Anthropological interest in militarism has grown dramatically in recent decades. These years have seen the collapse of some Cold War client states, the proliferation of militia-led insurgencies, the increasing articulation of counterinsurgency abroad with domestic policing at home in many Western countries, the reformulation of the UN into an institution of militarized peacekeeping and occupation, and a growing awareness of the ways in which militarism as a set of cultural practices and ideologies pervades all domains of social life. The symposium aims to develop anthropological analyses of militarism as it is currently evolving both in the global north and south. We are particularly interested in the ways the new militarism inflects law, gender, subjectivity, social memory, knowledge production, popular culture, labor, and cultural constructions of security.
Wenner-Gren Symposium #155 on “Cultures of Militarism" to be held March 11-17, 2017, at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal. The conference is organized by Catherine Besteman (Colby College) and Hugh Gusterson (George Washington University).
This symposium will convene 18 scholars from Europe, the Middle East, and Central, North and South America, bringing together in conversation analyses from different disciplines (including geography and political science), perspectives from the global south as well as the north, and analytic frames grounded in a range of epistemologies.
Militarism is a cultural system; it is shaped through ideology and rhetoric, effected through bodies and technologies, made visible and invisible through campaigns of imagery and knowledge production, and it colonizes aspects of social life such as reproduction, self-awareness, and notions of community. We seek to provoke conversations about militarism in its established and emergent forms, probing its genealogies, its facility at colonizing daily life, and its ability to present itself as a response to insecurities it has itself provoked.