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:


The War Lawyers The United States, Israel, and Juridical Warfare

Craig Jones, Oxford University Press, 2020

“The only book-length study that examines the role of war lawyers in aerial targeting operations, focusing on both U.S. and Israeli targeting practices and their legal protocols.” - Oxford University Press

I Refuse to Condemn Resisting racism in times of national security

Asim Qureshi, Manchester University Press, 2020

“In times of heightened national security, scholars and activists from the communities under suspicion often attempt to alert the public to the more complex stories behind the headlines. But when they raise questions about the government, military and police policy, these individuals are routinely shut down and accused of being terrorist sympathisers or apologists for gang culture. In such environments, there is immense pressure to condemn what society at large fears. This collection explains how the expectation to condemn has emerged, tracking it against the normalisation of racism, and explores how writers manage to subvert expectations as part of their commitment to anti-racism.” - Manchester University Press

Trust in Divided Societies State, Institutions and Governance in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine

Abdalhadi M. Alijla, Bloomsbury, 2020

“When countries try to navigate through the aftermath of conflict, trust is the main focus and the catalyst for rebuilding societies, nations, economies and democracies. Trust is vital, not only at an individual level, but also at a community level: trust is important to sustain peace and also works as a trigger to end conflicts. But why are some divided societies more prone to the collapse of social trust than others?” - Bloomsbury

A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa

Joel Beinin, Bassam Haddad, and Sherene Seikaly, Stanford University Press, 2020

“This book offers the first critical engagement with the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa. Challenging conventional wisdom on the origins and contemporary dynamics of capitalism in the region, these cutting-edge essays demonstrate how critical political economy can illuminate both historical and contemporary dynamics of the region and contribute to wider political economy debates from the vantage point of the Middle East.” - Stanford University Press, 2020

Border Frictions: Gender, Generation and Technology on the Frontline

Karine Côté-Boucher, Routledge, 2020

“Border Frictions investigates how considerable political efforts and state resources have made bordering a matter of security and trade facilitation best managed with surveillance technologies. Based on interviews with border officers, ethnographic work carried out in the vicinity of land border ports of entry and policy analysis, this book illuminates features seldom reviewed by critical border scholars.” - Routledge

Encountering extremism Theoretical issues and local challenges

Alice Martini, Kieran Ford and Richard Jackson, Manchester University Press, 2020

“Countering extremism is starting to receive more attention as a subject of research in academia and policy circles alike, demonstrating its rising popularity within the market. Nevertheless, the market currently lacks literature on the topic of extremism (as opposed to terrorism), and critical approaches in particular. The concept of this book thus grows from the need to look at the under-researched approaches to the topic from a critical perspective. This book brings together a set of scholars from a diverse range of countries, experts in many fields of social sciences to present valuable multidisciplinary analysis of both theoretical and practical aspects related to countering extremism.” - Manchester University Press

The Bonds of Inequality Debt and the Making of the American City 

Destin Jenkins, The University of Chicago Press, 2020

“Moving between the local and the national, The Bonds of Inequality uncovers how racial inequalities in San Francisco were intrinsically tied to these financial arrangements and how these arrangements were central in determining the distribution of resources in the city. By homing in on financing and its imperatives, Jenkins boldly rewrites the history of modern American cities, revealing the hidden strings that bind debt and power, race and inequity, democracy and capitalism.” - University of Chicago Press

Coming of Age in the War on Terror

Randa Abdel-Fattah, NewSouth Books, 2020

“In Coming of Age in the War on Terror, Randa Abdel-Fattah interrogates the impact of all this on young people's political consciousness and their trust towards adults and the societies they live in. Drawing on local interviews but global in scope, this book is the first to examine the lives of a generation for whom the rise of the far-right and the growing polarisation of politics seem normal.” - NewSouth Books

The War on the Uyghurs: China's Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority

Sean R. Roberts, Princeton University Press, 2020

“Roberts describes how the Chinese government successfully implicated the Uyghurs in the global terror war—despite a complete lack of evidence—and branded them as a dangerous terrorist threat with links to al-Qaeda. He argues that the reframing of Uyghur domestic dissent as international terrorism provided justification and inspiration for a systematic campaign to erase Uyghur identity, and that a nominal Uyghur militant threat only emerged after more than a decade of Chinese suppression in the name of counterterrorism—which has served to justify further state repression.” - Princeton University Press

Rentier Capitalism Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It?

Brett Christophers, Verso Books, 2020

“Brett Christophers provides a forensic examination and sweeping critique of early-twenty-first-century capitalism. Brett Christophers styles this as ‘rentier capitalism’, in which ownership of key types of scarce assets - such as land, intellectual property, natural resources, or digital platforms - is all-important and dominated by a few unfathomably wealthy companies and individuals: rentiers.” - Verso Books


Arab encounters with Maoist China: Transnational journeys, diasporic lives and intellectual discourses

Mohammed Turki Alsudairi, 2020

This paper examines the appeal exerted by Maoist China upon a broad category of Arab onlookers from the mid-twentieth century onwards… These sympathetic imaginaries, the paper argues, stemmed less from a systematic engagement with Chinese realities on-the-ground, and more from a sense of anxiety over the Arab world. Maoist China was in essence reconceptualized as a ‘homeland that could have been,’ offering lessons as well as hope for the future as filtered through the ideological biases of these observers.

Rethinking Authoritarian Power: The Logistics Space and Authoritarian Practices in and between Secondary Port Cities of the Global South 

Alke Jenss and Benjamin Schuetze, 2020

This article looks at the transregional entanglements that characterize authoritarian power. Using the cases of port cities Aqaba in Jordan and Buenaventura in Colombia, the authors argue that authoritarian power is transregionally entangled rather than separate and limited to the nation-state. This contextual analysis brings to light the transnational character of authoritarianism and its repression of opposition, activism and nature of politics. 

The Syrian Chambers of Commerce in 2020: The Rise of a New Business Elite

Joseph Daher, 2020

The formation of new board of directors of the Syrian chambers of commerce gives rise to a new network of pro-regime business elites, many of whom emerge from activities in the informal war economy. Joseph Daher shows how the war economy influences institutional change through the emergence of new and old business elites, reproducing regime interests.

Trust in Institutions Index 2020 The Parliament and Beyond Regenerating trust by exploring the roots of its shortage

Mohammed Masbah, Rachid Aourraz and Francesco Colin, Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis, 2020

The MIPA’s annual report on trust in social and political institutions aims to measure the capacity and willingness of citizens to engage in public life. The key findings of this year’s index demonstrate that citizens' relationship with institutions, especially those elected, is characterized by suspicion and low levels of trust. Coupled with poor quality public services, and inadequate job opportunities: these constitute the most important priorities that citizens believe the government should address in the next five to ten years. The report also found greater trust in non-elected institutions, such as the police.

The Lived Social Contract in Schools: From protection to the production of hegemony

Hania Sobhy, 2020

This article proposes a framework for studying the social contract along the four parameters of protection, provision, participation and the production of hegemony. Drawing on rare research inside schools catering to different social classes before and after the 2011 uprising, the article describes how their realities reflect the transformations of lived citizenship in this historical juncture. Egyptian schools reveal a 'lived social contract' that is underpinned by selective retraction of protection, a collapse of provision, impoverishment and Islamization of participation and a resulting disengagement from the production of hegemony.

Seeing and Unseeing Prevent’s Racialized Borders

Nadya Ali, 2020

This article provides a re-theorization of the Prevent strategy as racialized bordering. It explores how knowledge regarding the racist logics of British counter-terrorism are supressed through structures of white ignorance and how International Relations scholarship is implicated in this tendency to ‘whitewash’ Prevent’s racism. Muslim difference is hypervisibilized or seen as potentially threatening and coded as part of racialized symptoms which constitute radicalization and extremism. This article shows how the racial bordering of Prevent sustains violence perpetrated by white supremacists, which is subsequently ‘unseen’ through the case of Thomas Mair.

Technological Testing Grounds: Migration Management Experiments and Reflections from the Ground Up

Petra Molnar, EDRI, Refugee Law Lab

This report offers the beginning of a systemic analysis of migration management technologies, foregrounding the experiences of people on the move who are interacting with and thinking about surveillance, biometrics, and automated decision-making during the course of their migration journeys. 

Martial Mining – The link between warfare and resource extraction

Harry Holmes, 2020

This report investigates the link between militarism, extractivism and climate change are intimately linked. The framework of ‘martial mining’ aims to shed light on the ways in which extractivism is fundamentally a militarized process of violent community dispossession, while militarizm is fundamentally an extractive process that depends on vast natural resources. 

Exception(s) to the Rule(s): Civilian Harm, Oversight, and Accountability in the Shadow Wars

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), 2020

Exception(s) to the Rule(s)”, a report produced by Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in partnership with the Stimson Center and Security Assistance Monitor, examines the tradeoffs and consequences involved with the continued use and availability of certain counterterrorism authorities and practices as the “endless war” enters its twentieth year. In examining these tradeoffs, it calls attention to the proliferation and normalization of authorities and tools for employing lethal force, including modes of security cooperation where the use of lethal force and civilian harm are reasonably foreseeable outcomes.

Conferences/Calls for Papers or Abstracts

Call for Proposals: "Health and Livelihoods in the Arab Region: Wellbeing, Vulnerability and Conflict"

Arab Council for the Social Sciences

Deadline: December 16, 2020

The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) is pleased to announce the eighth cycle of its Research Grants Program (RGP) on the theme of "Health and Livelihoods in the Arab Region: Wellbeing, Vulnerability and Conflict". This is the second cycle on the same theme and it will be carried over one more cycle of the program, for a total of three cycles. The RGP is a funding opportunity that aims to support research across disciplinary boundaries and methodological approaches on key themes of concern to the Arab region.

Call for Papers: Realities and Futures of Energy in The Middle East”

Review of Economics and Political Science

Deadline: December 15, 2020)

The Review of Economics and Political Science invite submissions for research papers tackling issues and dilemmas of energy in the Middle East

Call for Applications: Lived Citizenship, Uprising and Migration: Everyday Politics, Imaginaries and Contestation

Deadline: January 15, 2021

This workshop explores new ways of thinking about the everyday experiences that shape political outcomes in the Arab region and its diasporas. While many scholars have examined the causes of the uprisings and the institutional arrangement and re-arrangements that followed, little research has been carried out on how the everyday realities, transformations and dislocation are lived by different categories of citizens. Through the theme of lived citizenship, the workshop explores how citizens experience and shape the everyday realities of socio-economic, political and spatial governance and the changing narratives of identity and legitimation in these critical times.

Call for Papers AUC Political Science Department Annual Conference: Grounding Political Science in a Time of Upheaval 

Deadline: January 31, 2021

This conference seeks to bring junior and senior scholars together to explore these crises with an eye to reimagining the lessons of the moment on the repository of theories and historiographies utilized in social science. They are seeking contributions on the issues of state surveillance, (re)assertive authoritarianism, democratic breakdown, populism, state violence and the COVID 19 pandemic in a grounded way that privileges the concrete experience and material characteristics of the phenomena.


IJURR Foundation Postgraduate Student Grants 2021 

IJURR Foundation Grants

Deadline: January 31, 2020

The IJURR promotes urban and regional research around the interconnection between social, economic and political processes. They offer two types of grants: a studentship for postgraduate students in the earlier stages of their research and a writing-up grant for postgraduate students who have completed all their field work, commenced their writing up, and already know the date when they will submit their dissertation.

The DPU Health in Urban Development Scholarship

University College London (UCL)

Deadline: July 1, 2020

The Development Planning Unit (DPU) are pleased to announce the launch of the Health in Urban Development (HUD) MSc Scholarship. The purpose of the DPU Health in Urban Development Scholarship is to support candidates of the highest calibre for postgraduate study at the Health in Urban Development MSc programme, in the expectation that as graduates, these scholars will make important contributions to urban health by drawing on the strengths of the international perspective and leading position of the DPU in the development field. 

Scholarship in support of women, peace and security in memory of Zaida Catalán

Folke Bernadotte Academy – Swedish agency for peace, security and development

Deadline: December 14, 2021

FBA has been tasked by the Swedish Government to establish a scholarship aimed at supporting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. The purpose is to pay attention to young peacebuilders who are working to promote women’s participation in conflict resolution. The scholarship is established in memory of Zaida Catalán, who was seconded from FBA to several international peace operations where she served as gender expert.


Revolutionary Feminisms: Brenna Bhandar, Rafeef Ziadah, Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Vron Ware

Whitechapel Gallery
Black, anti-racist and anti-capitalist feminism is often side-lined in mainstream discourses. In their book Brenna Bhandar and Rafeef Ziadah interview some of the most powerful voices in revolutionary feminist thought to consider urgent transformations of the economy, social relations and political structures. In this live online panel, Bhandar and Ziadah are joined by two contributors – Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Vron Ware – to discuss what resistance looks like, from anti-colonialism to prison abolition.

Cities at War: global insecurity and urban resistance

LSE IDEAS Online Event

Warfare in the twenty-first century goes well beyond conventional armies and nation-states. Yet the analysis of failed states, civil war, and state building rarely considers the city, rather than the country, as the terrain of battle. Our panel will discuss the recently published book Cities at War and how urban environments are sites of contemporary warfare and insecurity

Book Launch: Border Frictions: Gender, Generation and Technology on the Frontline

King's College London

Dr Karine Côté-Boucher is launching her new book Border Frictions: Gender, Generation and Technology on the Frontline, which tells the story of the shift to law enforcement in Canadian border control.

Discrimination at the Border: Launch of new UN report and the Migration and Technology Monitor

(November 10, 2020)

E. Tendayi Achiume, United Nations special rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, discusses her upcoming report on racial and xenophobic discrimination, emerging digital technologies, and border and immigration enforcement and for the launch of the Migration and Technology Monitor.

Deadly Trade: How European and Israeli weapons exports are accelerating violence in Mexico

(November 24, 2020)

Weapons companies based in Europe and Israel exported more than 238,000 firearms to Mexico for use by police between 2006 and 2018, in addition to thousands of weapons for military use. Gun homicides and other violence by state forces and criminal organizations increased dramatically during this period, while policies in arms exporting countries that neglect or violate human rights have contributed to the violence. Watch here.

Time to Talk: A Look at the Militarisation of Youth

(November 26, 2020)

With pressure to increase military and weapons budgets on the rise, to the point that our government has just confirmed a £16billion new military budget in the middle of an economic and health crisis, alongside an increasing military presence in education and recruitment practices which target those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with little options.

Job Openings

Statistics Research Assistant

PRIO (Peace Research Institute Oslo)

Deadline: December 20, 2020

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) is looking to hire up to four full-time research assistants across three projects: ‘Geographies of Conflict-Induced Migration’ (CONMIG), Conflict Trends, and a large cross-project on mass-mobilizations and political regimes.The position provides the opportunity to work in a leading international research institution with high academic standards and an interdisciplinary environment.

Assistant Professor Gender Studies & Critical Theory (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University

Deadline: January 15, 2020

The Department of Media and Culture Studies (MCW) at Utrecht University is looking for an Assistant Professor with a Gender Studies & Critical Theory profile.

University College London

Department of Political Science

Lecturer / Associate Professor in Public Policy x 2

Deadline: January 22, 2021

The Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy at UCL is seeking to fill a position in British and Comparative Politics, either at the Lecturer or Associate Professor level (equivalent to tenure-track Assistant/Associate Professor U.S. positions). The successful candidate will have research expertise in British and comparative political institutions and constitutions. This could include, for example, legislatures, judicial politics, territorial politics/devolution, the executive and civil service, institutions of public participation (electoral systems, referendums, citizens’ assemblies).

Lecturer / Associate Professor in Comparative Politics x 2

Deadline: January 22, 2021

The Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy at UCL is seeking to fill two (2) positions in Comparative Politics, either at the Lecturer or Associate Professor level (equivalent to tenure-track Assistant/Associate Professor U.S. positions). The successful candidate will have research expertise in one or more of the following areas:

Lecturer / Associate Professor in British and Comparative Politics

Deadline: January 22, 2021

The Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy at UCL is seeking to fill a position in British and Comparative Politics, either at the Lecturer or Associate Professor level (equivalent to tenure-track Assistant/Associate Professor U.S. positions). The successful candidate will have research expertise in British and comparative political institutions and constitutions. This could include, for example, legislatures, judicial politics, territorial politics/devolution, the executive and civil service, institutions of public participation (electoral systems, referendums, citizens’ assemblies).

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Middle East and North Africa and / or Asia

The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) 

Deadline: January 15, 2021

The successful candidate will work in the project “World Order Narratives of the Global

South”, pending external funding. A research team of six postdocs and several senior researchers and visiting fellows will investigate what world order narratives have emerged in

the Global South after the end of the Cold War and how this reflects the position of the respective countries in a changing geopolitical landscape.


Talk Nation Radio: Daniel Selwyn on Martial Mining

Talk Nation Radio

Talk Nation Radio: Martial Mining, or Militarism and Extraction, sits in conversation with Daniel Selwyn, a researcher and educator with the London Mining Network, an alliance of 21 organisations working to expose human rights abuses and environmental crimes committed by mining companies based in London, and campaigning for social justice and the ecological integrity of the planet.

The Secret History of the Iranian Hostage Crisis and the PLO

PRIO’s Peace in a Pod

November 4 marks the anniversary of the start of the Iranian hostage crisis. You might have learned about it as a major breakdown in the Iran-US relationship that persists today, or maybe you just watched Argo. Jørgen Jensehaugen highlights a different angle though in his article "A Palestinian window of opportunity? The PLO, the US and the Iranian hostage crisis". This aspect of the crisis has rarely been discussed, but can tell us a lot about the political dynamics at the time, and how those ripple effects are still being felt.

The California Genocide No One Talks About

Scheerpost, SI Podcast

UCLA history professor Benjamin Madley’s book An American Genocide: The United States and the California Catastrophe 1846-1873 details the killing of tens of thousands of Native Americans as the state was being settled in the 19th century. In their conversation, Madley tells Robert Scheer why he believes these massacres did, in fact, constitute genocide in its 20th century United Nations definition. He talks about white settlers’ dehumanization and paranoia about “the other,” and the exceptions to that way of thinking. Finally, Madley discusses how the government supported killing native Americans and how people could read about them in the local newspapers.


The PRIO Migration Centre

The PRIO Migration Centre examines how states, groups and individuals engage with, and are affected by migration. The centre is part of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and reflects the institute’s independent, international, and interdisciplinary profile.

The MENA Prison Forum

The MENA Prison Forum advocates and facilitates multidisciplinary engagement with "the prison" and the experience of imprisonment in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Atlas of Surveillance Project

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Atlas of Surveillance project is a US initiative that documents the use of police tech in communities around the country, using open source research.

Airwars: The Credibles


The Credibles project maps for the first time publicly confirmed (‘Credible’) Coalition civilian harm events in the war against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

Migration and Technology Monitor

The Migration and Technology Monitor aims to monitor the use of surveillance technologies, automation, and the use of Artificial Intelligence to screen, track, and make decisions about people crossing borders, highlighting the far reaching impacts on people’s rights and lives.

Article or Event Link
Dec 2, 2020



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