Preference will be given to papers that either have a thematic focus and/or a comparative dimension (rather than being focused on one particular national case study). Confirmed keynote speakers include Stathis Kalyvas (Oxford), Penny Roberts (Warwick) and Kirsten Weld (Harvard).
Civil war, or violent confrontation within a single political unit, is one of the oldest forms of armed conflict. It features prominently, for example, in the classical works of Thucydides and Tacitus, always as a stark warning that war within a state or community ought to be avoided at all costs because of its particularly disruptive and destructive nature.
Despite much scholarly attention to the widespread phenomenon of internal armed conflicts, comparative histories of civil wars remain a remarkably under-developed area of historical enquiry. While political scientists have paid much attention to civil wars after 1990, often from a comparative perspective, historians have tended to study particular cases of internal conflict such as the Irish Civil War, the American Civil War, the Chinese Civil War, the Russian Civil War or the Spanish Civil War. Instead of considering the origins, forms, and consequences of civil wars across time and space, historians have preferred the reconstruction of historical particularity over analysis of potential connections or similarities between individual cases.
We therefore invite scholars interested in any aspect of civil wars, from the medieval period to the present day, to submit proposals for papers or panels, provided that their papers / panels offer a comparative or transnational perspective that will allow us to gain new insights into similarities and differences between civil wars across time and space.
We welcome proposals for individual papers or for themed panels. Postgraduate students are explicitly encouraged to participate in panels or to submit their own panel proposals or individual papers. The conference is intended to offer a constructive environment in which to present work in progress to a specialist audience. Panels will last for 90 minutes each and should have three speakers and a chair. Each paper should be no longer than 20 minutes to leave sufficient time for discussion.
- Individual paper proposals must include a paper title, a 300-word abstract of the paper, and a one-page CV with current contact information / email address. If accepted, individual papers will be assigned by the program committee to an appropriate panel with a chair and commentator.
- Panel proposals must include a panel title and 300-word abstract summarizing the theme of the panel; a paper title and a 300-word abstract for each proposed paper; and a one-page CV for each panellist (including the chair and commentator).
- Roundtable proposals must include a roundtable title, a 300-word abstract summarizing the roundtable’s themes and points of discussion, and a one-page CV for each participant (including the chair / moderator).
The deadline for proposals is 1 February 2021. Please send all the relevant paperwork to: firstname.lastname@example.org making it clear that you are responding to this particular CfP. The conference organizers will make a decision on the final programme by the end of March 2021.
The conference organizing team at includes:
Robert Gerwarth, Mark Jones, Hussein Omar, Julie Powell and Jennifer Wellington from UCD and Matthew Ford from the Society for the History of War.
Any questions about the Call for Papers can be directed to
If the conference is held as a face-to-face event, there will be a conference fee of approximately EUR 90 to cover the cost of lunches, tea/coffee breaks, and a drinks reception. The fee will be slightly lower for SHoW members. Please note that panellists/individual presenters will have to bear the costs of the dinner (optional), travel and accommodation themselves. Some bursaries will be available or postgraduate students / ECRs.
A conference fee of 15 EUR will be charged if the conference is held as an online event. This is to offset the cost of e-ticketing and VAT.
Final costings will be released at the point at which the conference programme is announced. We assume that the conference will be face-to-face but a decision on how the event is staged will depend on circumstances relating to the global pandemic.