IAS_NUQ hosts panel on critical security studies

November 21, 2021
The Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South (IAS_NUQ) hosted one of its inaugural events, featuring a panel discussion that examined new approaches to critical security studies that center a Global South perspective.  
The panel, moderated by Northwestern Qatar Professor Sami Hermez, was part of a workshop organized by the Arab Council for the Social Sciences Critical Security Studies Working Group. Panelists included Omar Dahi, associate professor of economics at Hampshire College; Pete Moore, visiting professor at the Kuwait Program at Sciences Po at the Paris School for International Affairs; Sarah Parkinson, assistant professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University; and Matteo Capasso, Max Weber research fellow at European University Institute.
With a lens from the Global South and an effort to decenter Euro-American security concerns, the panel discussed alternative directions in the study of critical security. The panelists explored political economies of violence, war economies, the intersections of military intervention and preparedness for civilian emergencies, including other topics about critical security studies.
Clovis Bergère, assistant director for research at IAS_NUQ, opened the session by noting that it was the first event to be hosted by Northwestern Qatar’s new institute for advanced study. He said that the Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South will make Northwestern Qatar a hub for research on cultures, societies, and media of the Global South.

Hermez, director of the school’s Liberal Arts Program, began the program by introducing the Beirut School of Critical Security Studies, an initiative that he is undertaking in collaboration with Dahi.
During the discussion, Dahi pointed out rather than having a shared school of thought on the issue of security studies, the panelists had a shared set of critiques. According to Dahi, the first is what he called “a Western gaze of security,” where he said, “the threat [on security] to the West is prioritized.”
The second critique Dahi referenced is the disciplinary critique, where researchers and students “feel compelled to fit what they say within a specific boundary...that often makes them lose incredible insightful discussions and arguments that they may have.”  The third and final critique is the moral critique – which is a critique of the “legacies of western intervention and military occupations that have shaped the region in various ways.”
In sharing their research, the panelists introduced the audience to their respective approaches when it comes to security studies. Moore explored “the political and social ramifications of marshaling an entire country’s resources in a time of war,” and how that impacted war economies over time.
From an alternative angle, Parkinson asked, “how do military and civil defense organizations conceptualize, anticipate, and prepare for civilian emergencies?” She highlighted the correlation between climate change and conflict, declaring, “Wars don’t occur because of climate change; they occur predominantly because of poor governance.”
Capasso added that the research on critical security studies orbits around three axes. According to him, the first is the history axis, “the present always carries some sort of preconceived notion of the past and this vision inevitability affects the way we think of solutions for the future,” he explained. The second axis links the local to global, and the third is one where security is to be studied against imperial systems of knowledge, in what he called “the Military Academic Complex.”
The Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South produces and promotes evidence-based storytelling focused on the histories, cultures, societies, and media of the Global South. According to Northwestern Qatar Dean and CEO Marwan Kraidy, who founded the institute as a linchpin for his strategic vision for Northwestern Qatar as an embedded institution focused on the Global South, the panel discussion represented the types of dialogues and discussions that the school’s new research center will continue to host.
“The Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South,” he said, “will have an inclusive vision of globality that recognizes the diversities and inequalities that shape the societies we inhabit and study. From our location in Doha, with our fabulous faculty and students, IAS_NUQ will make distinctive and truly global contributions to knowledge.”

For regular updates on the institute, follow its Twitter account @IAS_NUQ.