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Mediating Militarism through Affect: the politics of sacrifice in the Pakistan army

Hosted by the Department of International History

Thai Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Dr Maria Rashid

Dr Maria Rashid


Professor Tarak Barkawi

Professor Tarak Barkawi

Second session of the Cultures of War seminar series, co-organised with the Department of International Relations at LSE. Dr Maria Rashid presented the findings of her new book.

The relentless expansion of  military values and technologies to domains outside the military suggest that militarism diffuses and shapes lives and spaces around it. A sociological phenomenon, it penetrates social structures, relations, and practices including popular culture, modes of economic production, and hierarchies of race, class, gender, and sexuality. In trying to trace this process of infection outward, Maria Rashid’s work affixes its gaze on to the military as an institution, the affective bonds it cultivates with soldiers and their families, and the function of these relationships in fashioning the appeal and presence of militarism in modern society. Rashid’s forthcoming book Dying to Serve (Stanford University Press), draws attention to the complex ideological processes involved in contemporary militarism as a global phenomenon through a focus on an intimate aspect of war preparation: the production of the instruments and then subjects of violence, military soldiers and their families. She studies the Pakistan Army, a uniquely powerful and influential institution with vast landholdings and resources. The Pakistan Army has deep routes in the colonial armed forces and relies heavily on certain regions to supply it soldiers, especially rural Punjab, where men have served in the army for generations. These men, their wives and mothers, and the military culture surrounding them are the focus of Maria Rashid book , which addresses the question: how does the military thrive when so much of its work results in injury, death and debility? Grounding her study in the famed martial district of Chakwal, she studies affect deployed in recruitment and training practices, as well as the management of death and compensation to families.

See pictures of the event.

In this Cultures of War seminar series, co-convened by Matthew Jones and Tarak Barkawi, scholars and practitioners examine and discuss the experience of war and conflict and the new conceptual approaches and insights, across the humanities and the social sciences, which now feature in new work in this field. This seminar series provides a forum for new directions in war studies, military history, strategic studies, conflict studies, and related areas.

Previous seminars in the series:

16 October 2019: Professional, Regimented and Aggressive: British paratroopers and the Falklands War with Professor Helen Parr (Keele)


Maria Rashid is a feminist practitioner, trainer, and researcher in the field of gender, violence against women and children. She completed her PhD in Politics and International Studies from SOAS in 2018.

Matthew Jones is Professor of International History at LSE and Head of Department.

Tarak Barkawi is Professor of International Relations at LSE.

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day. Sponsored by the department's Contemporary International History and the Global Cold War and the Modern World History research clusters.

The Department of International Relations (@LSEIRDept) is now in its 91st year, making them one of the oldest as well as largest in the world. They are ranked 4th in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2019 tables for Politics and International Studies.


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