Workshop Call for papers – The University of Glasgow, 22-23 November 2018

The Political Economy of Insurgency-Smugglers, Black Markets, and Proxy Forces

The Understanding Insurgencies Network will be holding its seventh workshop at the University of Glasgow on 22-23 November 2018. The focus of the workshop will be on the political economy of insurgency and counter-insurgency. The organisers invite proposals for 20 minutes papers that address one or more of the following questions:

  1. Are anti-colonial insurgencies and the repression they elicited better understood as variants of civil war in which insecurity is a critical determinant of collective violence? What, in other words, were the commonalities of state breakdown and consequent socio-economic insecurity that drove anti-colonial insurgencies?
  2. How far did political economy factors shape counter-insurgent strategy through attempts to restore administrative apparatus, economic activity and social stability? Linked to this, what was the relationship between counterinsurgency and ‘development’?
  3. How successful were anti-colonial insurgent movements at building so-called ‘shadow states’?
  4. To what extent did the development of illicit economies during colonial conflicts shape insurgent and counter-insurgent strategy?
  5. How useful are concepts such ‘patronage politics’ and ‘political entrepreneurs’ for explaining state collapse and insurgency in colonial and postcolonial contexts?
  6. If political economy is a valuable tool when it comes to explaining the outbreak and dynamics of colonial conflicts, how can historians use material approaches to explain the ending of insurgencies?

The workshop is principally concerned with cases drawn from the European empires and the contiguous empires of Russia, the United States and East Asia but papers dealing with the political economy of insurgency and counterinsurgency in other contexts are welcome. Proposals of 300 words should be submitted to the conference organisers by: 24th October 2018. 

About the Network:

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the network brings together seven University partners: Exeter, Oxford, Warwick, Glasgow, CNRS Paris, Université de Québec, and KITLV Leiden.

In spite of increasing interest in the history of counterinsurgency and empire, we lack comparative studies of colonial responses to armed insurrection, civil disorder, anti-colonial paramilitaries and other irregular forces. The Network seeks to redress this imbalance by analysing colonial counterinsurgency and its contemporary legacies from a comparative perspective through a series of workshop events. These workshops will allow specialist scholars from the UK and overseas to refine ideas about the nature of late colonial conflict, the ways in which colonial security forces responded to it, and the ensuing patterns of violence, rights abuses, and legacies of inter-communal distrust that resulted.

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