Institute for Policy Research

Understanding Conflict: Research, ideas and responses to security threats

Mon Jun 08 16:11:00 BST 2015

Date: 08 - 11 June 2015

Venue: Chancellors' Building, University of Bath

Audience: Registration is now closed.

For information on travelling to the University of Bath and local accommodation, please read our travel and accommodation guide.

For further information on the city itself, please read the IPR's Guide to Bath.

For updates throughout the conference, follow the IPR on Twitter . The suggested hashtag for this event is #iprunderstandingconflict

The Understanding Conflict conference seeks to address important questions about conflict in the contemporary world and to interrogate the role of research and advocacy in understanding and responding to it.  The conference is organised around five major themes.


Download the programme (PDF)

Monday 8 June

Time Event Room


CB L2 Foyer

Welcome -  David Miller, University of Bath

CB 2.6

Keynote Session One

The Historiography of Terrorism.   Marc Sageman, former CIA Operations Officer, Sageman Consulting LLC

CB 2.6

Refreshment break

CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions:   Civil Society  : Islamophobia


Conflict: State Terrorism

Paper 1  Western State Terrorism in Fallujah: A Critical case Study.   Florian Zollmann, Liverpool Hope University

Paper 2: Killer Drones as a Weapon of Empire Terrorism.   Scott Poynting, University of Auckland

Paper 3: In the Name of Stability: Money, Terrorism and State Violence in Latin American and Europe.   Ana Dinerstein, University of Bath

Paper 4: Foreign Fighters, Lone Wolves and School Shootings: What’s the Difference?   James M Dorsey, Nanyang Technological University & S. Rajaratnam, University of Wuerzburg

CB 3.16

Islamophobia: Islamophobia, the State and Civil Society

Paper 1: The Politicisation of the Charity Commission and British Muslim Charities.  Ismail Patel, Friends of Al Aqsa

Paper 2: Criminalising Compassion: The Targeting of Muslim Charities in the US After 9/11.  Sarah Marusek, University of Johannesburg

Paper 3: Problems and Pitfalls of ‘Preventing Extremism’ in Britain’s Education System.  Katy Sian, University of Manchester

Paper 4: Challenging Digital Orientalism: Muslims Online.  Amir Saeed, University of Huddersfield

CB 3.10



Keynote Session Two

Terrorism and the Politics of Meaning: Journalists, Whistleblowers and Pre-emptive Counter-terrorism in Australia.  Jenny Hocking, Monash University

Extraordinary Extradition: Exploring Race and Citizenship in the Context of the War on Terror.  Nisha Kapoor, University of York

 CB 2.6

Close and depart (Delegates to make own travel arrangement to public meeting)


Public Meeting: - All conference delegates welcome

Challenges of the 'War on Terror': Islamophobia, civil liberties and academic freedom

Max Blumenthal, Author 
Deepa Kumar, Rutgers University 
Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War Coalition 
David Price, St. Martin’s University

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN

Off campus

Tuesday 9 June

Time Event Room


CB L2 Foyer
9.00- 10.00

Keynote Session Three: Mapping the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Programme.   Ruth Blakeley, University of Kent

CB 2.6

Refreshment break 

CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions


Ethics   : Researching Conflict: Ethics, Funding and Research Partnerships

Paper 1  : The Irish Republican Project: The Importance of Academic Autonomy.  Marisa McGlinchey, Institute of Community Cohesion, Coventry University

Paper 2  From Boston to Liverpool: A Tale of Two Research Projects.  Kevin Bean, University of Liverpool

Paper 3  : Ethics and Political Science Research in the Era of Impact Narratives and Mediatisation.  Paddy Hoey, Edge Hill University

CB 3.15

Expertise and Knowledge about Terrorism: Radicalisation 1

Paper 1  : Radicalisation Studies and the Nature of Social Scientific Expertise. Kate Wicker, Leeds

Paper 2  The 'Radicalisation' Thought Collective.  Tom Mills, University of Bath and  David Miller, University of Bath

CB 3.16

Conflict: Responses to Conflict

Paper 1: Sustainable Security and Peace-building: Wellbeing, Justice and Inclusion.  Betsy Barkas, Oxford Research Group and  Paul Rogers, University of Bradford

Paper 2: Surrogates, Agents and the Dirty War: How Collusion Fuelled the Conflict in Ireland.   Anne Cadwallader, Pat Finucane Centre

Paper 3: ‘Who are the ‘Terrorists’? The Ones with the Small Bombs? An Exploration of Gramscian Hegemonic Discourse in Academia.  Feilim O’hAhmaill, University College Cork

 CB 3.10



Keynote Session Four

Kafka’s Desert: State Terrorism and State Accountability in the Transformation of ‘Terrorism’ in the Sahara During the GWOT.  Jeremy Keenan, School of Oriental and African Studies

Problems in the Study of State Terrorism: The Question of Intent.  Jeff Goodwin, New York University

CB 2.6



Parallel Sessions


Islamophobia: The Five Pillars of Islamophobia

Paper 1: The Five Pillars of Islamophobia: How Ideas About Islam Are Constructed and Mobilised.  Narzanin Massoumi, David Miller, Hilary Aked &  Tom Mills, University of Bath

Paper 2: Anti-extremism, Islamophobia, and the Counter-jihad Movement.  Hilary Aked, University of Bath

Paper 3: Pushed Out: A Practitioners Assessment of the Role the State Plays in the Process of Disenfranchisement.  Asim Qureshi, CAGE

Paper 4: Mainstreaming Islamophobia: The Politics of European Enlargement and the Balkan Crime-terror-nexus.  Piro Rexhepi, Centre for Global Affairs, New York University

CB 3.16

Conflict: Technology and Conflict

Paper 1: On the Limits of State Violence.  David Galbreath, University of Bath

Paper 2: From New Wars to New International (Cosmopolitan Protection) Wars.  Timo Kivimaki, University of Bath

Paper 3: Social Media, Networked Intimacy and Paths into Violence: The Case of British Jihadis.  Kevin McDonald, Middlesex University

CB 3.10


CB L2 Foyer

Keynote Session Five

Combating a Social Cancer: The Pluralism, Diversity & Islamophobia Project.   John Esposito, Georgetown University

CB 2.6

Refreshment break

CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions: Civil Society: Civil society and conflict


Conflict: Legacy of Past Conflicts

Paper 1: Drawing the Red Lines of Violence: Notes on the Evolution of the Basque Conflict Under the War on Terror.  Laura Fernández de Mosteyrín, Universidad a Distancia de Madrid

Paper 2: Learning Lessons from Northern Ireland: Routes In and Out of Northern Irish Paramilitary Groups.  Neil Ferguson, Liverpool Hope University

Paper 3: Terror and the State: Learning from Spain’s “Dirty War”.  Nicholas Manganas, Independent Scholar

CB 3.16

Expertise and Knoweldge about Terrorism: Understanding Radicalisation

Paper 1: De-radicalisation Interventions in the UK Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  Mohammed Elshimi, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter

Paper 2: Memory and Collective Identities: A 'Justification' for Terrorism?   Cathrin Ruppe, Universitè Rennes II, France

CB 3.10

Propaganda: Re-thinking Propaganda

Paper 1: Bringing Propaganda Back into Journalism Studies.  Florian Zollman, Liverpool Hope University

Paper 2: The Ubiquity and Invisibility of Organised Persuasive Communication.  Vian Bakir, Bangor University;  David Miller, University of Bath &  Piers Robinson, University of Manchester

Paper 3: Report X Marks the Spot: The British Government's Deceptive Dossier on Iraq and WMD.  Piers Robinson, University of Manchester &  Eric Herring, University of Bristol

Paper 4: Representations of Terrorism in Foreign Conflict Reporting: Russian, French and UK Television Coverage.  Emma Heywood, Coventry University

CB 3.10



Keynote Session Six

The New Anti-Semitism.  Norman Finkelstein, Writer

CB 2.6

Close and depart


Dinner (pre-booking necessary)

Wessex House, University of Bath, Claverton Down


Wednesday 10 June

Time Event Room


CB L2 Foyer
9.00- 10.30

Keynote Session Seven

From Anti-semitism to Ultra-Zionism: The European Far-Right Comes Full Circle.  Max Blumenthal, Writer

Racialisation and Radicalisation: Spurious Scholarship and the Surveillance State.  Arun Kundnani, New York University

CB 2.6

Refreshment break

CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions


Conflict: Legitimacy and Terrorism

Paper 1: Boundaries of (In)security: The Construction of Legitimacy in the American ‘Global War on Terror’.  Sarah Earnshaw, Ludwig-Maximilian University Münich

Paper 2: Public Education, Conflict and the Middle East.  Judith A. Cochran, University of Missouri

Paper 3: The Islamic Critique of the “Islamic State” (IS): The Open Letter to the Self-proclaimed Caliph “Ibrahim” al-Baghdadi.  Manfred Sing, Leibniz-Institute for European History

CB 3.15

Islamophobia: The Henry Jackson Society

The Henry Jackson Society and the Degeneration of British Neoconservatism.

David Miller, University of Bath,  Hilary Aked, University of Bath,  Tom Griffin, University of Bath &  Sarah Marusek, University of Johannesburg

CB 3.16
11.45-11.50 Break  

Keynote Session Eight

Questioning Our Agency Inside Agencies: Rethinking the Possibility of Scholars' Critical Contributions to Security Agencies.  David Price, St. Martin’s University

Academia and the Security State: The Liverpool University Research Project on “dissident” Irish Republicanism – A Case Study in Collusion.  Mark Hayes, Southampton Solent

CB 2.6


CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions


Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim Racism and Right Wing Movements

Paper 1: “Check it Right, You Ain’t White!”: Racialisation in “Post-racial” America.  Muna Ali, Arizona State University

Paper 2: An Examination of the Link Between the British Rar Right News Media and Anti-Muslim Hate Incident Offenders and Hate Crime Offenders in the UK.  Sadia Rana, University of Bath

Paper 3: Lived Islamophobia in the Experience of Hate Crime Victims.  Bharath Ganesh, University College London/Tell MAMA

Paper 4: Defending Diversity and Difference: The Cultural Politics of Young Adult British Muslims.  Anisa Mustafa, University of Nottingham

CB 3.15

Propaganda: Western State and Terrorism

Paper 1: Digital Propaganda: The Tyranny of Ignorance.  Cassian Sparkes-Vian, University of the West of England

Paper 2: 'Pentagon Ju-Jitsu': the PSYOP and Public Affairs Propaganda War.  Emma Briant, University of Sheffield

Paper 3: Strategy in Afghanistan, 2001-2014: Narratives,Transnational Dilemmas and ‘Strategic Communication’ UK.  Thomas Cawkwell, University of Exeter

CB 3.16

Refreshment break

CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions: Civil Society: Terrorism Expertise


Islamophobia: Policies and Practices

Paper 1: An Analysis of the Government’s Approach to Tackling Islamophobia.  Adam Belaon, Claystone  & Chris Allen, University of Birmingham

Paper 2: British Media and the Radicalisation Agenda.   Milly Williamson, Brunel University. Co-Author:   Arzu Merali, Islamic Human Rights Commission

Paper 3: Islamophobia and Hindutva in India.  Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, Writer & Activist

CB 3.16

Expertise and Knowledge About Terrorism: Neoconservatism and its Allies

Paper 1: Neoconservatives and the Northern Ireland Peace Process.  Paul Dixon, Kingston University

Paper 2: Neoconservatism: The Intelligence Dimension.  Tom Griffin, University of Bath

Paper 3: Campaigning Against Israeli Human Rights Abuses.  Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

CB 3.10



Keynote Session Nine

Cold War Cultures of Propaganda: The Transition from Negative to Positive Anti-Communism. Giles Scott-Smith, University of Leiden

Propaganda, Ritual and Structural Violence.  Christopher Simpson, American University

CB 2.16

Close and depart (Delegates to make own travel arrangements to reception)


Civic Reception - open to all delegates

Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, BA2 4AT

Off campus

Thursday 11 June

Time Event Room


CB L2 Foyer
9.00- 10.30

Keynote Session Ten

Mediating Racism: The New McCarthyites and the Matrix of Islamophobia.  Deepa Kumar, Rutgers University

Democracy, Diversity and the Politics ‘De-Radicalisation’. Salman  Sayyid, University of Leeds

CB 2.6

Refreshment break

CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions


Expertise and Knowledge About Terrorism: Making Sense of Terrorism

Paper 1: Making Sense of Terrorism - Of Morality and Responsibility.  Sophia Zeschitz, University of Exeter

Paper 2: Terrorism, Taboo and Discursive Resistance: The Agonistic Potential of the Terrorism Novel.  Richard Jackson, The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago

CB 3.15

Propaganda: Intelligence Agencies and Propaganda

Paper 1: From Silence to Primary Definer: The Rise of the Intelligence Lobby in the Public Sphere.  Paul Lashmar, Brunel University

Paper 2: The Quilliam Foundation as a Propaganda Resource in the UK’s Campaign Against Political Islam.  Rizwaan Sabir, Edge Hill University

Paper 3: Intelligence Agencies, Public Oversight Mechanisms and Accountability Demands: The Torture-intelligence Policy and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Executive Summary (2014).  Vian Bakir, Bangor University

Paper 4: Propaganda and Screen Entertainment.  Matt Alford, University of Bath

CB 3.16

Conflict: Counter-terrorism

Paper 1: Counter-terrorism and Society: The Contradiction of the Surveillance State, Understanding the Relationship Between Communities, State Authorities and Society.  Joshua Skoczylis, University of Lincoln

Paper 2: Governing Violence: Rule of Law or Rule by Exception?  Phil Edwards, Manchester Metropolitan University

Paper 3: British Counter-terrorism Laws and Their Effect on the Tamil Quest for Statehood.   Ayshwarya Sriskanda Rajah, Brunel University

CB 3.10



Keynote Session Eleven

State and Non-state Terrorism: The Clash of Barbarisms.  Gilbert Achcar, School of Oriental and African Studies

CB 2.6


CB L2 Foyer

Parallel Sessions


Islamophobia: Counter-Terrorism Policies and Practices

Paper 1: Comparative Post-9/11 Counterterrorism Policing and the State of Exception.  Tara Lai Quinlan, London School of Economics and Political Science

Paper 2: A Perverse Outcome of Counter-terrorism: A Rising Islamophobia and the Socio-political Consequences of Stigmatisation.  Valentina Bartolucci, University of Derby

Paper 3: Tackling Extremism, Reinforcing Islamophobia? A Critical Analysis of New Labour and Coalition Policies and Discourses.  Chris Allen, University of Birmingham

CB 3.15

Conflict: Governance

Paper 1: Aid and the Ouroboros: US Foreign Military Assistance and Human Security in Pakistan.  Ciaran Gillespie, University of Surrey

Paper 2: The Crisis of Insecurity and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria: Implications on National Development.  Imoukhuede Benedict Kayode, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic

Paper 3: Phenomenology of Perception and Terrorism Sustenance: A Case Study of Pakistan.  Muhammad Feyyaz, University of Management and Technology, Lahore

Paper 4: Empirical Research and Ethical Boundaries in Research on Social Welfare Organisations Affiliated to Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Rana Jawad, University of Bath

CB 3.16

Propaganda: News and Propaganda

Paper 1: Representation[s] of War, Peace and Conflict: Current Affairs Journalism [Re]producing Normative [Hegemonic] Assumptions.  Chris Roberts, University of Roehampton

Paper 2: From Al-Qaida to Al-Shabaab: News Media and Global Implications of Terror in Kenya and East Africa.  Fredrick Ogenga, Rongo University College

CB 3.10



Parallel Sessions


Islamophobia: Debating Islamophobia

Paper 1: The Representation of Islam in the British Public Service Broadcasting.  Antje Glück, University of Leeds

Paper 2: Cameron's Muscular Liberalism in the Case of 'Operation Trojan Horse'.  Elizabeth Poole, Keele University

Paper 3: Rotherham, Rochdale and the Racialised Threat of the ‘Muslim Grooming Gang’.  Waqas Tufail, Leeds Beckett University

CB 3.15

Conflict: Threats, Counter-Terrorism, Islam and Nationalism

Paper 1: The Challenging Struggle of Those Who Fight Terrorism in the Middle East.  Emanuela C. Del Re, University Roma

Paper 2: Expanding the Borders of Nationalism as a Subset of the Civilisation: Turko-Kurdish Case.  Rahman DAG, Adiyaman University

Paper 3: Deconstructing Threats to Nigerian National Security.  Zainab Mai-Bornu, University of Bath

Paper 4: Islamic Behemoth: A Geopolitical Account of Iran’s Ties with Islamist, Militant Groups.  Arash Reisinezhad, Florida International University

CB 3.16

Conference closes


Keynote speakers

  • Professor Gilbert Achcar (School of Oriental and African Studies) on Conflict, Terrorism and Governance
  • Dr Ruth Blakeley (University of Kent) on Rendition
  • Max Blumenthal (Author Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel)
  • Professor John Esposito (Georgetown University) on Islamophobia
  • Dr Mark Hayes (Southampton Solent) on Academia and the Security State in Britain: Liverpool University – A Case Study in Collusion
  • Professor Jenny Hocking (Monash University) on Counter- terrorism
  • Dr Nisha Kapoor (University of York) on ‘Race’ and Citizenship in the Context of the ‘War on Terror’
  • Professor Deepa Kumar (Rutgers University) on Mediating Racism: The New McCarthyites and the Matrix of Islamophobia
  • Professor Arun Kundnani (New York University) on The War on Terror and the University: Racism, Empire, and Surveillance
  • Norman Finkelstein (author Method and Madness: the hidden story behind Israel’s assault on Gaza) on Whither the "peace process”?
  • Professor Jeremy Keenan (School of Oriental and African Studies) on State terrorism and state accountability in the transformation of "terrorism" in the Sahara during the GWOT
  • Professor David Price (St. Martin’s University) on Questioning Our agency Inside Agencies: Rethinking the Possibility of Scholars’ Critical Contributions to Security Agencies
  • Marc Sageman, M.D, Ph.D (former CIA Operations Officer; Sageman Consulting LLC) on How to think about terrorism? A historiography
  • Professor Jeff Goodwin (New York University) on Problems in the Study of State Terrorism: The Question of Intent
  • Dr Salman Sayyid (University of Leeds) on Democracy and Diversity and the Politics of De-Radicalisation
  • Professor Giles Scott-Smith (University of Leiden) on Propaganda
  • Professor Christopher Simpson (American University) on Propaganda, Ritual and Structural Violence

Conference rationale

Conflict defines the contemporary era. The attacks of 9/11 still cast a long shadow over foreign and domestic policy agendas in the UK and many other countries. The 2001 attacks led to the launch of the ‘Global War on Terror', with invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a host of other military interventions by NATO powers.

The impact of these interventions have been more complex and widespread than most supporters or opponents anticipated. Instability and conflict in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa have been part of the legacy, with the tragedies of Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq and Syria of particular note. The ‘Global War on Terror’ also saw the creation of worldwide networks of ‘extraordinary rendition', with the attendant questions of human rights abuses and torture, whilst sweeping changes to security policies have impacted on everyday life and civil liberties.

The various ramifications of the ‘Global War on Terror’ have challenged the status of a variety of ethnic minorities, including Muslims and Jews, and raised important questions about identity and belonging, and over whether there is a ‘clash of civilisations’. The rise of right wing populism in the context of widespread controversy over migration has changed the political landscape with the rise of UKIP in the UK, and the radical right and anti Muslim parties across Europe. On the streets, the English Defence League has been but a local element of an international ‘counterjihad’ movement. Meanwhile, the Israel-Palestine question has come to renewed prominence as campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and Israeli attacks on the Occupied Territories interact.

The Understanding Conflict conference seeks to address important questions about conflict in the contemporary world and to interrogate the role of research and advocacy in understanding and responding to it. The conference is organised around five major themes.

1) Expertise and knowledge about terrorism

  • This strand will focus on the production of ideas about terrorism
  • What ideas and theories can give us insight to understanding terrorism?
  • How do academic research institutes and think tanks engage in knowledge production about terrorism and conflict?
  • What role do neoconservative, pro-Israel and Islamophobic campaign groups play in influencing public debate, policy and practice?
  • What is the role of the military, intelligence and policing agencies, or civil servants and politicians?
  • Is there such a thing as an expert in terrorism? How and why do ‘charlatans’ gain prominence and in which domains?
  • How is expertise in terrorism funded? What accountability is there in such funds?

2) Islamophobia, racism and the counterjihad

  • What is meant by the term Islamophobia? How well does it explain anti-Muslim racism?
  • How and why has the security of Muslim communities in the West been threatened by the ‘Global War on Terror’?
  • How have official counter-radicalisation policies, neoconservatism, and the Israel Palestine question affected the status of Muslims in the West?
  • How has the politics of the ‘Global War on Terror’ shaped racialisation processes?
  • How should we understand the new right wing anti-Muslim movements such as the counterjihad movement

3) Conflict, terrorism and governance

  • Understanding armed conflict and political violence requires focused social scientific attention. This strand focuses on how we understand and research political violence and ‘terrorism’.
  • How do we define ‘terror’ and ‘state terrorism’?
  • How are boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate violence drawn?
  • What is the legacy of past conflicts in shaping the dynamics of conflict today?
  • How have techniques of governance, and indeed the concept of governance itself, shaped or changed how we deal with conflict today?
  • What role do digital technologies play?

4) Propaganda to Twitter revolutions: How should we think about organised persuasive communication?

  • The study of ‘propaganda’ has declined in the top communication journals. But work on organisational persuasive communication has expanded, especially in relation to conflict in society. This strand examines the use of organised persuasive communication by participants engaged in conflict:
  • Is ‘propaganda’ a useful term today
  • How can the history of organised persuasive communication help us to understand contemporary conflict?
  • Propaganda and persuasive communications are often thought of as matters of discourse and consent separate from ‘kinetic’ power. Is this justified? Should theories of organised persuasive communication also be able to explain coercive and non-consensual aspects of communications?
  • How does work on the ‘new media ecology’ or ‘framing’ analysis help or hinder understanding of organised persuasive communication?
  • What is the role of intelligence agencies in contemporary propaganda campaigns?
  • How is the inherent uncertainty of intelligence reports used by politicians and others in communicative campaigns, and with what outcomes
  • Does the advent of the internet and instantaneous communications mean the end of secrecy? Can publics and politicians now form accurate views on what is done in their name, and for their protection?
  • The case of WMD in Iraq and the alleged connection of the Iraqi regime with al Qaeda are touchstone examples of what is held to be wrong with government communications. What other cases can be examined and with what consequence?

5) Researching conflict: Ethics, funding and research partnerships from Camelot to Minerva and beyond.

  • What are the ethical issues faced in empirical research on conflict and terrorism?
  • Do researchers put themselves at risk in studying such matters? How does society benefit, if at all?
  • What are the lessons to be learnt from well known incidents like Project Camelot, or more recent problems in the relationship between research sponsors, researchers and the researched?
  • In what circumstances should academic researchers collaborate with government agencies or opposition groups?
  • What methods can be used to study terrorism?
  • Are new methods opening up new possibilities? How do digital methods, social media, big data and social network affecting the study of terrorism and political violence?

Proposals for papers, panels and workshops are welcome from academics, independent scholars, policy actors, journalists and advocacy groups. We especially welcome collaborative sessions involving policy, media or NGO participants.

A number of publications are planned to come from the conference. Please indicate if you do not wish your paper to be considered for subsequent publication.

The conference gratefully acknowledge the support of the ESRC, Islam Expo and the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath.

The conference will be held at the University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath.

If you have any queries, please contact