I enjoyed visiting Firenze earlier this week to give a presentation on “Strategies of Religious Warfare: Historical Reflections on Contemporary Religious Violence” at the European University Institute.
Professor Olivier Roy (Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI)and Jean Monnet Fellow Nadia Marzouki kindly invited me to discuss issues of religious violence with their working group, ReligioWest.
Professor Dirk Moses (History and Civilization, EUI) served as discussant, providing useful criticism and suggestions for incorporating additional theoretical and comparative sources when I revise this paper for publication.
Here is an abstract for my presentation:
“Strategy is often thought of exclusively in terms of politics, based on Clausewitz’s closely linked definitions of war and strategy. Beatrice Heuser’s The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) has questioned this linkage, however, in one of the most important recent studies of strategic formulation. Heuser suggests that strategies are socially and culturally produced: ‘When implicit assumptions in the literature on Strategy are rendered explicit through textual and contextual analysis, we find revealing indicators of social institutions and norms, of the writers’ perceptions and understanding of politics and relations between political entities . of their values, ideologies and passive and active culture more generally.’ In this paper, I aim to build on this insight to develop an analysis of the formation of strategy in religious warfare. I will attempt to discern historical strategies of religious warfare and consider their potential relevance for contemporary conflicts with religious dimensions.”
It was fabulous to revisit the European University Institute, where I served as a Jean Monnet Fellow from 2002-2003.