Call for papers

Special Issue: “Close encounters in irregular and asymmetric warfare”

Close Encounters in War Journal is a new peer-reviewed journal aimed at studying war as a human experience, through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches ranging from the Humanities to the Social Sciences. The launch issue (n. 0) of Close Encounters in War Journal will be a Special Issue dedicated specifically to irregular warfare and titled “Close encounters in irregular and asymmetric warfare”.

Wars in general are cultural phenomena, among the most ancient and deeply rooted aspects of human cultural evolution: investigating their meaning, by reflecting on the ways we experience wars and conflicts as human beings is therefore essential. Conflict is deeply intertwined with language, culture, instincts, passions, behavioural patterns and with the human ability to represent concepts aesthetically. The concept of “encounter” is therefore fundamental as it involves experience, and as a consequence it implies the idea that the fact of encountering war shapes and develops our minds and affects our behaviour, questioning habits and values, prejudices and views of the world.

One of the most ancient types of warfare is what today is referred to as ‘irregular warfare’, as opposed to ‘conventional warfare’, which is a relatively more recent development. The combat strategies and tactics used by tribal warriors, modern guerrillas, resistance fighters and terrorists have recently been attracting the attention of military historians, strategists and intelligence experts due to the widespread terror threat, but how do human beings experience this particular type of warfare? Does it seem more threatening and scary because it can involve civilians more deeply?; or because it blurs the traditional idea of war as open confrontation with a recognisable enemy? What drives non-combatants to arm themselves and become fighters? Is irregular warfare more violent, brutal and dehumanising than conventional warfare and if so, why? What is their cultural, linguistic and anthropological impact? And finally, is irregular warfare adopted also by regular armies? What is the impact of such warfare on the war-experience of the combatants involved?

For the first issue (n. 0) of Close Encounters in War we invite articles which investigate irregular and asymmetric conflicts from ancient times to modern and contemporary periods, reaching beyond the study of military tactics and strategy and focusing on the way human beings ‘encounter’ with and within this type of armed conflict. Contributions are invited to promote discussion and scholarly research from established scholars, early-career researchers, and from practitioners who have encountered irregular warfare in the course of their activities.

The topics that can be investigated include but are not limited to:

  • Irregular, asymmetric and unconventional warfare
  • Insurgency and counterinsurgency
  • Resistance and partisan war
  • Terrorism and counter-terrorism
  • Violence and trauma
  • Cultural encounters and identity
  • Representations of otherness, race, and gender
  • Religion and politics
  • Testimonies, witness-representations, oral history and memory studies

The editors of Close Encounters in War invite the submission of 3-500 words abstracts in English by 1st October 2017. Decisions will be made by 1st December 2017 and the completed articles (6000-8000 words including footnotes, bibliography excluded, in English) will be expected by 1st  April 2018. All contributions will go under a process of blind peer-review.

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