Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Did ‘Western’ academia get the war wrong? Blindspots, learning curves and ethical futures following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Fri31  Mar04:15pm(90 mins)
McIntyre Room 201


Precious Chatterje-Doody4Stephen Hall1; Maxine David2; Aglaya Snetkov3; Natasha Kuhrt5; Andrew Wilson3
1 University of Bath, UK;  2 Leiden University, Netherlands;  3 SSEES UCL, UK;  4 The Open University, UK;  5 KCL, UK


Back in late 2021, intelligence reports indicated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent. Across disciplines and national contexts, scholars took varied approaches to the prospect of war: some foregrounded Russia’s precedent for aggression against their own states; others charted troop movements and their meanings; yet more interrogated the relative strategic gains of an actual versus threatened invasion. In this roundtable, we will discuss the extent to which Western academia mis-read Putin and Russia prior to the invasion. Over a year on, we ask: What analytical and disciplinary blindspots have been brought to light? To what extent have scholars learnt from past mistakes? What of the relationship between academia and practitioners? And, in the context of an ongoing war, how can we make sure our scholarship, commentary and impact is both accurate and ethical?