Feb
21
1:00 pm13:00

The Moral and ‘Real’ Economy of  the People’s War: the Making of the Maoist Base Area during the Conflict in Nepal (1996-2006) by Dr Ina Zharkevich

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Drawing on ethnographic research in the wartime capital of the Maoist base area in Nepal, this presentation explores the historic and social processes through which a remote Nepal village was forged as a centre of the Maoist heartland where Maoist guerrillas enjoyed strong popular support among civilians. By drawing on events leading to the break out of the war, I will show that notions of justice and morality played an important role in the eyes of the villagers for accepting the war as ‘theirs’ and the Maoist people’s government as their ‘state’. By exploring people’s reactions towards Maoist economic policies during the war, I scrutinize the notion of popular support for the guerrillas and show that it involved a more complex inter-play of interests and sentiments than ideological affinity, including moral solidarity, kinship allegiances, and compliance with the Maoist regime of power during the war. Illuminating how the mobilisation into the Maoist Movement and the Maoist project of social transformation became possible through a whole range of  social and personal relationships, emotional and affective ties as well as people’s embodied selves, this presentation seeks to demonstrate the centrality of social, not only military or political processes for understanding contemporary conflicts  and highlight the importance of kinship, affective, and moral ties in the making of contemporary revolutions/guerrilla enclaves.

Ina Zharkevich is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University, whose current research focuses on the impact of wide-scale outmigration from Nepal on kinship, gender, and generational relations in the communities of origin. Ina received her doctorate in Development Studies in 2014 (Univeristy of Oxford). Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the former Maoist heartland of Nepal, Ina’s doctoral project explored processes of norm-remaking and social changed triggered by the Maoist insurgency in Nepal; Ina had also worked on ‘child-soldiers’ and young people’s mobilisation into the Maoist Movement of Nepal. 

Feb
28
1:00 pm13:00

Conflict and Migration: From Consensual Movement to Exploitation by Organised Crime by Dr Sasha Jesperson

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50. 

Conflict and political violence is a major driver for migration flows. People smuggling has become a lucrative trade for organised crime groups moving people to safety. The involvement of organised crime groups however, has blurred the division between consensual, often paid for, migration, and coercive or exploitative migration linked to human trafficking and slavery. While conflict is pushing people into migration, migration is also creating tensions at migratory hubs. In this seminar, the blurred distinctions between different migrants will be discussed, considering their linkage with conflict – whether as a push factor, a result of migration flows, or a hub of exploitative practices. The exploitative and coercive end of this spectrum will be probed in more depth, looking at the implications for victims of trafficking or exploitation and how the current response to migration responds to their needs.

Sasha Jesperson is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University Twickenham. Before coming to St Mary’s, Sasha was leading research on organised crime at the Royal United Services Institute, working closely with government departments to ensure that research is useful for strengthening policymaking on organised crime. Her research background is on organised crime and particularly the role of development is preventing and responding to criminal activity.
Sasha completed her PhD at the London School of Economics. Her research examined international initiatives to address organised crime through peace building missions under the framework of the security-development nexus, comparing examples from Sierra Leone and Bosnia. Sasha also completed an MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and worked for Amnesty International for three years, primarily focusing on human rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts.

 

Mar
6
10:30 am10:30

Military Doctrine: Past, Present, and Future

Following on from two recent events on ‘Strategy’ and ‘Operational Art’, this study day seeks to consider conceptual and policy questions relating to military doctrine. Its aim is to ask questions as to how the formulation of military doctrine can be better understood and improved. Are there, for example, different types of doctrine, or does doctrine form contrasting functions in war and peace? Can the UK improve its processes of doctrine writing by taking note of the lessons of the past? In keeping with the traditions of the CCW Programme, the study aims to bring Security Studies specialists, historians and practitioners together in order to throw more light on an important, but often overlooked, dimension to military thought, training and planning.

Mar
7
1:00 pm13:00

'The Devastation is Very Important to Me': Donald Trump and Nuclear Weapons by Jeffrey Michaels

  • Seminar Room G

During the recent US presidential election the nuclear issue gained considerable prominence with the prospect of an unstable Donald J. Trump gaining access to the 'nuclear codes'  a major theme used to discredit his candidacy. Unfortunately, the focus on Trump's character distracted attention from being placed on what nuclear policies his administration might actually pursue if he was elected, nor was any systematic attempt made to study his longstanding views of nuclear weapons.  Following his victory, and in the early months of his administration, these topics have become matters of increasing relevance to the international community. This talk will therefore examine the nuclear legacy Obama has bequeathed to Trump, discuss the new president's background with respect to nuclear issues, and to place his likely policy preferences in the wider context of domestic and international constraining factors.


Feb
15
5:15 pm17:15

From Colombia to Syria: 26 Years in Humanitarian Intervention by Raul Rosende (UN)

  • Wharton Room, All Souls College OX1 4AL

Raúl Rosende will be in conversation with Dr Annette Idler on his 26 years of facilitating negotiations between authorities and non-state armed groups and verification and monitoring of ceasefires. Before his current posting in Colombia, Raúl Rosende was the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for northern Syria between 2014 and 2016; the Head of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in Damas, Syria (2013-2014) and in Yemen (2010-2013). From 2008 to 2010 he was the UNDP Peace Advisor in Palestine, and between 2008 and 2010 led OCHA in Colombia, where he had previously served as advisor to the Resident Coordinator and Program Coordinator. He has also worked on UN missions in Afghanistan and Guatemala.

 

Feb
15
11:00 am11:00

Morality and Modern War

In the light of the conviction of Sergeant A. Blackman  (2013) and the investigation of an SAS non-commissioned officer Colin Maclachlan (October 2016) for an alleged ‘mercy killing’ in Iraq, this study day explores the morally-ambiguous battlefield. The law is clear that ‘mercy killing’ is not a recognised concept, although ‘diminished responsibility’ is well-established. The armed forces of the United Kingdom and other Western countries are also clear that the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Conventions apply to all situations of combat. Yet the moral ambiguity of the battlefield, an extreme arena, reappears through time. Can this contradiction between the law and the soldier’s experience be resolved?

Feb
14
1:00 pm13:00

In danger for merely existing – LGBTI in conflict, displacement and peacebuilding by Dr Henri Myrttinen

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Peacebuilding, in its essence, is about building more inclusive and less violent societies, with gender often being one of the most salient factors impacting on social exclusion. Questions of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) that do not fall into the binary categories of women and men or do not adhere to heterosexual norms have been largely absent from gender and peacebuilding research, policy and programming. 

Based on research conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Lebanon and Nepal, the presentation explores how identifying – or being identified by others – as belonging to a sexual and gender minority (SGM), often adds additional layers of vulnerability, precariousness and danger to lives already under threat. While SGM often live in precarious conditions in peacetime, these are exacerbated in situations of violent conflict and displacement. As with other gendered vulnerabilities and power imbalances, pre-existing conditions of discrimination and exclusion are heightened and made more acute in these situations. Due to dominant social norms of exclusion, which can be mobilised in times of conflict and used strategically by conflict actors, SGM are often placed in particular positions of vulnerability. Furthermore, SGM are likely to face exclusion, discrimination and violence not only from armed conflict actors but also from civilians, including close family members. Neither the end of the violent conflict nor an escape from a conflict zone automatically guarantee an end to these dynamics or the multiple dangers that they face. 

Dr Henri Myrttinen, Head of Gender and Peacebuilding at International Alert, has over 15 years of experience working on gender, conflict and peacebuilding, with a particular focus on masculinities. He has worked extensively in different conflict-affected contexts and has also published numerous papers and chapters on various aspects of gender and conflict. He holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with a thesis on masculinities and violence in Timor-Leste.  

Feb
8
5:15 pm17:15

New Work in Progress: Haley Flagg, Ursula Westwood and Ilya Berkovich

  • Wharton Room, All Souls College Oxford, OX1 4AL

This seminar will feature three speakers:

  • Haley Flagg (St Andrews) Making the System Work: Incorporating Cultural Values in the formation of Roman Auxiliary Cavalry
  • Ursula Westwood (Oxford) “Not only in Judaea”: Josephus on Roman civil war in the Jewish War
  • Ilya Berkovich (Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich) Conscription and Marriage in the Army of Joseph II

 

Feb
7
1:00 pm13:00

The Global Appeal of ISIS by Dr Lydia Wilson

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Over 100 countries worldwide have seen citizens go to join ISIS, mostly fighters, but also wives, single women and families. Two and a half years after the Caliphate was declared by self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (June 2014), the Islamic State is on the defensive militarily, but the fundamental appeal of an Islamic utopia on earth, free of Western decadence, run according to God’s own law, has not diminished. This talk uses extensive interviewing with former ISIS fighters from Iraq to Kosovo to illustrate just what these drivers are, in the process illustrating what is resonating from the propaganda of the Islamic State, and shows that this threat is not going away: we are simply not dealing with the root causes, which are inextricably linked with issues of identity and belonging far more than the Islamist theology which dominates Western analysis.

Lydia Wilson is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, a Senior Fellow and Field Director at Artis International, and holds affiliated research positions at the University of Cambridge and City University New York. Current research involves extensive fieldwork in the Middle East exploring motivations and pathways to violence, interviewing a range of those involved in conflicts. Before coming to Oxford, Lydia was a Mellon Fellow at City University New York’s Graduate Center, collaborating on a project for the study of religion. Lydia holds a PhD in medieval Arabic philosophy, an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and a BA in Natural Sciences, all from the University of Cambridge. She edits the Cambridge Literary Review and writes journalism as well as academic articles. A book on ISIS, based on experiences in the field in Iraq, is in preparation. 

Feb
3
9:00 am09:00

Working Group: Coercive Radicalization: Charismatic Authority and the Internal Strategies of ISIS and the Lord’s Resistance Army by Eleanor Beevor (DPhil, Anthropology)

  • Andrew Pitt Room, Pembroke College OX1 1DW

A framework for understanding Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)’s apocalyptic theology as an internal strategy to “coercively radicalize” its captive subjects is presented, by comparison to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which shares key stages of captive indoctrination with ISIS. A violent experience of “entry,” religious rules learned in an “assimilation” process, and millenarian “grand narratives” framing violence as purification, are examined. These stages construct an image of group leaders as divinely endowed with spiritual knowledge and access (i.e., charismatic authority). This can create a sense of dependency on the leaders and their instructions, potentially motivating violent and altruistic behavior from initially unwilling subjects.

If you would like to attend the working group meetings and receive the discussion papers, or for more information about the group, please contact nicholas.barker@nuffield.ox.ac.uk

Feb
1
5:15 pm17:15

The Roles of Civil Resistance in Contemporary Conflicts by Sir Adam Roberts and Dr John Gledhill

  • The Wharton Room

In this seminar Sir Adam Roberts and Prof John Gledhill will be in conversation with Dr Annette Idler on the roles of civil resistance in contemporary conflicts. They will discuss conceptual and methodological questions and, drawing on case studies from across the globe, explore three themes: “Civil Resistance and Peacemaking”, “From Nonviolence to Violence”, and “From Violence to Nonviolence”.

 Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow of the Centre for International Studies in Oxford University's Department of Politics and International Relations. He is also Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.

 John Gledhill is Associate Professor of Global Governance in the Oxford Department of International Development, and a Fellow of St. Cross College.

 

Jan
31
1:00 pm13:00

Beyond the Iraq Inquiry: fresh perspectives on Britain’s difficult war by Brigadier (rtd) Ben Barry

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

Britain's war in Iraq remains controversial, particularly in regards to the difficult post-conflict stabilisation of Basra and southern Iraq. In 2010 the British Army produced its own internal analysis of these operations and their lessons. The document was the result of a year's unconstrained investigation, and its findings included some challenging and uncomfortable assessments. 

The report was not made publicly available at the time. Following publication of the independent Iraq Inquiry, however, the report was declassified. 
The author of the report, Ben Barry, will explain how the analysis was conducted and identify the report’s main conclusions. He will assess the extent to which the hard lessons of Basra were applied by British forces in Afghanistan, and their influence on the subsequent evolution of the British Army. From this perspective he will critically analyse the report by Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry, look at its strengths and weaknesses, and outline the implications of both reports for UK defence.

Ben Barry left the British Army in October 2010. A graduate of Sandhurst, the Army Staff College, the joint Higher Command and Staff Course and the Royal College of Defence Studies. An infantry officer, he has commanded troops at every rank from Lieutenant to Brigadier and in every British infantry role apart from parachute. Regimental experience includes three Northern Ireland tours, two in intelligence appointments, Cold War soldiering in Germany and Berlin, and duties in France, Portugal, Canada and Hong Kong. He wrote 'A Cold War; Frontline Operations in Bosnia' describing his battalion's operational tour under both UN and NATO flags. He subsequently commanded a NATO brigade in Bosnia. He has instructed at the Rifle Depot, the School of Infantry and Shrivenham and has led Defence Diplomacy work in NATO countries, Central Asia and the Middle East. Staff appointments have mainly been in the MOD, including the commitments staff, Director General Staff, Director Force Development; responsible for assessing future capabilities across the UK forces, and finally as Head of MOD Streamlining; designing and then implementing reduction and rationalisation of the MOD. His final appointment was leading the British Army's analysis of the lessons of the Iraq campaign.

 

Jan
24
1:00 pm13:00

Boko Haram brides and child conscripts: an exploratory study of the plight of teenage and young adult victims of the insurgency in the north-east of Nigeria by Dr Aliyu Musa

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

This paper seeks to explore and provoke discussions on the plight of teenage and young adult victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of Nigeria who are hardly talked about. A recent report suggests that the notorious Boko Haram insurgents abducted more than more 2000 people in the six-year insurgency during raids in towns and villages (and schools and homes) in the flashpoint states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Following recent studies and analysis of data, this paper, therefore, argues that: many of the raids happened before the April 2014 attack on a Chibok school in Borno State, where more than 270 schoolgirls were abducted; in violent raids in the towns of Buni Yadi, Mamudo, Baga and Doron Baga the insurgents wounded, killed or kidnapped dozens of young men and woman; most of the victims were eventually forced to become insurgent brides or slaves (female victims) or foot soldiers (male conscripts); some of the victims who escaped or were eventually rescued or captured suffered double victimisation in the hands of security or civilians officials in custody or IDP (internally displaced people’s) camps; and the Nigerian government is either disinterested in or does not understand the plights of these victims. This paper, thus, concludes that unless efforts are made to understand and address the circumstances of these victims many of them will continue to suffer double victimisation while the perpetrators of the atrocities escape justice.

Dr Aliyu Musa is an Independent Researcher and sessional tutor in Media and Journalism at Coventry University, UK. He is also commentator and regular contributor to discus­sions on politics and governance as well as conflict and conflict resolution, and contributes to panel discussions and live programmes on radio and TV outlets such as Al-Jazeera. He holds a Ph.D. in War and Peace Studies from the University of Liverpool, UK. He is the author of a forthcoming book, Boko Haram Insurgency and Sub-state Conflict Contagion in the Chad Basin: A Framework for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Jan
18
1:15 pm13:15

Measuring Terrorism, Understanding Risk? Analysing Violent Non-state Groups through the Lens of Indices by Steve Killelea

  • The Old Library

In 2007 Steve founded the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), an international think tank dedicated to building a greater understanding of the interconnection between business, peace and economics with particular emphasis on the economic benefits of peace. In this seminar, he will be “in conversation” with Dr Annette Idler on how indices such as the Global Terrorism Index and the Global Peace Index and data on Peace and Corruption or the Economic Cost of Violence help or hinder understand the security risks arising from violent non-state groups. 

Jan
17
1:00 pm13:00

Technology and the Rise of Boundless Warfare by Professor David Galbreath

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

War and technology are codetermined, much in the way that Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said of war and politics. Our world is full of technologies that are changing society as we know it. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have done more than anything to change how we communicate and build (and break) communities. The opportunities that this presents is evident as we can buy anywhere goods sold anywhere. At the same time, the challenges are also as evident with increased levels of surveillance, identity theft, and rise of ‘digital isolation’.

What this means for society is being debated, discussed and framed as we think. Yet, what this means for war, how it impacts our social and political understanding of it, is less understood. Modern and emergent warfare increasingly takes place in an environment that challenges traditional notions of space, time and information. Militaries can strike anywhere their enemies anywhere. The levels of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance go beyond anything we could have imagined even at the end of the Cold War.

As a result, war is changing. While militaries seek to make space obsolete, others seek to ‘bridge the gap’, like insurgents avoiding the punishment only to strike through attrition. While some can strike anywhere and anytime, others seek to use time as a weapon itself, posing different problems to different combatants. While security services have more information than ever before, they also battle to restrict, control and interpret in order to make their identities and actions diffuse and unrecognisable, such as diffuse cyber attacks from an unknown source.

This change in space, time and information suggests that war is being changed by technology to become increasingly fought across traditional boundaries. In doing so, it has the potential to challenge the relationship between the military, state and society.

David Galbreath is Professor of International Security and Director of the Centre for War and Technology at the University of Bath. He is also the Conflict Theme Fellow for the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security (Global Uncertainties Programme) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council. He is currently working on a research fellowship funded by the AHRC and ESRC on how technology is shaping emergent warfare, relying on Science and Technology Studies, Philosophy and War Studies approaches. He has recently finished ESRC and ESPRC projects on how European militaries change and prior to this an ESRC-DSTL project on how technological innovation challenges arms control regimes. He is an Associate Editor for the European Journal of International Security and former Editor-in-Chief for Defence Studies (2014-2016) and European Security (2009-2015). His next book is the Routledge Handbook for Defence Studies (edited with John Deni, published in 2017).

Nov
29
1:00 pm13:00

Tracing the Ideology in an Ideological Struggle: What are the Niger Delta Militant Conflicts about? by Olanshile Akintola

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

The presentation seeks to shine light on the complicated Niger Delta conflict story. Building on extensive Niger Delta literature, it explores militant narratives used to justify actions taken by non-state actors against the state. More specifically, it focuses on the ideological rationale, or lack thereof, used by these groups to explain away actions.

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Nov
23
5:15 pm17:15

Winning the Fight Against the Mafia: How Civil Society Can Meet the Challenge by Dr Aldo Cívico (Rutgers University)

  • Wharton Room, All Souls College OX1 4AL

Dr Aldo Civico will be "in conversation" with Dr Annette Idler, discussing his work on the anti-mafia movement in Sicily, groups in the Western Balkans and Syria, and paramilitaries in Colombia from a civil society perspective as anthropologist.

Aldo Civico is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University and director of International Institute for Peace. He was director of the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University.

 

Nov
23
9:00 am09:00

Operational Art Study Day

  • Harold Lee Room

The study day will revisit the origins and purpose of the operational level of war, examine developments over recent decades and make suggestions about the future of Operational Art, or its replacement.

Nov
22
1:00 pm13:00

Social Pluralism, Religious Cleansing and ‘Hybrid Warfare’ in Contemporary Syria by Dr John Eibner

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

This presentation will demonstrate the relationship between the dynamics of Washington’s hybrid war in Syria and the process of religious cleansing and the dismantling of state structures that support social pluralism in the country.

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Nov
18
9:00 am09:00

CCW Working Group with Roy Giles and Jon Askonas

  • Andrew Pitt Room, Pembroke College Oxford, OX11DW

The first presenter is Roy Giles and the topic of his discussion is: “The Changing Character of Warriors - Women in Ground Close Combat”

The second presenter is Jon Askonas, the title of his presentation is: "The Modern System and the Logicof Battle: Weberian, Aristotelian, and Clausewitzian Cuts at Knowledge, Strategy, and Victory".

Nov
15
1:00 pm13:00

The Role of Ideology in Mass Atrocities by Dr Jonathan Leader Maynard

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

In explaining why atrocities such as terrorism, genocide and ethnic cleansing occur, scholars, international organizations, governments and public commentators frequently imply that ideology plays a prominent role. But this role is not well understood. 

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Nov
8
1:00 pm13:00

What we are missing about the Missing; searching for the disappeared victims of armed conflict by Dr Derek Congram

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

One of the aspects of the changing character of war is an increased awareness of and attention to those who go missing due to armed conflict. This presentation will discuss changing norms and competing frameworks that surround the search for the missing.

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Nov
2
5:15 pm17:15

New Work in Progress

  • Wharton Room, All Souls College OX1 4AL

This event includes three speakers:

  • Lucia Staiano-Daniels (UCLA) War People: The Thirty Years’ War, the Experience of the Common Soldier, and the Mansfeld Regiment (1625-1627)
  • Andrew Tzavaras (Oxford) The Galleys of Santo Stefano as a Lens for Understanding the Mediterranean as a Geographical-Strategic-Political Space
  • Adam Storring (Cambridge) The Intellectual History of War. A New Perspective on Frederick the Great of Prussia

Nov
1
1:00 pm13:00

Strategy Evolves from apes to Artificial Intelligence by Dr Kenneth Payne

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

Kenneth Payne explores the evolutionary basis of strategic behaviour, and assesses the impact of non-biological intelligence on the future of warfare. From chimpanzees to computers, via a dose of Clausewitz: hopefully something for everyone.

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Oct
26
5:15 pm17:15

Understanding and Responding to Violent Non-State Groups from a Human Perspective by Dr Scilla Elworthy (Oxford Research Group)

  • Wharton Room, All Souls College OX1 4AL

Dr Scilla Elworthy will be in conversation with Dr Annette Idler about her work as aworld-renowned peace activist on understanding and responding to violent non-state groups from a human perspective.

Dr Elworthy set up Peace Direct in 2003 in order to support local peace-builders in conflict areas. Prior to that, she served as executive director to the Oxford Research Group, an NGO she founded in 1982 to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics, for which she was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003 she was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize. From 2005 she also advised Peter Gabriel, Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson in setting up The Elders. She is a member of the World Future Council and co-founded Rising Women Rising World.

 

Oct
25
1:00 pm13:00

Militant Jihadi Culture: Poetry as a Weapon by Dr Elisabeth Kendall

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

Over the last three decades, several Islamic extremist magazines have regularly featured poetry extolling the virtues of, and rewards for, militant jihad. However, scholars and analysts alike have almost entirely neglected contemporary Arabic jihadist poetry, skipping over these classical monorhymed passages in favour of more direct position statements and theological debates. Yet poetry can carry messages to a broader audience as it plugs naturally into a long tradition of oral transmission, particularly on the Arabian Peninsula. From an analyst's perspective, poetry reveals clues about jihadist motivation, group dynamics and cultural concerns, which can help to illuminate the contemporary political landscape in which it is deployed. In the quest to understand the hearts and minds of those who practise militant jihad, interrogating the poetry that speaks to both is fundamental. This presentation asks: How relevant is poetry? What are its main characteristics?What does it actually do and what can it tell us?

Oct
18
1:00 pm13:00

An Ontology of Autonomy for Autonomous Weapons Systems by Dr Heather Roff

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

For the past three years the international community convened a series of informal meetings of experts under the auspices of the United Nation’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) to consider whether or not to preemptively ban lethal autonomous weapons systems under an additional protocol to the Convention.  Heather Roff will attempt to provide a theoretical framework for defining and classifying autonomous weapons systems.  By so doing, she will argue the moral quandary over autonomous weapons has its roots in concerns over the delegation of a (moral) faculty: the authority to wage war.

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.