Julie M. Powell's picture


University College Dublin, 2/3 June 2022




***The Deadline for Submissions is 1 October 2021 ***


In 1981, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared resolutely that ‘crime is crime is crime’. The statement had mortal consequences, effectively condemning to death Bobby Sands and fellow IRA hunger strikers holding out for prisoner-of-war status in HM Prison Maze. However, Thatcher’s declaration was belied, then and now, by the reality that notions of crime and criminality are not fixed but constantly under negotiation, particularly in times of crisis and great societal change, such as war. Sociologists Sveinung and Fondevila argue that volatile periods ‘give rise to new types of criminal, reignite old ones, and repurpose justifications for crime’. History bears out their claim.


During the First World War, French senator Louis Martin proposed the suspension of legal penalties for abortion in the invaded territories where the rape of French women by advancing German forces was endemic. The London Blitz of 1940-1941 created diversions that allowed nefarious activity to flourish, including the smashing of shop windows and looting of stores, by thieves disguised as wardens. During the Cold War, leftist thought became tantamount to subversion in the United States and Senator Joseph McCarthy brought hundreds of Americans before the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate treason. Such anecdotes provide a window into the relationship between war and crime/criminality that this conference aims to investigate. The adage ‘war makes monsters’ tells only part of the story. Indeed, evidence suggests that war makes criminals of some, while exonerating others. It creates a context for the renegotiation of what constitutes ‘crime’. It provides cover for certain varieties of misdeed and trains a spotlight on others. 


‘War Makes Monsters: Crime and Criminality in Times of Conflict’ takes a global approach to understanding crime in wartime as both a cultural construction and a product of circumstances. We therefore invite scholars interested in any aspect of crime and criminality in wartime, from the medieval period to the present day, to submit proposals for papers that will allow us to gain new insights into the relationship between war and crime/criminality across time and space.


We welcome proposals for individual papers of an historical nature. Postgraduate students and early-career researchers are especially encouraged to apply. The conference is intended to offer a constructive environment in which to workshop new, unpublished material, with the goal of producing a special journal issue, edited by the conference organizers. We anticipate being able to provide limited financial support in the form of waived attendance costs and complimentary accommodation.

    • Paper proposals must include a paper title, a 500-word abstract of the paper, and a two-page CV with current contact information / email address. 
    • The deadline for proposals is 1 October 2021. Please send all the relevant paperwork to: Organizers will make a decision on the final programme by the end of December 2021.
    • If selected, participants will be required to submit a full draft of their papers (8,000-10,000 words) by 1 May 2022 for pre-circulation.

Questions about the CfP can be directed to conference organizers, Julie M. Powell (University College Dublin) and Claire Eldridge (University of Leeds) at

One section should be devoted to exam of internal or civil war, including insurrections. There is more to say on this subject.

One section should be devoted to exam of internal or civil war, including insurrections. There is more to say on this subject.