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:

CfP: Defining Canada, 1867-2017: values, practices and representations

International Conference / Congress of The French Association of Canadian Studies
Paris, 14-16 June 2017

On July 1st 2017, Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. On this historic occasion, the French Association of Canadian Studies (AFEC), in conjunction with the Research Center on Anglophone Cultures (LARCA) of Université Paris Diderot, will hold a conference to explore the evolution of Canada and what defines it. This conference intents to favor the historical perspective of the longue durée, by examining not only what defines Canada in 2017, but by comparing this with the way it was defined in 1867, at the time of Confederation, as well as in 1967, at the time of the centennial. To do so, the conference will be organized around three guiding lines that correspond to the values, the practices and the representations through which Canada is defined.

Abstracts can be submitted individually or as a panel (group of 4 proposals around the same topic), in French or in English.

Deadline to submit abstracts (400 words) along with a short bio (100 words), preferably in Word format: 1st July 2016

Notification of acceptance: 30 September 2016

Contact: Dr. Laurence CROS
Associate Professor, Canadian Studies,
Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7)

Selected papers from this conference will be published in the journal Études Canadiennes / Canadian Studies, first as a paper issue, followed one year later by a free-access electronic issue on http://eccs.revues.or/

Further information here.

BBC News – Viewpoint: Why God was not killed by the Great War

It’s a popular belief that the slaughter of World War One led millions to turn away from religion. But that’s not true, writes author Frank Cottrell Boyce.

For the full article, see here.

One of our research clusters is Global War and World Religions. If you are interesting in carrying out research in this area, then see here. We have a number of academics who are working on religion and the war, including Dr. Adrian Gregory, Prof. Derek Penslar and Dr. Karma Nabulsi. Please contact them directly to discuss your research interests and see here for more information on applying to the University of Oxford with your doctoral proposal.

Regent’s Park College: Free First World War Exhibition and Talks

The Angus Library and Archive currently has an exhibition, For Liberty against Tyranny, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The exhibition looks at the events of the First World War and how these affected the thoughts and actions of non-conformists. Featured will be never before seen items such as correspondence from Prime Minister David Lloyd George, emergency passports issued at the outbreak of war and photographs from international war fronts.

Two talks will accompany the exhibition:

Monday 10th November 6.30pm – ‘Global Religions and a Global War’ with Dr Adrian Gregory
Tuesday 11th November 6.30pm – ‘War, Peace and the Nonconformist Conscience’ with Professor Keith Robbins

Booking essential.

Workshop on the First World War and Global religions

Saturday 1 November at the Oxford Humanities Building.

This small informal workshop brought together participants from the Universities of Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Galway and Exeter to examine the relationship between the First World War and two global faiths: Islam and Roman Catholicism. This was to mark the centenary of Pope Benedict XV’s first encyclical addressing the warring nations and the declaration of Jihad in Constantinople. The intention was to break down boundaries between historians of Europe and other regions and to provoke new ideas about the transnational and comparative dimensions of religion in wartime. The discussion was wide ranging and lively. In the morning the social and cultural dimensions of quotidian religious practice were considered both within the armed forces of the opposing coalitions and amongst civilians. The practical significance of the proximity of places of worship, of the ability to conduct religious ritual and the role of both formal and informal ‘chaplaincy’ was explored.

After lunch, attention turned much more to the political and intellectual significance of the war. The conversation produced interesting insights into the tendency to overstate certain political responses amongst religious believers at the expense of others. Whilst bringing out clear differences in the operation of theological authority between the two faiths the conversation also suggested that specific networks of believers were perhaps more significant than overstating the universality of response. The dialogue between nationalism and religion remains significant.

There was a general feeling that this was an interesting and productive exercise which hopefully can be further sustained by this network. A more complete report will be posted shortly.

We would like to thank the The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH) for the venue, sandwiches and refreshments!