Contesting Britain At War
'Contesting Britain at War’ is a long-term project designed provide a common theme for the diverse work of Conflict Cluster members, and to attract funding that will ensure the sustainability of the Cluster in the longer term. The project is currently divided into two strands, with a view to holding two workshops, both of which will result in funding applications. Funding of £10,000 has been agreed in order to run these two workshops to instigate the organisation of two research networks on the basis of which to respond to funding calls.
Strand A: Selling War – Reviewing the Evolution of Justifications Used in Support of Modern Wars
The aim of this project is to move the study of war beyond a static analysis of the main positions that have been historically used to justify war (see Walzer etc). It adopts instead an approach that is very consciously anchored in our present and looks at the justifications used by states in declaring war and how well they still hold, in view of the current disciplinary and historical experience.
We are setting up a preliminary research network to critically examine the most common justifications for war used by modern states, and how they have been contested. Our focus will be on that act of contestation, looking at it from a range of angles. We will examine the moral, political and legal frameworks that supported the decisions and their intersections. In another level, we will look at how contemporary events and historical memory were utilised in support of such decisions.
Our case studies will be the most recent post-1989 wars, looking at the cases of Kosovo (1999), Libya (2011) and Syria (2015).
To do the above we need to establish an interdisciplinary network with knowledge on the above case studies. Participants in the network will come from academia, politics, international bodies (UN, Hague), NGOs, legal activists, archives
Strand B: Histories of anti-war activisms, transnational solidarities and the politics of memory in anti-imperialist protest and critique
This strand of the project develops:
1. Transnational histories of anti-war activisms in Britain c. 1945-75, drawing on official and unofficial archives and oral/life histories of activists, to address both the aims, principles and politics of organisations and the background, experiences and understandings of their activist members;
2. Analysis of the interconnections between these anti-war activisms and anti-imperialist protest and critique, with a particular focus on transnational/global solidarities with those experiencing and resisting Britain’s wars in colonial locations;
3. Critical reflection on the contemporary salience of these histories for anti-war activisms in the era of neo-liberal imperialism since 1989 and the ‘war on terror’ since 2001, with a particular focus on the politics of remembering and forgetting, silencing and witnessing, concealment and haunting, within reconfigured frames of meaning.