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Call for Papers: What Do We Know About War?

An EISA Workshop for Early Career Researchers

What Do We Know About War?

EISA Early Career Researcher Workshop - early September 2021 (exact date TBD)

Deadline for abstracts: May 14th 


Please submit abstracts of 250 words max to Michelle D. Weitzel and Raphaël Leduc at by 14 May 2021.

The study of war is foundational to the discipline of International Relations, yet war remains a highly contested concept. As an object of analysis, war spans diverse epistemological traditions as well as disciplines, and is tackled by varied and sometimes dissonant methods and methodologies. What is war? Do we need an ontology of war in order to isolate it as an object of research?  If not, how might we make sense of what Antoine Bousquet, Jairus Grove, and Nisha Shah have referred to as “war’s incessant becoming,” or the ever-changing, emergent, and generative character or war (Bousquet, Grove, Shah, 2020). War is at once a tool of domination and liberation, while also often thought of as the historical engine behind the creation of contemporary human institutions—chiefly the state. War acts as both a creative and destructive force in society. 


Some lines of research emphasize wars’ destructive potential and seek means by which to prevent, limit, or banish war. Others have argued that such a systematic stance against war risks ignoring crucial aspects pertaining to war’s role and form as a social activity. Such approaches privilege a research agenda focused on the experience of war and the ways in which such experiences embed themselves in other forms of politics and social engagement. Still others imagine war as a defined and bounded event that may be counted, measured, and compared across time and place. With this contemporary abundance of understandings and approaches, it is crucial that we take stock of how each approach might uniquely contribute to collective understandings of war and politics, but also to ask what current formulations miss.


This EISA early career scholar workshop seeks to gather contributions that engage these critical questions in order to assess the current state of War Studies and conceptualize fruitful ways forward. The goal is to bring together diverse approaches to the study of war to better understand the range of questions these approaches illuminate, as well as to understand what might be gained by thinking across different methodologies, paradigms, and ontological givens present in this rich field of inquiry. The workshop conveners encourage pluralism and diversity, with a particular interest in bringing voices, perspectives, and theories from the global discipline. We aim to create a space in which scholars may present innovative, creative, and rigorous approaches to the study of war and receive constructive feedback from senior scholars that advances both individual and collective thinking on war.


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