CFP: Intersecting Critical Terrorism Studies and (Post)colonialism: Standards, Subjects and Spectacle.

The Annual BISA Critical Studies on Terrorism Working Group Conference, 2016
15-16 August 2016
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Critical Terrorism Studies (CTS) has engaged with the problem of terrorism and political violence from a number of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, including critical security studies, peace studies, cultural theory, and area studies. This rich interdisciplinarity has allowed scholars to unpack the multitude of ways that ‘terrorism’ is deployed as a social signifier to determine identities and cultural boundaries, while also helping to investigate how specific ‘ways of being’ are constructed as superior to others. Despite the many disciplinary crossovers that define CTS, explicit engagements with colonial, postcolonial, and decolonial research remains limited. This is particularly problematic given the ongoing grounding of many political conflicts in the structures of a modern (post)colonial global order.

This conference will foster engagements and closer links between the two CTS and (post)colonial studies, as well as expand the positionality of CTS within critical international politics more broadly. Themes for discussion may include: to what extent has the ‘War on Terror’ sought to continue the mission civilisatrice of its historical antecedents witnessed since the sixteenth century? How does the intersection between modernity and coloniality generate patterns of resistance? Finally, how does the ‘spectacle’ of violence perpetrated by groups like Islamic State (re)produce civilizational identities that are so crucial to maintaining the cultural boundaries of a contemporary security milieu?

We are delighted to announce Professor Mustapha Pasha (Abersytwyth) will be our keynote speaker at the annual conference. Mustafa’s research is located within Post-Western IR and draws from varied genealogies, notably decolonial thought, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, critical theory, and classical political economy (influenced by Hegel, Marx, Gramsci, and Subaltern Studies). Embedded within a broader postcolonial orientation, Mustafa has recently written about modernity and Islamic Cultural Zones (ICZs) as well as on the theme of nihilism within Islam.

We invite papers on the following themes:
– Representations of the terrorist ‘other’
– Postcolonial understandings of political violence and oppression
– Constructions of Muslim identity in the War on Terror
– Neo-colonialism in the War on Terror
– Critical methodologies and the study of (counter)terrorism

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with a short biography, to Nadya Ali (, Megan A. Armstrong (, and James Fitzgerald ( by June 10th.  Any queries should be directed to the three aforementioned convenors.

Registration will cost £20, although this fee will be waived for PhD candidates. Furthermore, a limited number of travel bursaries will be available to PhD candidates and early-career researchers (please contact convenors for details). A selection of papers will be submitted for publication as either a special issue and/or an edited volume, with the best paper award guaranteeing publication. Finally, the Critical Studies on Terrorism biennial best article award (2016) will be announced at the conference.
The conference is sponsored by the British International Studies Association (BISA), Newcastle University, and the Critical Studies on Terrorism Journal. The organisers gratefully acknowledge this support.