October 2022 Monthly Digest - Tenth digest of 2022
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The War in Court
Inside the Long Fight against Torture
How hundreds of lawyers mobilized to challenge the illegal treatment of prisoners captured in the war on terror and helped force an end to the US government's most odious policies.
In The War in Court, sociologist Lisa Hajjar traces the fight against US torture policy by lawyers who brought the "war on terror" into courts. Their victories, though few and far between, forced the government to change the way prisoners were treated and focused attention on state crimes perpetrated in the shadows. If not for these lawyers and their allies, US torture would have gone unchallenged because elected officials and the American public, with a few exceptions, did nothing to oppose it. This war in court has been fought to defend the principle that there is no legal right to torture.
Told as a suspenseful, high-stakes story, The War in Court clearly outlines why challenges to the torture policy had to be waged on the legal terrain and why hundreds of lawyers joined the fight. Drawing on extensive interviews with key participants, her own experiences reporting from Guantánamo, and her deep knowledge of international law and human rights, Hajjar reveals how the ongoing fight against torture has had transformative effects on the legal landscape in the United States and on a global scale.
Yemen in the Shadow of Transition
Pursuing Justice Amid War
Stacey Philbrick Yadav
Responding to a diplomatic stalemate and a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, Yemen’s civil actors work every day to build peace in fragmented local communities across the country. This book shows how their efforts relate to longstanding justice demands in Yemeni society, and details three decades of alternating elite indifference toward, or strategic engagement with, questions of justice.
Exploring the transformative impact of the 2011 uprising and Yemenis’ substantive wrestling with questions of justice in the years that followed, leading Yemen scholar Stacey Philbrick Yadav shows how the transitional process was ultimately overtaken by war, and explains why features of the transitional framework nevertheless remain a central reference point for civil actors engaged in peacebuilding today. In the absence of a negotiated settlement, everyday peacebuilding has become a new site for justice work, as an arena in which civil actors enjoy agency and social recognition. Drawing on seventeen years of field research and interviews with civil actors, Yadav positions Yemen’s non-combatants not–or not only–as victims of conflict, but as political agents imagining and enacting the justice they wish to see.
The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War
CHARTING THE RISE AND FALL OF U.S. MILITARY EMISSIONS
By Neta C. Crawford
How the Pentagon became the world’s largest single greenhouse gas emitter and why it’s not too late to break the link between national security and fossil fuel consumption.
The military has for years (unlike many politicians) acknowledged that climate change is real, creating conditions so extreme that some military officials fear future climate wars. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Defense—military forces and DOD agencies—is the largest single energy consumer in the United States and the world’s largest institutional greenhouse gas emitter. In this eye-opening book, Neta Crawford traces the U.S. military’s growing consumption of energy and calls for a reconceptualization of foreign policy and military doctrine. Only such a rethinking, she argues, will break the link between national security and fossil fuels.
The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War shows how the U.S. economy and military together have created a deep and long-term cycle of economic growth, fossil fuel use, and dependency. This cycle has shaped U.S. military doctrine and, over the past fifty years, has driven the mission to protect access to Persian Gulf oil. Crawford shows that even as the U.S. military acknowledged and adapted to human-caused climate change, it resisted reporting its own greenhouse gas emissions.
Lectures & Webinars
Guantanamo’s Legacy: From a Legal Black Hole to a Battleground in The Fight Against Torture
Ida Noyes Hall, 3rd Floor (and livestreamed), 1212 E. 59th St. 3rd Floor, The University of Chicago
Tuesday, Nov 8, 2022 6 – 7:30 pm
Lisa Hajjar will discuss her new book, The War in Court: Inside the Long Fight against Torture, with a particular focus on the legal battles over the treatment of people detained at Guantanamo.
Twenty years have passed since the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo Bay. Those who took up the fight against the government over torture, forced disappearance, protracted incommunicado detention, and invented law-of-war offenses in the military commissions were lawyers.
Knowledge at Risk: Questioning Research on the Middle East
Join Dr. Seteney Shami, ACSS Director General, for her talk: at the Rethinking Area Studies seminar.
Thursday, November 3, 2022
Time: 12:30pm ET (7:30pm Beirut time)
To join this virtual talk: https://bit.ly/3eZFPCV
The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War
Tuesday, November 1 at 12 pm ET.
with Neta Crawford and former California Governor Jerry Brown. Former Congressman John Tierney will moderate.
The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest single energy consumer in the United States and the world’s largest institutional greenhouse gas emitter. In The Pentagon, Climate Change and War, University of Oxford Professor and Quincy non-resident fellow Neta Crawford traces the link between US military primacy and rising greenhouse gas emissions. Is there a way for the US to break this link? Could a more restrained U.S. foreign policy end the cycle of high military spending and damaging climate costs by reducing American dependence on overseas interventions?
Journal Articles / Papers
Eco-war tourism: Affective geographies, colonial durabilities and the militarization of conservation
This article introduces ‘eco-war tourism’, a growing niche in which tourists venture into war zones to seek adventure and ‘save’ nature from its violent surroundings. In Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, such tourists can experience the ‘threat of mortality’ while visiting mountain gorillas, contribute to the survival of the park and supposedly participate in regional peacebuilding. This article considers how the amalgamated commodification of war and gorillas leads to the bunkerization of tourism, the reconfiguration of space into ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ areas and the militarization of conservation. It links critical security studies and political ecology to theorize how eco-war tourism intensifies green militarization and how militarized conservation itself becomes a spectacularized tourist attraction. Eco-war tourism is informed by, and productive of, various affective geographies, entrenched in colonial durabilities that produce Eurocentric ideas about how and by whom nature should be protected. I call for critical security studies to examine how diverse security interventions – e.g. military, tourism, humanitarianism and conservation – are entangled in and reconfigure inherently political nature–society relations and underscore the futility of approaching ‘society’ and ‘the environment’ as separate fields of security.
The militarization of digital surveillance in post-coup Zimbabwe: ‘Just don’t tell them what we do’
While a large body of research has documented and theorized digital surveillance practices in various political contexts, little has been done to investigate the growing trend of military-driven digital surveillance practices in semi-authoritarian regimes. In this article, I use the case of the surveillance practices of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to argue that scholarship needs to (re)evaluate this emerging trend. The article has three aims: first, it explores military-driven surveillance capabilities, the circulation of such capabilities and the surveillance tactics emerging in the semi-authoritarian context of Zimbabwe. Second, it examines the interface of factionalism and politics within the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and how this influences quotidian military-driven digital surveillance practices. Third, it locates military-driven surveillance practices within a growing and complex global political economy of trade in surveillance technologies that is centred on China. In doing so, the article helps locate a largely neglected but increasing practice of military-driven surveillance that is incrementally reconfiguring surveillance practices and architectures in semi-authoritarian regimes. Such a form of surveillance provides gateways for human rights abuses and shrinks the civilian spaces of protest and engagement, leading to digital authoritarianism. The article therefore calls for greater scrutiny of the emerging practice of military-driven digital surveillance in semi-authoritarian political contexts.
Threat Inflation, Russian Military Weakness, and the Resulting Nuclear Paradox: Implications of the War in Ukraine for U.S. Military Spending
Lyle J. Goldstein
If the U.S. and NATO increase their military spending and conventional forces in Europe, the weakness of Russian conventional military forces could prompt Moscow to rely more heavily on its nuclear forces. This paper lays out the case for why the United States should not engage in threat inflation when it comes to Russia, or use Russia as an excuse to expand the military budget.
While the Russian military maintains the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry, the Russian defense budget amounts to less than 1/10 of the U.S. defense budget, just 1/5 of NATO (non-U.S.) spending, and just 6% of the NATO defense spending on aggregate. Though U.S. military spending has long surpassed Russian military spending, it escalated dramatically above Russia’s spending in the post-9/11 era. Russia has invested far fewer resources in its military than the U.S. and views its own military strength as lagging very significantly behind the U.S.
De-escalatory approaches would include, at a minimum: direct talks, reviving the arms control agenda, and pursuing military confidence building measures between NATO countries and Russia.
Western strategists have a long tradition of overinflating Russia as a threat. One example is the promotion by U.S. politicians of a false “missile gap” with the USSR in the early decades of the Cold War, which accelerated an arms race that resulted in wasteful and dangerous arsenals of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons on both sides.
Changing scenes of security in the time of the coronavirus pandemic
In early 2020, as many parts of the world went into unprecedented lockdowns, senior EU officials stated that only a united approach would enable Europe to address a pandemic that was endangering the security of individuals and societies. In the words of the European Commission President, "in this crisis, and in our Union more generally, it is only by helping each other that we can help ourselves' (Von der 2020). In this context, it is important to ask: how has the European (in)security environment evolved in the context of the COVID pandemic? This article addresses that question by drawing on insights from the field of Critical Security Studies (CSS) and post-colonial/post- socialist perspectives. Those insights help us understand how, contrary to statements of solidarity issued by senior EU politicians, the pandemic has accentuated structural inequalities and the condition of (in)security experienced by many vulnerable individuals across Europe. The focus in this article is on developments concerning Central Europe, in an attempt to advance understanding of the important - yet still under-studied - role played by post-socialist spaces in the redefinition of the (in)security environment in Europe and, more broadly, in the (re)construction of the EU (see also Mälksoo 2021; Lovec, Koci, and Sabié et al. 2021). Understanding developments in post-socialist spaces enables us to shed light on similarities between the dehumanising practices enacted by Central European governments and by their West European counterparts, and deepens knowledge of the conflicts and contradictions that lie at the heart of European politics. Central to these contradictions is the growing clash between liberal/illiberal ideas and political forces that has profoundly affected EU politics in recent years, and that has become particularly acute in the context of the COVID pandemic.
Open Rank Faculty Search in Political Economy
Johns Hopkins University: Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: SNF Agora Institute
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Agora Institute's Center for Economy and Society (CES) at Johns Hopkins University is conducting an open-rank search for two professorships in political economy. Successful candidates will have their tenure lines in both a university department as well as in the SNF Agora Institute, and will be expected to help building the programing of CES and engage fully with the SNF Agora community.
All applicants should submit a letter of interest that describes their research agenda and alignment with the mission of CES, writing sample, and curriculum vitae. In addition, candidates applying at the level of assistant professor should send three letters of recommendation.
Review of applications will begin on Monday, October 17, 2022. We encourage all applicants to be finished submitting their application by this date. However, rolling acceptance of applications will be allowed until the positions are filled. The positions will commence on July 1, 2023. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
Assistant/Associate/Full Professor (Open Rank)
Politics & International Relations Conflict Management & Humanitarian Action Critical Security Studies
The deadline is January 10, 2023.
The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies seeks distinguished applications for a full-time faculty positions (open rank) shared between Politics & International Relations Program, Critical Securities Studies Program, or Conflict Management & Humanitarian Action Program. The appointment is scheduled for Aug 2023.
The successful candidate should be able to
- Teach courses across the three programs.
- Teach one or more of the following topics: Post-war state building, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction, armed conflict management, non-state actors, cybersecurity and counter-terrorism.
- Conduct research and publish in peer-reviewed journals and/or reputable academic publishing houses.
- Supervise MA theses across the three programs.
- Serve on committees at the Program, School, and Institute levels.
Exploring Chinese Soft Power with Maria Repnikova
Juliet and Erik are joined by Maria Repnikova to talk about her book, "Chinese soft power," Confucius Institutes, China's love for spectacle, and of course, how all this and more applies to the Belt and Road. What is soft power? How is China doing when it comes to soft power projection around the world? Listen to find out!