8th Jun 2017 9:00am – 9th Jun 2017 5:00pm

Grand Parade

University of Brighton
Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence
Research Cluster’s project on‘Contesting Britain at War’*


Workshop 8-9 June, 2016

Britain has been almost continually at war since 1914, including the two World Wars, colonial engagements in Africa, the Middle East and in East Asia, war in the Malvinas/Falklands and in the north of Ireland/ Northern Ireland, and further interventions in the Middle East as part of the ‘war on terror’.

The Conflict Cluster proposes a long-term project on ‘Contesting Britain at War’.  Through an interdisciplinary nexus of historical, political, sociological, philosophical and visual modes of critical inquiry, this project shall explore how these wars have been critiqued, opposed and contested, both at home and abroad by both academics and by activists. These contestations range from large anti-war protest movements and anti-colonial struggles to smaller, everyday acts of resistance and revolt. Contesting Britain at War also takes place through critical reflection on the injustice of war and through theoretical analysis of, and activist challenges to, the role war plays in legitimising other forms of political action including the building of nuclear weapons, the building of military bases, the suspension of civil liberties and practices of internment, rendition and torture. Finally, Contesting Britain at War involves direct action and support for those negatively affected by war, including recent cross-border activist support for refugees displaced by war.


Workshop aims:

1)    understanding multi-sited modes of ‘contesting Britain at war’ and locating solidarities between different sites of contestation;

2)    understanding historical & conceptual continuities and discontinuities between different forms/tactics of contestation;

3)    developing a cross-disciplinary and transnational network of scholarship and activism.

Workshop themes:

1)    direct critique of the British state’s forms and modes of military interventions, counter-insurgency & counter-terror tactics; &  practices of ‘war’ broadly construed;

2)    critique of militarisation and securitisation associated with Britain’s wars;

3)    histories of anti-war activism in the UK, analysis of transnational interconnections with revolutionary anti-imperialism and networks of solidarity.

4)    resistance to Empire (anti-colonial revolts & processes of decolonisation) and its unfinished legacies, the politics of memory, silencing, concealment of archives, excavation and reparation.

5)    critical reflection on the contemporary salience of these histories in the conjuncture of neoliberal imperialism and ‘the war on terror’

Outcomes/action plans including:

·       Building networks of research collaborations with other academic institutions and archives; working towards an international conference;

·       Drafting long term and short term funding schemes including PhD studentship awards;


·       Developing modes of public dissemination of ‘contesting Britain at war’, such as website resources; academic publications; links to activist networks.


Confirmed Presenters
Mark McGovern (Edge Hill University)
Sam Raphael (University of Westminster)
David Anderson (University of Warwick)
Louis Allday (SOAS, University of London)
Aly Renwick (Veterans for Peace)
Anna Stavrianakis (University of Sussex)
Arianne Shahvisi (Brighton & Sussex Medical School)
John Newsinger (Bath Spa University)