Issue 2  March 2021

IJURR, March 2021

The March issue of International Journal of Urban and Regional Research featuring seven articles around the theme of financialization, alongside a standalone Intervention essay, and a discussion forum on global city rankings.

Cultural Constructions of Race and Racism in the Middle East and North Africa / Southwest Asia and North Africa (MENA/SWANA)

Rayya El Zein (Ed.), Lateral, Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, 2021

This forum deepens ongoing work recognizing, naming, and undoing white supremacy, colorism, and anti-Black racism in the Middle East and North Africa / South West Asia and North Africa (MENA/SWANA).

The Spread of Feminism and the Silence of Gendered Militarism in the Neoliberal Era

Jihyun Choo, Journal of Asian Sociology, 2020

Male military conscription is situated at the center of the dispute between feminism and anti-feminism in South Korea, most notably among young people. This article aims to explain why concrete attempts to transform the conscription system have yet to appear in respect to neoliberalism, which constitutes the condition of life for the young generation. 

Migration, Smuggling and the Illicit Global Economy

Luigi Achilli and Gabriella Sanchez, Public Anthropologist, 2021

“The claim that a structural connection/take-over/ convergence exists between transnational organized crime, terrorism and migrant smuggling is a dominant concept in migration policy and academic research.

In this special issue for Public Anthropologist Journal, Luigi Achilli & @Gabriella Sanchez bring together as editors critical contributions from Alice Massari Antje Mißbach Gerhard Hoffstaedter Caitlin Procter Caitlyn Yates Priya Deshingkarr Tufa Adugna Adamnesh Atnafu, and a closing note by Peter Andreas on what encounters among criminalized groups with migrant smuggling actors in Malaysia, Indonesia, Central America, Palestine, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the US Mexico border tell us at a time of increased global precarity.”

Alliance politics in the post-2011 Middle East: Advancing theoretical and empirical perspectives

May Darwich, Mediterranean Politics, 2021

Alliances in the post-2011 Middle East are characterized by anomalous shifts and upsurge of new actors leading to theoretical and empirical puzzles. This article argues that unravelling these patterns requires grappling with in-depth knowledge of regional politics and a serious engagement with the broader IR literature. Through this dual exploration, the article explores how the literature on alliance cohesion within IR could inform anomalous alliance dynamics in the post-2011 regional order. It also reveals how regional developments in the post-2011 Middle East, such as the pursuit of alliance by non-state actors, present avenues for theoretical innovations.

From ‘It Rarely Happens’ to ‘It’s Worse for Men’: Dispelling Misconceptions about Sexual Violence against Men and Boys in Conflict and Displacement

Heleen Touquet, Sarah Chynoweth, Sarah Martin, Chen Reis, Henri Myrttinen, Philipp Schulz, Lewis Turner, and David Duriesmith, Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, 2021

Sexual violence against men and boys in armed conflict has garnered increasing attention over the past decade. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that sexual violence against men and boys is perpetrated in many conflicts and that men and boys are also subject to sexual violence during displacement. The notion that little to no research exists is no longer valid. Yet in conjunction with this important recognition, many worrying and potentially damaging falsehoods about the characteristics, magnitude, consequences and responses to this violence are gaining traction as well.

Digitising the Virtual: Movement and Relations in Drone Warfare

Srishti Malaviya, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2020

This article offers a relational analysis of the use of armed drones in the ‘war on terror’. Drawing from Erin Manning’s writings on movement, relations, and the posthuman, I explore how bodies and spaces are read as digitised data in the processes of the drone assemblage, reducing movement to displacement and undoing relations of becoming. The drone’s violence lies in its crippling of bodies’ capacity to respond to their immediate environments and relations. The point of departure for this article is the concept of the ‘virtual’ as drawn out by Manning: the indeterminate potential of movement which moves bodies and relations. My analysis revisits the transcripts of Uruzgan drone attack in Afghanistan in 2010, a case that has been extensively studied in the critical literature on drones to offer conceptions of what it means for the drone to be a posthuman entity. Instead of situating the drone as a posthuman object, I examine it from a posthuman methodology where the focus is on relations, rather than determinate actors or outcomes. My intervention here is twofold: to propose a framework for understanding the drone’s violence in its processes of disrupting and undoing relations, and relatedly to argue for the methodological and theoretical value of the posthuman.

Conferences/Calls for Papers or Abstracts

Gramsci in the Middle East and North Africa Conference

London School of Economics

Deadline: September 13, 2021

This conference aims to bring together scholars working with Gramsci on any of these themes, with the ultimate aim of publishing a Special Issue on Gramsci in the Middle East and North Africa.

Call for Pitches: The Final Frontier? Bilad al-Sudan in African and Middle Eastern Studies

Borderlines, 2021

Borderlines seeks thoughtful and innovative contributions that help us rethink the historical construction and transformation of racial difference in Sudan, its entanglement with other axes of social, economic, and cultural politics and its contemporary manifestations and implications. We are particularly interested in studies that take on a transregional focus connecting Ottoman, Arab-Afro and trans-Saharan African borderlands, and that engage with recent debates situated at the intersection of African and Middle Eastern Studies. Works on contemporary as well as historical phenomena and developments tied to questions of slavery, revolution, and artistic production are particularly welcomed. We are also interested in publishing translations of literary texts that engage with cinema and art as well as studies of primary-sources that interrogate the vicissitudes and production of racial difference in the borderland region of Bilad al-Sudan and beyond.

Gender and Illiberalism in Post-Communist Europe

Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 July 2021

This thematic issue seeks to explore the relationship between illiberalism and gender, focusing on a region where gender progress is under threat from de-democratization: post-communist Europe. The contributions to this thematic issue will investigate the gendered working of illiberal institutions as well as the policies, mechanisms, and discourses through which the very notion of gender is constructed as a threat to increasingly populist and nationalist views of the polity, society, family, and individual. The contributions will demonstrate illiberalism’s impact on gendered issues in a broad range of social, economic, and political spheres, including the labour market, culture, academia, the legal system, foreign policy, and security. They will do so from a variety of perspectives and a diversity of academic backgrounds, together building the first systematic examination of the relationship between illiberalism and gender in post-communist Europe.

Art and the City: Urban Space, Art, and Social Change

Art and the City 

April 28-30, 2021

Art and the City: Urban Space, Art and Social Change conference series bring together a team of international scholars with an interest in art and 'right to the city', aesthetics and politics of the urban environment, artistic rebellion on the streets, aesthetics of urban social movements and art activism in the urban space. With 30 presentations and over 60 participants every year, Art and the City conference series serve as a hub for researchers across social sciences and humanities to engage in transregional dialogues and collaborations such as edited volumes, special issue, exhibition, and joint funding applications.


2021 Global Scholars Academy

Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy

In August 2021, Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy will collaborate with The Graduate Institute, Geneva to convene the first annual Global Scholars Academy, made possible with generous support from the Open Society University Network (OSUN). Preference will be given to scholars who are from the Global South, 2-5 years post-PhD and currently hold postdoctoral posts or faculty positions. 

Masters Degree in Human Rights & The Arts

Bard College, New York

Deadline: June 15, 2021

MA Program in Human Rights & the Arts offers a graduate-level interdisciplinary curricular experience that takes stock of the growing encounter between human rights and the arts as fields of both academic knowledge and professional work. Scholarships for local & international students available.


Teaching International Relations in the Periphery

International Studies Association (ISA), 2021

This ISA and Global South Caucus panel brings in the experiences of academics in their research and pedagogy of international relations, as they experience and interact with different cultural regions. The main aims of the discussion are to, first, present how teaching international relations is experienced and lived in the periphery and, second, what such a teaching tells us about the limits and opportunities of enriching the study and understanding of societies around the world.

On Jihad, Empire and Solidarity

(March 26, 2021)

In this event, Dr Li will discuss his new book, The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire and the Challenge of Solidarity with Prof Tarak Barkawi (LSE) and Dr Catherine Baker (Hull), with questions and answers from the audience. The event will be moderated by Dr Mahvish Ahmad (LSE).

Terrorism fieldwork and accessing the national security state

Critical Studies on Terrorism (CST), BISA

April 28

Researching ‘terrorism’ and ‘counter-terrorism’ is a daunting task: entering into such a sensitive and securitised arena means encountering various challenges, among which is the highly secretised nature of the field. Researchers conducting fieldwork into national security face the problem of restricted access: a lack of available information characterises the field, and human sources are very difficult to access.

Unpacking Hate: Race. Resistance. Resilience.

Rutgers University, March 2021

We must learn how to combat hate. Start by unpacking its causes. Use this resource list to understand the broader, social, political, and historical context of intergroup antagonism.

Imperialism and Militarism in the Sahel and East Africa

(April 15, 2021)

Haymarket Books

Join a panel of experts for a discussion of the growing imperialist interventions into the Sahel and East Africa, and how to fight them.

Iraqi diaspora mobilization and the future development of Iraq

Atlantic Council, 2021

A discussion surrounding the upcoming paper, Iraqi Diaspora Mobilization and the Future Development of Iraq, which explores Iraqi diaspora mobilization before and after the 2003 invasion and fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Reckoning with the Syrian Uprising a Decade On — A Conversation with Lisa Wedeen & Yasser Munif

Northwestern Center for International & Area Studies, 2021)

A conversation with Lisa Wedeen, author of Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria, and Yasser Munif, author of The Syrian Revolution: Between the Politics of Life and the Geopolitics of Death, moderated by Danny Postel, Assistant Director of the Center for International and Area Studies.

Job Openings

Assistant Professor Middle Eastern Studies

University of Groningen

Deadline: April 11, 2021

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies is searching for an assistant professor to strengthen our team. The department is looking for an enthusiastic and cooperative colleague with a broad expertise in the contemporary Middle East, with particular focus on the (modern) history, politics and culture of Israel and the Jewish world in their Middle Eastern context. 

Lecturer/Senior Lecturers (Assistant/Associate Professors) in International Relations and Political Science (several posts available)

University of Birmingham

Deadline: April 18, 2021

University of Birmingham - Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) is looking for Lecturers/Senior Lecturers in International Relations and Political Science.


A Marine History of Capitalism: An Interview with Laleh Khalili

A World to Win

In this week's episode, recorded before the Ever Given incident, Grace speaks to academic and writer Laleh Khalili about the role of global shipping in networks of state power, corporate sovereignty, and imperialism.

Article or Event Link
Apr 5, 2021



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