Often called out for its lack of inclusion and diversity, it is not only the military institution that needs to change, but also the way it is studied. Now more than ever, marginalized voices and perspectives need to be seen and heard as they can provide insights into key challenges the military institution currently faces. This two-day event – which will encompass a conference and a workshop – aims to bring together members from the defence community to exchange ideas and bring new perspectives on the future of research on the military. It will take place on December 1st-2nd, at Queen’s University, situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory, in Kingston, Ontario. Moreover, the event’s format will be hybrid.

Militaries around the world are going through transformative times. Role of the military continues to evolve and expand while adapting to a changing domestic and international context. At the same time, it is facing an identity crisis with its leadership vowing to reform what has been deemed a problematic culture. Understanding the current situation and challenges is instrumental to effecting this change where novel and creative approaches are needed to better examine the organization and its culture.

Defence and security studies is still a rather conventional field, with scholars and researchers often working in silos. Moreover, the field lacks diversity of thought; not only is there not enough collaboration between Defence and security experts, but there is also low representation with respect to gender, ethnicity, nationality, and language of the people engaged in conducting this research, particularly when this research relates to the lived experiences of individuals from these respective groups.

Another concern is over-dependence on mainstream research approaches. Current research could be complemented through less mainstream, but valuable, approaches and methodologies (e.g., participatory, post-positivist, inductive, mixed), that could further expand understanding. Moreover, the lack of discussion between disciplines reinforces a silo mentality. 

In part stemming from these shortcomings is the resultant under-researching of some important topics; for instance, the necessity for military focus on sexual misconduct, culture change or systemic racism may have been taken more seriously sooner if the defence research community had been itself more attuned to such challenges and their potential consequences. As such, encouraging new directions on what is researched, how, and by whom is critical and should be a priority.

To address this complex environment, this event is structured around three themes, each the subject of a specific panel:

  1. Theme 1 – “Who?” – Underrepresented Researchers: refers to researchers’ positionalities and how it affects their research experiences, particularly when it comes to researchers from groups traditionally underrepresented in the military research community – either in terms of gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, etc.
  2. Theme 2 – “How?” – Underrepresented Approaches: refers to non-mainstream approaches, either on the epistemological or methodological level. It also pertains to use of disciplines not traditionally applied to military research (anthropology, ethnography, management, etc.) and how these “lenses” bring forth new perspectives on known issues.
  3. Theme 3 – “What?” – Underrepresented Subjects: refers to under-analyzed issues and topics either because resulting from limitations in perspective or because they are not (yet) recognized as important issues by the military research community at large.

We invite proposals for papers related to each of these themes. Proposals are to be 500 words (max) and must be submitted by October 7, 2022, to CIDPResearch@queensu.ca. They will be evaluated by the event’s scientific committee. If selected, participants will be required to provide their full papers by November 25, 2022. Papers will be shared with participants prior to the workshop, which will be held on December 1st-2nd, 2022 on Queen’s University campus, in Kingston, Ontario.

Submissions should include:

  • Name of author, institution/university, title and/or academic level
  • Brief biography (max 200 words)
  • Proposal (max 300 words) – please indicate which axis or axes the presentation fits within.
  • Mode of participation preferred (in-person or virtual)

Proposals, papers, and presentations can either be in English or in French. On the day of the conference (first day of the event), translation in both languages will be available.

If accepted, travel and lodging may be provided for participants residing within Canada. Participants outside of Canada and participants who are not able to attend the event in person may participate virtually.

This project is focused on improving how research on military issues is conducted by engaging the Defence research community in an open and public dialogue. It is about sharing diverse research experiences and perspectives. Diversity and an inclusive dialogue are fundamental to this event, as is fostering a new generation of researchers. For this reason, participants from underrepresented communities and groups, as well as early-career researchers (including students and PhD holders having defended within the last 5 years), are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal.

This two-day event is supported by a MINDS Targeted Engagement Grant (TEG), as well as the Canadian Defence and Security Network (CDSN) and the CIDP.