The Violent State in Historical Perspective

The Violent State in Historical Perspective

Simon Toner, University of Sheffield; Sean Fear, University of Leeds; Shaul Mitelpunkt, University of York
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
11.06.2020 - 12.06.2020
Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists

The Violent State in Historical Perspective Research Network seeks proposals from researchers at any career stage for a workshop aimed at bringing together scholars with a wide range of temporal and geographical expertise to discuss the common themes of violence and the state.

This workshop seeks to break new ground in the historical study of the state’s relationship to violence. Transcending history’s conventional organisation into narrow geographical or temporal clusters, our workshop will foster complementary working relationships between historians working on different regions and periods, using a variety of methodologies and lenses, including cultural, social, political, regional, transnational, and more. Together, in a collaborative and relaxed atmosphere, we will investigate how states across the globe, and from classical times to the contemporary day, have deployed violence to shape society and define the duties and privileges of citizenship.

By creating an organized environment for comparative and collaborative inquiry, this workshop aims to shed light on a broad range of longstanding questions about the historical dynamics of the state’s relationship to violence through time. Under what conditions do states gain a monopoly on violence? Are strong or weak states likely to be more or less violent? Violence is a constituent factor in social, political, and economic relations, but what role does it play in the state’s attempt to fabricate a socio-economic and political order? What kinds of violence did certain states endorse and employ, and which did they reject? What role have states played in legitimising some forms of violence and delegitimising others? How has this varied in different temporal and geographic settings? These questions, and many others, will stand at the centre of our conversations.

The structure of the workshop puts an emphasis on creativity, conversation, and collaboration, rather than on the presentation of polished papers. We will start out by dividing into sub-groups, where participants will provide brief informal work-in-progress presentations. Following that, each group will outline some commonalities in concerns, questions, and methodologies, that arise from the discussion. After that, all workshop participants will convene again for roundtables, where each group will informally present the main points that arose from their conversation. We will be able to cover some of the travel, lodging, and food expenses for participants. This event is funded through the generous support of the White Rose University Consortium.

Keynote speakers will be confirmed shortly.

Workshop applicants are encouraged to submit a short (150-200 word) abstract outlining their project and its relevance to the workshop, as well as a short (2 page) CV, by Friday, February 21st. Send your submissions to:

For questions please write Simon Toner (Sheffield), Sean Fear (Leeds), and Shaul Mitelpunkt (York), the co-convenors of the workshop, at: