CfP: Close Encounters in War – Special Issue

Close Encounters in War Journal is a new independent and peer-reviewed journal aimed at studying war as a human experience, through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches ranging from the Humanities to the Social Sciences. The launch issue (n. 0) of Close Encounters in War Journal will be a Special Issue dedicated specifically to irregular warfare and titled “Close encounters in irregular and asymmetric warfare”.

Wars in general are cultural phenomena, among the most ancient and deeply rooted aspects of human cultural evolution: investigating their meaning, by reflecting on the ways we experience wars and conflicts as human beings is therefore essential. Conflict is deeply intertwined with language, culture, instincts, passions, behavioural patterns and with the human ability to represent concepts aesthetically. The concept of “encounter” is therefore fundamental as it involves experience, and as a consequence it implies the idea that the fact of encountering war shapes and develops our minds and affects our behaviour, questioning habits and values, prejudices and views of the world.

One of the most ancient types of warfare is what today is referred to as ‘irregular warfare’, as opposed to ‘conventional warfare’, which is a relatively more recent development. The combat strategies and tactics used by tribal warriors, modern guerrillas, resistance fighters and terrorists have recently been attracting the attention of military historians, strategists and intelligence experts due to the widespread terror threat, but how do human beings experience this particular type of warfare? Does it seem more threatening and scary because it can involve civilians more deeply? or because it blurs the traditional idea of war as open confrontation with a recognisable enemy? What drives non-combatants to arm themselves and become fighters? Is irregular warfare more violent, brutal and dehumanising than conventional warfare and if so, why? What is their cultural, linguistic and anthropological impact? And finally, is irregular warfare adopted also by regular armies? What is the impact of such warfare on the war-experience of the combatants involved?

For the launch issue (n. 0) of Close Encounters in War we invite articles which investigate irregular and asymmetric conflicts from ancient times to modern and contemporary periods, reaching beyond the study of military tactics and strategy and focusing on the way human beings ‘encounter’ with and within this type of armed conflict. Contributions are invited to promote discussion and scholarly research from established scholars, early-career researchers, and from practitioners who have encountered irregular warfare in the course of their activities.

The topics which can be investigated include but are not limited to:

Irregular, asymmetric and unconventional warfare
Insurgency and counterinsurgency
Resistance and partisan war
Terrorism and counter-terrorism
Violence and trauma
Cultural encounters and identity
Representations of otherness, race, and gender
Religion and politics
Testimonies, witness-representations, oral history and memory studies

The editors of Close Encounters in War invite the submission of 3-500 words abstracts in English by 15th November 2017. Decisions will be made by 2nd January 2018 and the completed articles (6000-8000 words including footnotes, bibliography excluded, in English) will be expected by 15th April 2018. All contributions will go under a process of blind peer-review.

Contact Info:
The editors of CEIW Journal can be contacted via the website
or at:

Conference: Peripheral Visions: European Soldiers and Cultural Encounters in the Long Nineteenth Century

Trinity College Dublin
2 – 4 June 2016

From the late 18th to the early 20th centuries, European powers mounted military expeditions to the eastern periphery of the continent and to the edge of what they considered to be the ‘civilized’ world. From the Napoleonic expeditions to Italy, Egypt and Russia to the British conquest of Egypt in the 1880s, and from the German Empire’s involvement with the Ottoman Empire to the British and French campaigns in Macedonia and Palestine during the First World War, European soldiers ventured into exotic lands. In so doing, they experienced the unknown while also confronting their own cultural pre-conceptions about the territories they visited and the people against or amongst whom they fought. Often the places they invested were redolent with European cultural significance (Rome, Egypt, Jerusalem), a significance belied by the modern realities of those same sites. In making war, they mapped a Europe of their own imagining. Yet because they engaged in the overt violence of war and the more covert violence of occupation, their encounters were not those of tourists, traders or travel writers, though they certainly contained elements of all three. There was a military specificity to what they saw, to whom they encountered and to how they did so. The encounters were important for the soldiers themselves, for their home countries and for the societies to which they went. Indeed, in terms of numbers and influence, these militarized encounters were one of the most important ways in which Europeans engaged with the eastern and southern periphery of their continent in the course of the long 19th century.

The conference is open to interested scholars. We request intending participants to register (with no charge) in advance. In order to do so, and for all further information, please contact: Dr Fergus Robson ( or Dr Mahon Murphy (

Further information and conference programme: Peripheral Visions Conference Programme