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Dr. Pumphrey, who teaches history at North Carolina State University, also holds the position of postdoctoral fellow at T.I.S.S., based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


For further information about T.I.S.S., please click here or visit their website.

The Study of War Project and T.I.S.S.

By Carolyn W. Pumphrey

On June 10-13, 1997, the Triangle Institute for Security Studies (T.I.S.S.) held the Summary Conference for its Study of War Project at the former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick in Wheaton, Illinois. This was the culmination of a four-year interdisciplinary effort to summarize and advance human understanding about the causes, nature, and consequences of warfare. The study model was Quincy Wright's undertaking of the 1930s and 1940s, which resulted in sixty-six studies on the subject, including ten books and an influential summary volume.

Over the past three years, T.I.S.S. held ten one-day conferences to assess the state of our current knowledge about war. On each of these occasions a number of speakers and commentators from a given academic discipline were invited to give presentations and help clarify how scholars in their particular discipline approached the study of war. The audience, which engaged these speakers in dialogue in a question and answer exchange at the end of each session, was typically composed of persons coming from a mixture of academic and professional backgrounds. In this way, new insights were gained into how different disciplines approach three interrelated sets of questions about war: its causes, origins and functions; its nature, character, or process; and its impact.

At the Summary Conference this June, leading scholars from these disciplines met together to engage in direct dialogue. Over forty leading scholars of war and conflict participated, and eleven papers were discussed by commentators and attendees.

Speaking from the perspective of the discipline of biology was Professor Emeritus George Barlow (University of California, Berkeley) who read a paper on "War as an Adaptation `Gone Wrong.'"

The field of psychology was represented by Robert A. Hinde (Cambridge University) who spoke on "War: Some Psychological Causes and Consequences."

Brian Ferguson (Rutgers University) spoke on "Anthropological Perspectives on War," Lionel Tiger (Rutgers) presented a paper on "Durkheim, Sociology, and the Science of Bodies in Conflict;" and Professor Emeritus William H. McNeill, (University of Chicago) spoke on "The Human Experience of War and Violence."

Joseph T. Cox (U.S. Military Academy) addressed the issue of "The Changing Nature of War Literature."

Other participants included:

  • Craufurd D. W. Goodwin, (Duke University) speaking on "Economics and the Study of War,"
  • Alex Roland (Duke University) presenting a paper on "The Pax Technologica: Quincy Wright and the Influence of Technology upon War,"
  • Leslie C. Green (U.S. Naval War College) speaking on "Law and War Since World War II,"
  • Jack S. Levy (Rutgers University) addressing "The Study of War in Political Science;" and,
  • Professor Emeritus Anatol Rapoport (University of Toronto) Toronto, who spoke on "Conflict Resolution in the Light of an Evolutionary Theory of War."

The Summary Conference, which ended the first phase of the Study of War project, proved both lively and successful. The First Division Museum audio-taped the conference proceedings, which consisted of five separate sessions of fifteen-minute presentations by paper authors, fifteen-minute responses by commentators, and ninety minutes of discussion by all participants. When the process of transcribing and editing these tapes has been completed a more detailed synopsis of the Conference will be offered the readers of American Diplomacy. The papers and commentaries, totalling over 584 pages, are being revised for publication in the near future (1998-99). Details regarding the publisher and expected date of publication will also be provided in subsequent issues of this journal.

The Study of War Project was also intended to serve as a feasibility study to determine whether or not a collaborative study of war extending over as much as ten years should be undertaken. Alex Roland of Duke University and Richard H. Kohn of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are currently reviewing this possibility. If they conclude that a major study of war is indeed feasible, they plan to establish a research agenda. Graduate students and faculty engaged in the study of war at local universities (and possibly faculty enlisted from elsewhere) would be invited to prepare studies related to the project as a whole. The project would be expected to evolve over time as new questions arise and new fields of research open up.

The end result could be a new volume on war, following the model of Wright's A Study of War, updated to reflect the latest scholarship in all disciplines. At the same time, graduate students and scholars alike would gain the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary scholarship of the most sweeping kind while pursuing knowledge in their own field. In the final analysis, this undertaking has the potential not only to enrich scholarship on the subject of war for decades to come, but to help prevent or ameliorate the effects of war in the future.


Invited Participants in the Summary Conference
(by field)

Anthropology:
Melvyn Ember (Human Relations Area Files, Inc.)
R. Brian Ferguson (Rutgers University)
Lawrence Keeley (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Biology:
George W. Barlow (University of California, Berkeley)
Peter H. Klopfer (Duke University)

Communication Studies:
Cori E. Dauber (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
G. Thomas Goodnight (Northwestern University)

Economics:
Crauford D. W. Goodwin (Duke University)
Judith V. Reppy (Cornell University).

Engineering:
Paul J. Berenson (Scientific Advisor to the Commanding General, US Army Training and Doctrine Command)

History:
Don Higginbotham (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Michael Howard (Oxford University Emeritus)
Richard H. Kohn (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Henry E. Mattox (North Carolina State University)
William H. McNeill (University of Chicago Emeritus)
Robert L. O'Connell (National Ground Intelligence Center US Army)
Peter Paret (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)
Douglas Peifer (Triangle Institute for Security Studies)
Alex Roland (Duke University)
John Votaw (Cantigny First Division Foundation)
Arthur N. Waldron (US Naval War College)
Gerhard L. Weinberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Law:
Robinson O. Everett (Duke University Law School)
Leslie C. Green (US Naval War College)
Hays Parks (George Washington University School of Law)
Scott L. Silliman (Duke University Law School)

Literature:
Joseph T. Cox (US Military Academy)
Samuel Hynes (Princeton University).

Physics:
Richard L. Garwin (IBM Thomas J. Watson Laboratory, Emeritus)

Political Science/Public Policy:
William M. Arkin (independent scholar)
Peter D. Feaver (Duke University)
Henk E. Goemans (Duke University)
Ole R. Holsti (Duke University)
Robert Jervis (Columbia University)
Jack S. Levy (Rutgers University)
Timothy J. McKeown (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Barry R. Posen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Bruce M. Russett (Yale University)
Glenn L. Snyder (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Stephen W. Van Evera (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Psychology:
Daniel J. Christie (Ohio State University at Marion)
Robert A. Hinde (Cambridge University Emeritus)
Anatol Rapoport (University of Toronto, Emeritus)

Sociology:
James A. Davis (University of Chicago)
Lionel Tiger (Rutgers University-New Brunswick)



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