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 Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror after 9/11 (Declassified Edition)

 Ali Soufan, W. W. Norton & Company, Sept. 8, 2020 

When The Black Banners was published in 2011, significant portions of the text were redacted. After subsequent review by the Central Intelligence Agency, those redactions have been lifted. Their removal corrects the record on how vital intelligence was obtained from al-Qaeda suspects and brings forth important new details on the controversial use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) to extract information from terror suspects. For many years, proponents of the use of these techniques have argued that they produced actionable intelligence in the war on terror. This edition of The Black Banners explodes this myth; it shows Soufan at work using guile and intelligent questioning—not force or violence—to extract some of the most important confessions in the war, and it vividly recounts the failures of the government’s torture program. Drawing on Soufan’s experiences as a lead operative for the FBI and declassified government records, The Black Banners (Declassified) documents the intelligence failures that lead to the tragic attacks on New York and Washington, DC, and subsequently how torture derailed the fight against al-Qaeda. With this edition, eighteen years on from the first sanctioned enhanced interrogation technique, the public can finally read the complete story of what happened in their name after the events of 9/11.

X-Risk How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction

Thomas Moynihan, Urbanomic, 2020

“From global pandemics to prophecies of evil AI superintelligences to the impending perils of genome editing, our species is increasingly concerned with the prospects of its own extinction. With humanity’s future on this planet seeming more insecure by the day, the twenty-first century has seen ‘existential risk’ become the object of a growing field of serious scientific inquiry. Thomas Moynihan shows how, far from being a secular reprise of religious prophecies of apocalypse, existential risk is a thoroughly modern idea, made possible by the burgeoning sciences and philosophical tumult of the Enlightenment era.” - Urbanomic

Cities at War: Global Insecurity and Urban Resistance

Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen (eds.), 2020, Columbia University Press

“In Cities at War, Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen assemble an international team of scholars to examine cities as sites of contemporary warfare and insecurity. Reflecting Kaldor’s expertise on security cultures and Sassen’s perspective on cities and their geographies, they develop new insight into how cities and their residents encounter instability and conflict, as well as the ways in which urban forms provide possibilities for countering violence.” - Columbia University Press

The UN and Counter-Terrorism Global Hegemonies, Power and Identities

Alice Martini, 2021, Routledge

“This book traces the evolution of the UN Security Council’s actions against counter-terrorism and extremism. [It] examines the progression of the UN Security Council’s fight against international terrorism and its development of practices to prevent radicalisation and extremism. It also looks at the consequences of these processes and how they have deeply moulded global counter-terrorism... It argues that the very specific definition the Council provided on international terrorism in the 2000s is profoundly shaped by global hegemonies, relations of power shaping the international community, and its own identity.” - Routledge

The Ecological Impact of Militarism

John Scales Avery, 2020 (open access e-book)

An open access e-book by Scientist and academic, John Scales Avery, on the current state and history of Militarism's impact on global ecology.

The Deportation Machine: America's Long History of Expelling Immigrants

Adam Goodman, 2020, Princeton University Press

“Adam Goodman examines how federal, state, and local officials have targeted various groups for expulsion, from Chinese and Europeans at the turn of the twentieth century to Central Americans and Muslims today. He reveals how authorities have singled out Mexicans, nine out of ten of all deportees, and removed most of them not by orders of immigration judges but through coercive administrative procedures and calculated fear campaigns. Goodman uncovers the machine’s three primary mechanisms—formal deportations, “voluntary” departures, and self-deportations—and examines how public officials have used them to purge immigrants from the country and exert control over those who remain. Exposing the pervasive roots of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, The Deportation Machine introduces the politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and ordinary citizens who have pushed for and profited from expulsion.” - Princeton University Press

Resource Radicals From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador

Thea Riofrancos, 2020, Duke University Press

“In Resource Radicals, Thea Riofrancos unpacks the conflict between two leftisms: on the one hand, the administration's resource nationalism and focus on economic development; and on the other, the anti-extractivism of grassroots activists who condemned the government's disregard for nature and indigenous communities. In this archival and ethnographic study, she demonstrates how Ecuador's commodity-dependent economy and history of indigenous uprisings offer a unique opportunity to understand development, democracy, and the ecological foundations of global capitalism.” - Duke University Press

A region in revolt: Mapping the recent uprisings in North Africa and West Asia

Jade Saab, 2020, Daraja Press

The 2011 uprisings across the Arab world is commonly misunderstood as a failure, rather than a moment. A region in revolt: mapping the recent uprisings in North Africa and West Asia, locates the protests that shook the region in 2011 as part of a much broader process that stems from a deep structural crisis in the region - something that is beginning to arouse a second wave of revolt. This book provides a first comprehensive overview of this second wave, which is here analyzed from the standpoint of the popular struggle.


Violent International Relations

Lucas Van Milders & Harmonie Toros, 2020

The central question of this article is: can International Relations (IR) be studied without reproducing its violence? By exploring the disciplinary practices firmly grounded in relations of coloniality that plague disciplines more broadly, and IR in particular, the authors lay bare how increasing demands on IR scholars to become ‘international experts’ having impact on the policy world is pushing them more and more into spaces governed by colonial violence they are unable to escape. They conclude that IR does not need to be abandoned, but rather, by taking on a position of discomfort, needs to acknowledge its violence and attempt to mitigate it – one almost insignificant step at a time.

Special Issue: Facing Human Interconnections: Thinking IR into the Future

International Relations, September 2020

A special issue from International Relations journal covering topics of migration, climate change, cyber security and geopolitics. 

Special Issue: Critical Studies on Security 

Critical Studies on Security, September 2020

A special issue from the Critical Studies on Security Journal of the encounter between Science and Technology Studies and Critical Security Studies.

The political use of victimhood: Spanish collective memory of ETA through the war on terror paradigm

Heath-Kelly, C., Fernández de Mosteyrín, L. 2020. 

In this article, the authors explore how discourses of the global war on terror are imported into Spanish political history and memory. Through a case study of the Basque Homeland and Liberty organisation (ETA), it explores the ways in which Spanish counter-extremism has been shaped by the global war on terror and how this has served to legitimize the casting of the ETA as apolitical, pathological terrorism. Central to the propagation of this discourse are the victims of terrorism themselves.  

Global Autocracies: Strategies of Transnational Repression, Legitimation, and Co-Optation in World Politics

Gerasimos Tsourapas, 2020

This article argues that the rise of global migration flows has contributed to the emergence of “transnational authoritarianism” as autocracies aim to both maximize material gains from citizens’ “exit” and minimize political risks by controlling their “voice” abroad. Governments develop strategies of transnational repression, legitimation, and co-optation that transcend state borders, as well as co-operation with a range of non-state actors.

Women in Northern African History

Natalya Vince, Fadma Ait Mous, and Kmar Bendana, 2020

This article surveys the continuities and differences of political and social histories of 20th century Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria that led to the emergence of individual women as political actors. It explores how, on their own terms, social and political dynamics at different times in these countries led to varying increases in women’s access to power, public visibility, access to political rights, and social freedoms.

Land grabs reexamined: Gulf Arab agro-commodity chains and spaces of extraction

Christian Henderson, 2020

This article reexamines the practice of land grabs by Gulf states in other countries of the region by illustrating how these extractive enclosures have become integrated into commodity chains. In doing so, the ways in which these projects create unequal surplus transfer between host country and Gulf states, how they facilitate the social and economic growth that sustains the survival of ruling monarchies, and how they constitute a part of the growing multipolarity in the regional and global economy, can be better understood. 

Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars

Brown University

This paper calculates the total number of displaced people in the eight post-9/11 wars in which U.S. forces have been most significantly involved, focussing on wars where the US military bears a clear responsibility for initiating armed combat or for being a significant participant in combat through drone strikes, battlefield advising, logistical support, arms sales, and other means. Their findings estimate 37 million people - that could be as high as 59 million - have been displaced as a result of these wars.

Water weaponization in the Syrian conflict: strategies of domination and cooperation

Marwa Daoudy, 2020 

Through a case study of state and non-state actors in the Syrian conflict, this article explores the ways in which water can be weaponized both as a military tool or target, as a means of domination and legitimacy, and as a vehicle of cooperation; all of which involve the use of violence for strategic gain. In doing so, it outlines a new framework to classify strategies of water weaponization and the historical process that shape them. 

Society & Space, Volume 38 Issue 5

Society and Space, September 2020

New issue from Society & Space with articles on race relations, nationalism, migration, and gender.

Competitive Governance and Displacement Decisions Under Rebel Rule: Evidence from the Islamic State in Iraq

Mara Redlich Revkin, 2020

This article looks at displacement during the Islamic State’s rule in Mosul and finds that citizens’ decisions to leave or stay under the rebel regime were not only a result of social and economic factors (commonly agreed upon in the displacement literature), but also their experience with bad governance, weak rule and law affected decisions. The study finds that a significant minority of Mosul’s residents decided to stay in part because of the poor governance and services they received under government control. 

Rethinking border walls as fluid meshworks

Umut Ozguc, 2020

This article offers an alternative understanding of walls by suggesting a shift in border studies from network thinking to meshwork thinking. Through a case study of the Separation Wall in the West Bank, it reimagines the border beyond sovereign–disciplinary–biopolitical networks and assemblages and argues that border walls are constituted by and constitutive of the ever-shifting transformative movements of lines.

War, Resistance, and “Combatant Identity:” Hezbollah’s Political Identity and the Legacy of Conflict

Benedetta Berti, 2020

This article explores the question of how rebel groups frame their wartime combatant identity in the context of their postwar political discourse. It traces the evolution of Hezbollah’s combatant identity and it examines how, over time, the group’s combatant identity, centered on the narrative of resistance, has been embedded and reframed to craft a broader political identity that shapes the group’s political behavior and strategies.

The Carter Center: U.S. and European Sanctions on Syria

The Carter Center, 2020

This report provides an overview of US and European sanctions on Syria, their impact, and the potential lifting of these sanctions.

Conferences/Calls for Papers or Abstracts

Call for Book Chapters: EU Conditionality in Turkey: When it works? When it fails?

Cenap Cakmak, Professor of International Law and Politics, Anadolu University

Abstract deadline: September 30, 2020

This edited volume seeks to address several interconnected questions on the terms, circumstances and factors that make the dynamics of conditionality work or fail in the case of the EU-Turkey relationship. The contributors are expected to write a chapter focusing on one of the cases that can be associated with one or more chapters of the accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU. The analysis should be mainly based on primary sources and should be empirically and/or theoretically supported. There is no specific length requirement but anything in the 7-9,000-word range should be sufficient to provide a convincing argument. Those who are interested should first send a 300-word abstract to the editor Dr. Cenap Çakmak

Call for Papers Special Issue: Institutionalized Racism in Everyday Policing

Conflict and Society journal

Abstract deadline: October 1, 2020

Conflict and Society journal is seeking to publish the work of critical scholars who aim to challenge the structural conditions of inequality that nurture institutionalized racism. In the issue of 2022, they would like to make a special section that focuses on institutionalized racism in everyday policing, and the relationship between diverse case-studies. They explicitly invite contributions from beyond the US and Western European context in order to highlight the multiplicity of ways in which policing and institutionalized racism are entangled. 

Call for Abstracts: “Interrogating the Social Sciences in the Vortex of Crises: Waves of Discontent and Demands for Change”


Deadline: October 7, 2020

The conference is open to papers from all social science and allied disciplines and to scholars from the Arab region and the rest of the world. Applicants must hold at least an MA degree and be actively engaged in social science research. Papers may examine contemporary or historical phenomena. Comparative, cross-regional and global perspectives are particularly encouraged.

Call for Applications: Early Career Researchers’ Interdisciplinary Seminar Series on Politics of the Middle East

October 20, 2020

This is a cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional seminar series which aims to bring together a diverse body of early career researchers (Postdoc, PhD, and advanced masters), with critical interest in the Middle East region. It addresses the need for early career researchers working on that area to have a forum where they can: (1) present their work and receive feedback from peers and senior academics in the field, (2) engage with contemporary research designs and debates, and (3) develop trans-disciplinary and cross-institutional relationships with a view to facilitating further collaborations.

Call for Papers: Decolonization Workshop

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Deadline: October 28, 2020

The Institute for Commonwealth Studies is inviting summary proposals (of no more than 200 words) for papers on subjects linked to the theme of decolonization, along with a brief biographical note for a series of panel discussions in their upcoming Decolonizaiton workshop. 

Call for Proposals: International Conference "Migrating World: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Migration and Integration"

London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

Proposal deadline: October 31, 2020

The international interdisciplinary conference "Migrating World: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Migration and Integration" aims to bring together scholars from around the world to exchange and share their ideas and research findings in all relevant aspects of migration and integration. It will provide an effective interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of migration, integration and cultural diversity.

Call for papers - The Middle East c.1960-1980 - Global and Transnational Perspectives

St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

Deadline to be announced

In recent years the “global 1960s” and the “global 1970s” have been the focus of much interest, popular as well as scholarly, but this interest has largely concerned itself with western Europe and the USA. This conference seeks to integrate the Middle East into the global perspectives used to understand these two decades.

Call for papers: Ten Years after the Arab Uprisings: Beyond Media and Liberation

Cogitatio Press

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 December 2020

Submission of Full Papers: 15-30 April 2021

Publication of the Issue: October/December 2021


The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships

Deadline: October 14, 2020

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships is a three year award made to an annual cohort of outstanding early career researchers in the humanities or social sciences.

Introducing the 2020 Freedom Scholars

Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation

The $3 million Freedom Scholars program is a commitment to scholarship that is rooted in and supports movements led by Black and Indigenous people, migrants, queer and poor people, and People of Color. The awards support scholars who are shifting the balance of power to families and communities that have been historically excluded from the resources and benefits of society.

Calls for proposals: A Right to the Discipline Grant


Deadline: February 28, 2021

Antipode is seeking proposals for research and writing, as well as less traditional scholarly forms, that might find a home in the pages of Antipode or on, the journal’s companion website. Such work will make a significant contribution towards transforming radical/critical geography into something more diverse, equitable and inclusive, making space for the voices of silenced or unheard struggles and emerging movements, pushing debates forward in novel ways of taking discussions in new directions.


Drone Futures: Antoine Bousquet + Jairus Grove, "Martial Autonomies: Rise of War Machines"

(September 2, 2020)

Antoine Bousquet of Birkbeck and Jairus Grove of Hawaii in dialogue discuss what it really means for weapons of the past and future to be autonomous. They ask us to reconsider the framing of autonomy versus automated and to what extent they are conceptually distinct.

U.S. policy on Syria: Is regime change worth state failure?

Quincy Institute

September 10, 2020

A discussion between Rim Turkmani, Michael Doran, and Professor Steven Simon on US policy in Syria. 

Critical studies on terrorism and counter-terrorism conference 2020

The Critical Studies on Terrorism group (BISA)

The Critical Studies on Terrorism group of British International Studies Association has published parts of their annual conference held on 10 September 2020. You can listen to both the keynote speech and a roundtable: 'Rethinking CST' which was chaired by convener Raquel da Silva.

Towards a critical security politics

British International Studies Association, October 2

This roundtable brings together different subfields beyond ‘security studies’ narrowly defined, in order to discuss alternative visions of security. What areas are often overlooked in academic engagement with security? How can we, as scholars, better understand the practical processes underlying security policy-making? Can we – or should we – intervene in them?

Tip of the Spear: How Mariana Islanders See Their Relationship with the US Military

Northern Marianus Humanities Council

October 2, 2020

Sophia Perez shares her work compiling a series of interviews to unpack the complex relationship between US forces and Mariana Islanders in relation to proposed large-scale military buildup and live-fire ranges on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

UMass Amherst Feinberg Series: Planet on a Precipice

A free online lecture series from September 2020 - March 2021

The Feinburg series is hosting a series of free, open to all, online lectures concerning the histories and futures of the global environmental emergency, looking at its roots and what can be done.

Rethinking the ‘State’ in Syria: Violence, Institutional Fragility and Economic Collapse 24-25 September 2020, online

Middle East Directions, COAR

The conference will provide academic analysis and fieldwork-research findings on the main local dynamics and actors to question the features of the state ‘from below’ after nine years of conflict. The Syria conflict has fundamentally transformed Syria’s centralized authoritarian security state. It has resulted in territorial, security and economic fragmentation, in the failure of the central State to restore order and face economic challenges, and in the military interventions of external actors. Will post-conflict Syria be marked by a transactional state, a failed state or a fierce state? What are the implications for the international Syria response? 

SOAS Department of Anthropology and & Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

SOAS Department of Anthropology is hosting a series of online lectures through October to December on race, migration and diaspora politics. 

Navigating North Africa in 2020: Dominating Narratives and New Perspectives

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies, King's College London

October 6, 2020

North Africa is rapidly transforming, but each of its five constituent countries are following markedly different trajectories. This online conference will identify cross-cutting themes and provide unique insights into the current challenges facing the countries that constitute this rapidly-transforming region.

Una Nueva Crisis? Reflecting upon MAS' legacy and the Future of Bolivia


October 8 - 9, 2020

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) present a panel discussion with journalist Linda Farthing and Pablo Solón, (Director of Fundacion Solon and Former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN) on the upcoming elections in Bolivia. Moderated by Bret Gustafson (Washington University in St. Louis).

Arms Manufacturers: Exporting Death to Yemen

Campaign Against the Arms Trade

October 6, 2020zProfessor Anna Stavrianakis outlines the complicity of UK arms manufacturers and Westminster government in breach of international law on sale of arms to regimes recognized by the same government as breaking human rights law. And then Yasmin Luqman, a British Yemeni activist, responds.

Challenging Canada’s $19 Billion Warplane Purchase

The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute & World Beyond War

October 15, 2020

Join a webinar with Green MP Paul Manly, NDP MP Leah Gazan and researcher & activist Tamara Lorincz on October 15 about the social, ecological and economic impact of Canada’s plan to purchase new fighter jets.

Book Launch: Border Frictions: Gender, Generation and Technology on the Frontline by Karine Côté-Boucher

Security Flows, Research Centre in International Relations (RCIR)

October 22, 2020

Security Flows, Research Centre in International Relations (RCIR) and the Research Theme in International Relations & Ethics will host Dr Karine Côté-Boucher to launch her new book Border Frictions: Gender, Generation and Technology on the Frontline. The discussion will be chaired by Dr Sarah Perret, research associate and member of the Security Flows Project. Register here .


British uniform catalog Bobbies in Babylon: Colonialism, Racism, and British Policing

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

October 27 — November 17, 2020

This course offers an interdisciplinary overview of the racism of British policing and its colonial roots. Using archival footage and texts, [it] will begin by investigating how colonial policing presented itself as a battle for “hearts and minds,” uncovering hidden histories of surveillance, violence, and collective punishment which disrupt popular perceptions of a peaceful end to Empire. [it] will focus on how racialized technologies of control were imported to the mother country, to control the “colored” immigrants for whom a more confrontational form of policing was needed. Lastly, on the 21st-century “war on terror” and “war on gangs,” charting the influence which racialized ideas and tactics of colonial policing on policing today. Why, to echo the Black Lives Matter slogan, is the UK “not innocent."

Job Openings

Associate/Assistant Professor: Cluster Hire in Latinx Studies

Duke University

Duke University Trinity College of Arts and Sciences seeks distinguished candidates for two tenure-track professorships in Latinx Studies. These hires are part of an effort to increase the number of faculty with global perspectives and expertise across core departments, with support from the Office of the Provost and funded by The Duke Endowment.


New Books Network discussion with Jacob Mundy, Libya

A discussion with Jacob Mundy and New Books Network discussion with Jacob Mundy about his most recent book, Libya. Mundy guides audiences through the intricate maze of Libyan and foreign actors and institutions that define modern day Libya and its series of conflicts.

Article or Event Link
Oct 4, 2020



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