For most of the modern period, war has been understood in essentialist terms, as a timeless category of thought and action. Yet arguably, the concept of war has undergone a series of significant changes from the sixteenth century to the present, and many of these changes have had a profound impact on the sociopolitical world. Hence, in this talk, I will explore how changing conceptualizations of war have conditioned the ways in which war has been conducted from the early modern period to the present. As I shall suggest, making historical sense of this connection is necessary in order to understand how practices of warfare have shaped the identities of agents and the boundaries separating them. Doing this, I shall focus on how conceptions of war have conditioned notions of sovereign statehood, how subsequent attempts to rationalize warfare between early-modern states have conditioned the international system of states, and how different practices of warfare have been instrumental in creating and maintaining a separation between the West and the rest. (Bartelson)
Jens Bartelson received his doctorate from the University of Stockholm in 1993. His fields of interest include international political theory, the history of political thought, political philosophy and social theory. Jens Bartelson has written mainly about the concept of the sovereign state and the philosophy of world community. He is the author of Visions of World Community (Cambridge University Press, 2009), The Critique of the State (Cambridge University Press, 2001), A Genealogy of Sovereignty (Cambridge University Press, 1995), as well as of articles in journals such as International Studies Quarterly, Political Theory, Review of International Studies, European Journal of International Relations, European Journal of International Law, and International Political Sociology.
Introduction: Samera Esmeir, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, UC Berkeley