31.05.2024 Call for Papers "The Historicities of Security and Peace" - International Conference and Center Days (Zentrumstage) 2024

Conference Topic

Peace and security are key concepts informing the conduct of politics on both the global level and in domestic and transnational dynamics across different epochs. Yet, concepts of peace and security have been contested throughout history and still cause controversy today. While peace is a fundamental human value and at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations, it has been instrumentalized by imperial powers as well as authoritarian regimes and subsumed under agendas of civilization, social control, development and conquest. At the same time, the very idea of peace, just like scholarship and movements dedicated to it, has faced scrutiny and outright rejection in situations of unprovoked aggression and terrorism. This can currently be seen in the light of the war of aggression against Ukraine and the Israel-Gaza war. In contrast, security research has been epistemically dominated by military, strategic and adjacent fields of scholarship and policy for a long time. Only in recent years has it been reclaimed by critical and feminist perspectives challenging long-standing ideas and concepts. As both interpretation scheme and repertoire, security is employed to determine relevant threats as well as to shape reactions to them. Such interpretations and practices of security are often contested and change over time. The – at times paradoxical – affinity between peace and security, their contested character, their contextuality and, not least, their historicity connects both concepts.

This conference is jointly organized by the Collaborative Research Center “Dynamics of Security”, the Center for Conflict Studies as their biennial “Center Days” (Zentrumstage) and the EUPeace Research Hub “Security and Conflict Transformation”. It invites contributions that critically engage with the rich and complicated legacies, epistemic ecologies and practical repertoires of peace and security in either historical perspectives or with a view to present and future challenges and potentials.

More information on the conference

Call for Papers

We welcome paper submissions to the following panels:
(alternatively, you can also download our call for papers as a single PDF for further information)

Panel Overview

A - Conceptualizing peace and security

  • Exploring territorial imaginations and infrastructures of peace and security

    Convenors: Werner Distler; António Ferraz de Oliveira

    This panel delves into the complex interplay between territorial narratives, imaginations, and connected spatial and material practices in shaping peace and security paradigms from the late 19th century to the 20th century on both global and regional scales. We seek to unravel how epistemic authority emerged within territorial discourses and how cosmologies of territorial order coalesced in politics and policy, with distinct imaginaries of what spatial arrangements might guarantee peace and prosperity within and between territorial states. In this way, we invite examinations of how discreet projects of territorial order were crafted, contested, co-opted, and countermanded under the conflicting efforts of scholars, journalists, politicians, or policymakers. Within such contexts, we are particularly interested in how conflicts fostered counter-narratives of territorial order, with accompanying challenges to the predominant knowledge concerning territoriality, politics, and peace. Additionally, this panel will explore the legacies of past territorial imaginations among later politics, with special attention to how defeated or unexecuted projects linger in international thought. By tracing the trajectories of past territorial imaginaries, the papers on the panel aim to better understand their enduring (or fading) impact on contemporary conceptions of peace, security, and sovereignty. Through a critical examination of select cases concerning armed, diplomatic, and intellectual disputes over territory, papers will reflect on the historicity of how territoriality was reimagined as organizing insecurity or peace against the backdrop of momentous global transformations such as the rise of the United Nations, wars of decolonization, trials in European cooperation or the tangles of Cold War alliances.

  • State, Militarization and Geopolitics: Hyper-nationalist Conflict Zones in South and East Asia

    Convenors: Mimasha Pandit, Manas Dutta

    The proposed panel seeks to lay stress on the conflict zones of South and Southeast Asia that has been converted into a war zone since the end of the second world war. The trajectory of independence of these geographical landmasses have seldom found an adequate space in the discussions of conflict and peace studies. As the newly independent nations in South Asia have entered the race of global politics to secure its position of power it has been converted into hybrid zones of conflict either for the partisan interests of the Cold War era or for securing the interest of the emergent hyper-masculine nationalism that they represent. A new kind of Leviathan is on the prowl that has transformed security into a charmed armour for protecting a distorted form of nationalism. This is another aspect of conflict studies that the panel wishes to highlight shifting the focus of conflict and peace studies from border conflict and security to internal conflicts and peace-making processes. Civil society of South and Southeast Asia has undergone several such instances of conflict situations in the form of riots, genocide, pogroms, civil protest. Time is ripe to include these conflicts and the suppression process adopted by the State in the name of security in the framework of peace and conflict studies. The third aspect that the panel proposes to interrogate is the displacement, dislocation, and crime against gender as an eventual outcome of the process. The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, hate crimes and problems of lynching faced in the name of security against terror activities and nationalism and the display of sectarian or nationalist power over a gendered body needs to be engaged with by peace and conflict studies stakeholders to bring the underrepresented zones of conflict of South and Southeast Asia into focus.

  • Understanding the social context of peace and security in authoritarian regimes in Africa

    Convenor: Nnamdi Ajaebili

    The panel seeks to understand the social and political contexts of peace and security in authoritarian regimes in Africa against the backdrop of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which describes ‘the right to take part in the governance of one’s own country’, and the ‘right of equal access to public service in his country’. There is a link between authoritarian/repressive regimes and a proclivity to resolve both domestic and international conflicts through violent means. Regimes that attempt to institute peace and security by repressing the citizens and political opponents tend to reproduce themselves externally through violent diplomacy. This has been experienced in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, among other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. What then are the explanations of this scenario? Can it be argued that democracy is not a better domestic foundation for international peace and security than authoritarian rule? The panel thus, invites submissions that address these issues from both the historical and contemporary perspectives.

  • Linguistic/ Ethnic Diversity and Societal Security in Central and Eastern Europe

    Convenors: Heidi Hein-Kircher, Peter Haslinger

    Since the rise of competing national movements, the multinational and multilingual border regions of the empires in Central and Eastern Europe have been increasingly perceived as areas of insecurity since the mid-19th century not least because conflicts with and between different national groups increasingly escalated into violence. As a consequence, discourses on multiethnicity and multilingualism increasingly determined the field of social security and contrasted with the practices of dominant groups to restrict or even suppress the language use of other groups in the public sphere. Multilingualism therefore became the starting point for securitizing reflections on the status of ethnic groups in society and is still highly relevant to this day, as demonstrated by language policies in the post-Soviet space, for example. In a trans-epochal and interdisciplinary manner, the panel aims to examine the connection between linguistic diversity and social, internal security in Central and Eastern Europe. In doing so, it combines approaches from historical security research with aspects of language conflict and intersectionality research.

  • High-risk Transitional Justice: the „(in)security turn“ in contexts of accountability and redress for victims of human rights violations

    Convenors: Rosario Figari Layus, Juliette Vargas Trujillo

    While transitional justice (TJ) initially emerged as a response to a legacy of human rights violations in the aftermath of dictatorships or following a period of conflict or civil strife, several case studies however have recently showed that TJ mechanisms can be also introduced at a time when no transition (from “war” to “peace”), has taken place, or while different forms of violence persist. Indeed, over the last years, the continuation of violence in transitional processes even after peace agreements is a well-established fact, whose implications for peacebuilding have been addressed in peace and conflict studies in accounts of neither-war-nor-peace scenarios. Several scholars argue that the transition from war to peace can take a violent path, insofar as the conflict that is supposedly being left behind may contain the seeds of new - and/or the old - forms of violence (Steenkamp; Nussio/Howe 2016, Wesche 2021). Even with a peace accord facilitating a ceasefire between armed groups, various forms of violence may endure, complicating peacebuilding processes. Introducing TJ instruments in such scenarios faces significant challenges, and their operations are likely to present multiple shortcomings from the perspectives of victims, perpetrators and TJ actors such as activists, judiciary staff, excombatants as well as other involved actors. This has led to debate about whether it is even appropriate to implement TJ in the very early stages of peacebuilding, and what consequences can be expected from doing so. Some practitioners and scholars (Quinn 2009) have regarded the cessation of hostilities, and the possibility of guaranteeing the safety and security of TJ actors, as necessary preconditions for applying TJ mechanisms. Others however argue that the early use of TJ instruments in such contexts is not only possible but necessary, as it could help bring ongoing violence to an end (Van Nieselt 2016). Although a safe environment is deemed crucial for TJ success, this precondition is at odds with prevailing realities in many societies which decide, despite ongoing violence, to embark on TJ to provide some redress for victims of atrocities (Sánchez & Uprimny 2011). Thus, the panel aims to explore how the perception and prioritisation of security as a key condition for the implementation of TJ has changed over time leading to what can be termed the “(in)security turn”. While in the 1980s a certain level of political stability and security was a relevant precondition for implementing transitional justice after periods of dictatorships, this trend seems to have shifted over time as TJ instruments have begun to be applied in contexts where no transition took place, or armed conflict or political and criminal violence persist. Although in such settings, - such as Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Congo, Gambia, etc.- a totally safe environment for TJ remains a distant horizon. There, its courageous implementation reveals the prioritisation of other meaningful human rights objectives such as the enforcement of victims' rights to justice, truth and reparations. Thus “the “(in)security turn” reflects an implicit trade-off in that the implementation of TJ carries with it a high risk for those who engage in it in order to enable the fulfilment of victims' rights.

    These complex cases raise critical questions for TJ regarding the feasibility of participation of different actors. Additionally, while addressing the historical development of the “(in)security turn” the panel seek to give an account of the capacities and security strategies developed by different TJ actors to deal with such adverse contexts while providing truth, justice, and reparation to victims in adverse settings. Thus, this panel will invite contributions analysing 1) how the perceptions and prioritization of the relevance of security conditions have been changing over time in different contexts, 2) how the persistence of ongoing dynamics of different forms of violence has affected TJ’s goals, trajectories, and TJ stakeholders over the last years in different contexts and 3) what security strategies have been developed in these adverse contexts in order to cope with ongoing forms of violence while guaranteeing the continuity of TJ accountability processes. Additionally, this panel welcomes contributions on how good practices developed by TJ processes could/have contribute(d) to building and ensuring the implementation of peacebuilding endeavors and the pursue of TJ goals. In this framework, the panel aims to address the following questions:

    In what ways have dynamics of high insecurity, shrinking spaces and social and political instability impacted on transitional justice historically and in the present?

    What strategies and responses have been implemented by state and civil society actors (including victims' collectives and human rights organisations) in the midst of violence in order to guarantee the security of main TJ stakeholders on the one hand, and the continuity of transitional justice processes on the other?

    How have TJ measures and mechanisms over time addressed the risks of high insecurity contexts while pursuing TJ goals?

    What implications does this coexistence of insecurity dynamics and transitional justice have for research and practice? What good practices have been observed to date?

  • Reclaiming peace epistemologies

    Convenor: Waseem Iftikhar

    The panel aims to critically examine the historical marginalization of “peace epistemologies” within the prevailing discourse of security and conflict studies. Despite the proliferation of peace studies programs in various academic institutions, an imbalanced emphasis on conflict, security, and violence persists, relegating peace studies to a peripheral position. The objective of this panel is to challenge the mentioned imbalance by exploring and highlighting “peace” as a foundational concept and revitalizing discussions on peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. Through a multidisciplinary dialogue, this panel seeks to position “peace” as a guiding principle in scholarly inquiry and epistemological frameworks. The key themes to be addressed in this panel include:

    Examination of how dominant narratives in security and conflict studies have marginalized peace epistemologies, thereby perpetuating a bias toward research.

    Exploration of alternative approaches to knowledge production that prioritize peace as a central cohesive principle, thereby challenging the prevailing emphasis on structural, direct, and indirect violence, as articulated by Galtung (1969).

    Analyzing of Galtungian criticism of “the UN Security Council (not Peace, or Peace and Security, Council)”, placing security first and seeing “some party as a threat to be deterred or eliminated” (Galtung, 2007).

    Identification of strategies for integrating peace epistemologies into academic curricula and research agendas while maintaining a cohesive approach that acknowledges the interconnectedness of peace, security, and conflict without dissociating one from the others.

B - Historicizing security, peace and conflict

  • Remembering peace

    Convenor: Eckart Conze

    Peace is a fundamental concept of political thought. Semantics of peace are an integral part of socio-political language. As a political objective and a political value, however, peace is contested. Beyond its universal and in many cases utopic meaning, peace – like security – is a deeply historical concept. It needs to be historicized, it needs to be regarded in its historicity. Against this background, the panel “Remembering Peace” will address changing understanding(s) of peace by focusing on the remembrance and commemoration of peace. It will do so by asking the question how “peace” (peace efforts, peace treaties, ends of war etc.) has been and is being remembered under changing historical circumstances. The focus is on cultures, practices, modes, forms and politics of remembering peace during the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries, while the referent objects of commemoration can also be located in earlier times. Memories of peace reflect, on the one hand, the positive connotation of peace as a norm and/or a value. On the other hand, the way how peace is being remembered is strongly influenced by individual or collective experiences of war and violence. Having won or lost a war has a strong influence on how “peace” is being remembered. The question who remembers peace cannot be separated from the question how peace is being remembered. In this perspective, the panel will also ask how democracies remember peace compared with authoritarian regimes. In an emotional history perspective and because it is linked to experiences of war and violence, remembering peace can be influenced by different emotions. Remembering peace can be part of an (emerging) culture of peace, but it can also be part of a culture of war or violence. In this perspective, the panel can also correlate the understanding of peace with neighboring (overlapping, complementary, rivalling) concepts such as security in particular.

  • Transformations of security and securitisation in discourse and practice: The Bundeswehr after 1990

    Convenor: Silvia-Lucretia Nicola

    Although security research has traditionally been dominated by military and strategic fields of scholarship, the establishment of Critical Military Studies in Germany is still in its infancy. This panel aims to examine the changing perceptions of different geopolitical security frameworks over the past four decades and how they have been navigated within the Bundeswehr, interrogating often taken-for-granted categories related to the armed forces. Innovatively, all paper present findings based on recently declassified records, contributing thus to a democratisation of security documents. By combining historical, sociological, and political science methods and perspectives, this panel traces the perceived transformations of security and the securitisation of threats in terms of both discourse and practice within the Bundeswehr. Discursively, the panel unravels on a macro level the complex interplay between the renunciation of the word “war” in the official usage of the Bundeswehr, while the institution transitioned to a fluid zone of securitisation and “peace”. This development is also traced on a micro level through the military-political security thinking of the military elite of the early 1990s. How the transition between war and peace, and all the shades of grey in-between, has been navigated in practice will be shown, on the one hand, by analysing the missions of the German Navy. On the other hand, the same tension can be found years later, in a different context, in Afghanistan. By looking at these case studies from the point of view of practice, the performativity of peace and security and their relationship will be revealed.

  • Securitys Achilles’ Heel: How Abductions and Hijackings Changed Global Security Dynamics in the 20th Century

    Convenors: Eva Gajek, Martin Göllnitz; Marie Huber

    In the past, abductions and hijackings have changed the heuristics and repertoires of security in various areas: enhanced security measures in aviation, increased surveillance and legislative changes, heightened protections in public spaces, improved international cooperation, stricter corporate security protocols, and reinforced safety in educational settings. Our panel explores the profound impact of high-profile abductions and hijackings on the formation of specific security perceptions and practices globally. Three papers will analyse significant historical incidents of abductions and hijackings that illustrate how societies, governments and state security actors reacted to such (real and perceived) insecurities. We will examine the complex interplay of power and motivation in these crisis situations, as well as Symbolism and Semantics in Abductions and Hijackings. Finally, what influence did media coverage have on the public perception of such threat scenarios and the political handling of them? Additionally, it will be asked whether and, if so, how, specific heuristics and repertoires changed in these (in)security scenarios. Closely linked to this is the question of whether new security heuristics and repertoires have found an appropriate balance between ensuring safety and preserving civil liberties.

  • The historicity of environmental conflicts

    Convenors: Felix Anderl; Johanna Kocks

    Environmental conflicts are often characterized by forms of violence that elude conventional forms of conceptualizing it. Consider climate change: the process has clearly identifiable victims who perceive the resulting devastations as violent. But the search for perpetrators is more complicated, ranging not only across multiple scales but also across time. Was the invention of the steam engine and the resulting modes of production a form of violence? But even in less macro-oriented environmental conflicts such as land-grabbing, forced resettlement or the destruction of fertile land (or water) in the context of development or infrastructure projects, the violence is typically not immediately observable, because it happens diffuse and over time. Therefore, the concept of “slow violence” (Nixon) has changed the way scholars look at environmental history. How can these debates be utilized for peace and conflict studies? In this panel, scholars will analyze the historicities of environmental conflicts, offering both theoretical innovations – between structural violence and the presentist focus on perpetrators/victims –, and empirical interdisciplinarity to peace and security research.

  • Conflict, Peace and the environment

    Convenor: Saad Halawani

    The impact of conflict on the environment has long been documented with studies on the direct cost resulting from the use of military equipment and materials on the environment and the impact on societies living in a destitute environment during and after the conflict has ended. The panel aims to look at the interaction between conflicts and the environment, and how targeting the environment has become a means to target the human population rather than targeting the human directly as argued by Peter Sloterdijk in his concept of “atmoterrorism”. Furthermore, the panel will consider the issue of the temporality of the environmental impact of conflict. The impact of conflict on the environment is that of an immediate nature, but that impact extends beyond the moment of effect into the future, and the remedy usually takes a considerable amount of time. The panel will juxtapose the remedial action taken to solve the environmental consequences of conflict during peace times with the direct action to harm the environment during conflict times as a means for punishing and creating an unliveable habitat for the populations under conflict.

  • Building a Safe Environment – The Role of Architecture in Modern Security Discourses

    Convenor: Frank Rochow

    Throughout history, rulers and ruling classes considered parts of their subjects as recalcitrant and were searching for means and instruments to limit the potential danger their reluctance posed for the internal security and order. Building on the assumption that an orderly environment creates orderly people, one of the means was found in architecture. Examples reach from imaginations of larger built settlement structures exemplified by the many early modern utopian descriptions to later re-structuring of urban environments like under GeorgesEugène Haussmann in Paris to the un-precedent “social engineering” (Thomas Etzemüller) projects of the 20th Century. In the cases of architectures which were designed to surveil and confine unwanted individuals from society, their impact on humans is well described and analyzed, e.g. in the case of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon by Michel Foucault. For larger contexts, the connection between the built environment and individual behaviors which constitute the basis of potential anti-state group activities remains mostly affirmative and less explicit. Yet, strikingly, in all these different settings, the search for a rational way of living intertwined with the interest to stabilize the (to establish) ruling system with the help of the built environment. Reaching beyond this observation, this panel seeks to elicit what exact role rulers and ruling classes ascribed to architecture within the overall discourse on internal societal security and overall political order in modern times. Interdisciplinary case studies as well as theoretical considerations on the historical use of large-scale architectures as instrument to foster state wanted behavior are welcome.

C - EU Peace

  • Disinformation as a Security Challenge in the Era of New Technologies

    Convenor: Sead Turčalo

    The panel will address the malicious use of new technologies and their political, economic, and social effects on society. Although malicious use of informations is not new challenge, we live during the time where development of communication technologies enabled more entities to participate in creation and publishing varies form of content. Wider possibility of content creation is suitable ground for creation of malicious planed disinformation that can affect specific aspects of institutional or societal functioning, ranging from security, economy to interference with elections. Considering these challenges information security has become an essential part of security studies in theoretical and practical sense. In this context, papers will address theoretical review of information’s security research; research focusing on effects of specific forms of disinformation ranging from public health crisis, destabilizations of states / regions, economical destabilization of organizations /states to interference with elections. Furthermore, papers will address roll of public and private media in addressing these challenges, as well as preventive roll of media and information literacy.

  • Performing Peace and Security in the Balkans: A Historical Perspective (19th–20th Centuries)

    Convenors: Nicole Immig, Ninja Bumann

    Conflict, peace, and security in the Balkans have been extensively studied by historians, yet much of the focus has traditionally centered on state and military actors. Recent historical scholarship, however, has increasingly turned its attention to questions of human security and the experiences of local actors and marginalized groups (such as women) beyond the battlefield. This shift has prompted historians to explore a broader range of source materials, moving beyond traditional archival records confined within national and state frameworks. The proposed panel seeks to address the methodological challenges inherent in researching the performative aspects of peace and security in the Balkans from a historical standpoint focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries. Specifically, the panel aims to delve into the practices of visualization and mediatization, examining how these processes have shaped performativity of peace and security in the region over time. The goal is to explore the various forms of performativity of peace and security by analyzing its visualization and mediatization through photography, national festivities and theatrical performances, and similar activities.

  • Ontological Security, Trauma, and Global Politics

    Convenor: Asli Ilgit

    Many observers characterize the contemporary era as an age of “anxiety” with prevailing uncertainties and a widespread sense of ontological insecurity across different scales (Rumelili 2021; Balta 2019; van Wyk 2017). Traumatic events, whether natural disasters, armed conflicts or pandemics, have a particularly profound role in disrupting individuals’ and communities’ sense of security, continuity and stability in their lives and social environment. These disruptions not only have immediate consequences but also reverberate across social, political, and psychological dimensions, shaping perceptions and power dynamics and transforming violence, identity, and politics on a global scale. By examining how individuals, societies, and states navigate uncertainty and insecurity on the international stage, especially in the aftermath of traumatic events, this panel seeks to unpack the intricate interplay between trauma, ontological security, and global politics. We welcome contributions that address, but are not limited to, the following themes and questions:

    How does trauma, whether stemming from conflict, displacement, or historical injustice, shape the perceptions and actions of individuals and states in the international arena? How do traumatic events influence individuals' and communities’ ontological security, and what are the mechanisms through which this influence occurs?

    How do traumatic events manifest differently across regions and cultures, and their varying impacts on communities, societies, and political systems?

    How are traumatic events governed as parts of everyday securitisation processes?

    How do traumatic experiences perpetuate or transform cycles of violence? How can a deeper understanding of trauma and ontological security inform conflict resolution efforts, peacebuilding initiatives, and strategies for promoting human security? How trauma-informed approaches can inform conflict resolution strategies and promote transitional justice?

    What is the role of media and propaganda in shaping public perceptions of traumatic events?

    What are the impacts of globalization, digitalization, and transnational threats on individuals' and communities’ sense of ontological security?

  • A hybrid approach to peacebuilding

    Convenors: Ehlimana Spahić

    The panel' A hybrid approach to peacebuilding' will address hybrid peacebuilding theory in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in theory and practice. Conceptually and in practice, peacebuilding has been dominated by the liberal peace paradigm. The panel will explore the existing literature on peacebuilding and identify the gaps in different peacebuilding theories and strategies for peace (economic, liberal, critical, and feminist). The ongoing peacebuilding process in BiH demonstrates different approaches to peacebuilding applied by numerous international and local actors, and it also shows the success of the different practices employed. On the other hand, various civil society organizations on the ground that are working in the fields of human rights, transitional justice, and culture emerged in an attempt to speed up the progress in resolving numerous issues in the post-war Bosnian Herzegovinian society. In their approach to peacebuilding, they are not necessarily conforming to international expectations of a liberal peace. These phenomena denote a potential hybrid form of peace and state emerging (Richmond, 2014: 112). Papers will address the concept of hybrid peacebuilding that will be approached as the result of the interplay of the following: the compliance powers of liberal peace agents, networks, and structures; the incentivizing powers of liberal peace agents, networks, and structures; the ability of local actors to resist, ignore or adapt liberal peace interventions; and the ability of local actors, networks, and structures to present and maintain alternative forms of peacemaking (Mac Ginty, 2010).

Submission of paper proposals

Abstract proposals of up to 250 words, accompanied by titles, names, author bios of up to 100 words, and affiliation and contact details of authors should be sent to sfbevent@uni-marburg.de by June 16, 2024. We expect to notify the selected participants by July 15, 2024. 

Selection criteria

The selection of papers will be made in accordance with the following criteria while maintaining high academic standards:

Clear reference to the topic of one specific panel
Scientific contribution: strong theoretical and/or empirical foundation, linking to relevant existing research
Diversity: bringing together scholars from various backgrounds and affiliations both globally (i.e. from the global South and East) and within the context of European academia.


We also remind you that (limited) funding will be available to precarious scholars on a reimbursement of real costs basis. Also, for scholars from the Global South in need of a visa, the organisers can issue letters of invitation.