About Strife

What is Strife?

Strife is a dual format publication comprised of Strife academic blog, as well as the peer-reviewed academic journal, Strife Journal, which is published biannually. Strife is led by doctoral and graduate researchers based in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds including graduate and doctoral researchers, staff and faculty at King’s, and leading experts from around the world.

Our thematic focus is ‘conflict’ in all shapes, forms and senses of the word. We combine political, historical, literary, and philosophical approaches to conflict (among other things) for our readers. We aim to provide thought-provoking, unique perspectives in all our work. 

Ever since our foundation, in 2012, by a group of MA students, with the fundamental support of members of staff as well as PhD candidates, Strife has grown to reach a global audience. From the 8,000 annual views of 2012, Strife grew to reach 70,000 views in 2015 and 870,000 in 2017. As our 2018 Readers Survey shows, our audience is made by scholars, practitioners, and students from all around the world.


Who runs Strife?

Andrea Varsori — Editor-in-Chief, Strife Blog and Journal 

Andrea is a PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. His research aims at explaining the extraordinary resilience displayed by drug trafficking gangs and paramilitary groups in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil. To this end, he is using an evolutionary/ecological approach to assess any link between changes within urban armed groups and increases or decreases in resilience. His research interests include urban violence, insurgencies, organized crime, and criminal discourses of legitimation. You can follow him on Twitter @Andrea_Varsori.


Axel Dessein — Managing Editor, Strife Blog

Axel Dessein is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Grand Strategy (War Studies, King’s College London) and a recipient of the Leverhulme Trust scholarship “Interrogating Visions of a Post-Western World.” His research focuses on the ideological driving force behind China’s rise. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Oriental Languages and Cultures from Ghent University. You can follow him on Twitter @AxelDessein.


Anna Plunkett – Managing Editor, Strife Journal

Anna is a doctoral researcher in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. She received her BA in Politics and Economics from the University of York, before receiving a scholarship to continue her studies at York with an MA in Post-War Recovery. She was the recipient of the Guido Galli Award for her MA dissertation. Her primary interests include conflict and democracy at the sub-national level, understanding how minor conflicts impact democratic realisation within quasi-post conflict states. Her main area of focus is Burma’s ethnic borderlands and ongoing conflicts within the region. She has previously worked as a human rights researcher focusing on military impunity in Burma and has conducted work on evaluating Bosnia’s post-war recovery twenty years after the Dayton Peace Accords. You can follow her on Twitter @AnnaBPlunkett.


Nikolai Gourof — Book Reviews Editor, Strife Journal

Nikolai is a historian and a PhD researcher at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.  Formerly a lawyer and a corporate consultant, he has first-hand knowledge of contemporary Greece and Russia. It is the early modern world, however, that has stolen his heart. His current research focuses on the evolution of the culture and practice of war in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. Additionally, he retains a strong interest in the history of sixteenth-century Russia, and its reception and projection in the post-Soviet world. The treatment of war and history in art, literature and cinema has been a lifelong fascination.


Eve Gleeson — Communications Manager 

Eve is a master’s student in International Relations at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, as well as the Communications Manager of Strife. Her courses focus on security challenges in the evolving global context, including cyber threats, nuclear and biological programs, and security in new states. Eve holds a BA in International Studies with a focus on conflict and security from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. You can find her on LinkedIn and on Twitter @evegleeson_.


Samantha Glass — Editor and Finance Officer 

Samantha is an MA candidate in Intelligence & International Security at King’s College London. She completed her BA at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and spent four months in Geneva, Switzerland, studying Multilateral Negotiation Strategies. Her broader interests include geospatial analysis and strategic communications.


Andreas Moeller — Senior Editor

Andreas is a PhD candidate in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. His research focuses on war crimes and atrocities during the Bosnian war of the 1990s. He examines court transcripts and documents from the extensive archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague. His research interests broadly revolve around themes of mass violence in twentieth century history, the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, and how atrocities are prosecuted by international criminal law. Andreas holds a BA in history from the University of Leeds and more recently an MPhil in modern European history from the University of Cambridge.


John A. Pennell – Senior Editor

John is a doctoral researcher in the Defence Studies Department (DSD) within the School of Security Studies at King’s College London. His PhD is focused upon asymmetric warfare as it relates to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. In addition to specific research interests in Ukraine, Russia, and other former Soviet states, his broader research interests include the role of soft power in conflict; strategic thought; unconventional warfare; and the Middle East.

John is also a Career Member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, currently serving in Kyiv, Ukraine. His prior assignments have included Afghanistan, El Salvador, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, and Uzbekistan. He has an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University/National War College (Washington, D.C.), an MA in Political Science from American University (Washington, D.C.), and a BA in Politics from The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.).

You can follow him on Twitter @jpennell1970 .


Daria Platonova  – Senior Editor

Daria is a PhD student at King’s College London. Her research focuses on violence and the unfolding of conflict across several regions in eastern Ukraine, 2013 – 2014. She also leads one of the Causes of War seminars in the War Studies Department. Prior to joining King’s, she worked as a teacher. She graduated with a degree in History from the University of Cambridge in 2011. Her broader interests include European history, war studies, and interdisciplinary methods.


Saawani Raje — Senior Editor 

Saawani is a PhD candidate at the King’s India Institute and a recipient of the King’s India Scholarship. Her PhD research is primarily a historical examination into civil-military decision-making during crises in independent India. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, she obtained an MA in South Asia and Global Security. She was previously a Research Associate at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, on the Oxford University Press Handbook on Indian Foreign Relations. While at King’s, she has been the Programme Manager for the FCO Diplomatic Academy South Asia Conference and has been teaching undergraduates at the Department of War Studies. Her wider research interests include diplomatic history, foreign policy, diplomacy and the study of contemporary conflicts. You can follow her on Twitter @saawaniraje.


Kamaldeep Sandhu – Senior Editor

Kamaldeep Singh Sandhu is a doctoral student at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London. His research interests include South Asian security, military culture and defence diplomacy. An alumnus of National Defence Academy, Pune and Army War College, Mhow, he has served as an officer with the Indian army’s Parachute Regiment for ten years. He completed his MA in ‘War in the Modern World’ from the department of War Studies at King’s College London in 2014. His MA thesis analysed the asymmetric escalation of conflict, from sub-conventional to nuclear level, between India and Pakistan. You can follow him on Twitter @kamal_sandhu78.


Harrison Brewer — Series Editor

Harrison Brewer is pursuing an MA in Conflict, Security, and Development. He recently graduated from McGill University in Montréal, Canada with a degree in Classics, Political Science, and Art History. Harrison has previously worked for Deverell Associates, a security consultancy firm in London, specialising in crisis preparedness and leadership training. He is now working for Boxspring Media, a tech-driven learning disruptor for corporate firms. Harrison’s interests include strategic analyses of paramilitary violence in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on gendered violence, Insurgency patterns, and conflict simulation. Harrison has designed and produced a simulation modelling the urban warfare of the Iraqi Army’s campaign for Mosul in 2016-2017 that is being developed for commercial use. You can follow Harrison on twitter at @_HarrisonBrewer.


Martin Fourdrignier — Series Editor and External Representative at ESSEC

Martin is a French MSc in Management candidate at ESSEC Business School (Paris, France). Prior to that, he completed undergraduate studies in Humanities in preparatory classes at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand (Paris) and graduated from an M.A. in Public Policy at Sciences Po (Paris). While studying, he works in the energy practice of a European consultancy. He previously was a vice-president of the first French student’s tribune “Les Mardis de l’ESSEC,” where he led interviews of business and political French personalities. He is also a member of the French Youth Institute for Higher National Defense Studies. His broader interests include cultural studies applied to the Great War, defense and security public policy, and geopolitical issues related to resources and energy. You can follow him on Twitter @martinovichf.


Suzanne Holcomb — Series Editor 

Suzanne is a War Studies MA student at King’s College London studying international security. Before attending King’s she completed her undergraduate degree in history, political science, and Chinese at McGill University. She has also interned at the Hudson Institute and at the American Institute in Taiwan. Suzanne’s primary research interests include Central Asian security issues, Chinese internal politics, foreign policy, and armed forces development. You can follow her on Twitter @sfjholcomb.


Philip L. Johnson — Series Editor and External Representative at CUNY

Philip is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and an adjunct instructor at Hunter College. His doctoral project examines criminal communication and social control in Mexico. Most recently he has taught courses on terrorism, and on Central America. You can follow him on Twitter @phillegitimate.


Stephen Jones — Series Editor 

Stephen is a Master’s student at Kings’ War Studies Department, following an MA in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh. His main research interests involve the psychological causes of inter-group conflict and violence, as well as the cognitive processes that allow disinformation campaigns and terror recruitment strategies to succeed. Before joining King’s, he worked for the UN in New York, observing the positive effects of diplomacy and international collaboration in conflicts large and small around the world.


Alexandra Roberts — Series Editor 

Alexandra is studying for an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society at King’s College London. She is particularly interested in the role of women in Jihadist terrorism and US foreign security policy. Prior to starting my postgraduate studies, she worked as a political and security researcher, with particular focus on the MENA region. She also done work focussing on the prevention of IUU fishing. Alexandra has a BSc in Oil and Gas management, with particular focus on the petrochemical industry in Iraq and its potential social, economic and political impacts on the country, using knowledge and experience gained working in the private security sector with a company specialising in the Middle East and Afghanistan.


Oliver Yule-Smith — MA Representative 

Oliver is a Double MA candidate between King’s College London and Sciences Po. He has completed his first year in International Security at Sciences Po, and is now in the process of completing his year at King’s College London studying Conflict, Security and Development. He previously completed his BA in International Relations at King’s College London in the Department of War Studies. He has held positions in think tanks specialising in African politics and security concerns in the 21st century, as well as positions in companies producing emerging cyber technologies.  His research interests include statecraft, grand strategy, foreign policy, diplomatic history and approaches to the mitigation of conflict. You can follow him on Twitter @ollyys1.


Isabela Betoret Garcia — BA Representative 

Isabela first completed a Foundation Programme in International Relations and now is a second year War Studies and History BA. She is Mexican-Spanish and lived most of her life in Mexico until moving to the London. She is also the current events reporter for The Clandestine, and works as an International Relations tutor for the ELC. Her academic interests are varied, ranging from security in Latin America to political thought, to gender. You can follow her on Twitter @isa_betoret.


Sofia Lesmes — BA Representative 

Sofia is a final year student reading History & International Relations. She has worked as an intern at her local U.S. House District office, in addition to having extensive experience in the private sector. She is a Colombian and U.S. dual citizen. Her academic interests include analysing the U.S. and UK’s ‘special relationship’ from a historical perspective, coercive diplomacy, and ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia. You can follow her on twitter @slesmes98.


Shivali Bhatt — Alumni Editor

Shivali is currently pursuing her MA Intelligence and International Security at Department of War Studies, King’s College London. She is also a Creative Writer at cybersecurity startup PixelPin, where she contributes articles on ‘Thought Leadership’, encouraging readers to approach security issues through innovative means. Prior to that, she spent some time in Hong Kong under the InvestHK and EntrepreneurHK organisations, engaging with the cybersecurity and tech scene on the East Coast. Her core research interests include modern warfare and contemporary challenges, cybersecurity, and strategic policy analysis. You can follow her  on @shivalinbhatt.


Andrea Fischetti — Alumni Editor

Andrea Fischetti is a MEXT scholar conducting research on Japan and Asia-Pacific Security at The University of Tokyo. He is also researching at the Asia Pacific Initiative (API). Andrea received his MA in War Studies from King’s College London, which followed a BA with First Class Honours in International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies. In the past he worked in the House of Commons, studied Japanese language at SOAS, and researched at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of the Hiroshima City University where he was a visiting student. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Fischetti.


Giulia Monteleone — Alumni Editor

Giulia is pursuing an MA in Conflict, Security and Development in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where she completed her BA in International Relations in 2017. She works as Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at KCL, researching on the Egyptian uprising and the Egyptian diaspora in the UK. She previously gained work experience in foreign affairs at governmental level and broadcasting at community media level. Her academic interests focus on social movements and popular politics, Arab Uprisings, diaspora & migration studies. You can follow her on Twitter: @GiuliaMonteleon.


Amy Ertan — External Representative at Royal Holloway

Amy Ertan is a PhD researcher within the Centre for Cyber Security at Royal Holloway, University of London. Amy previously studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford, where she first developed an interest in international security. Amy was part of the winning team in Atlantic Council’s international relations / cyber security 9/12 competition, and was also awarded Cyber Security Student of the Year at the 2018 SC Media Awards. Her main research interests continue to focus on international relations and cyber-warfare, as well as emerging cyber security threats relating to artificial intelligence. You can follow her on Twitter: @AmyErtan.


Carina Uchida — External Representative at Oxford 

Carina is currently an MSc Candidate for Latin American Studies at the University of Oxford. She is a Brazilian-Japanese national and an alumni at the War Studies Department, King’s College London in BA International Relations. Her research interests include transitional justice processes in post-civil war arenas in Latin America and as an avid International Relations theorist, interested in critical disruptions of human security, post-colonial spaces and gendered experiences of international politics. She is currently an editor for the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy and University of Oxford’s peer-review journal St. Antony’s International Review (STAIR). She has previously gained research experience at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and KCL’s own King’s Think Tank, with work related to UN Peacekeeping and right-wing populism. You can follow her on Twitter @CarinaMinami.


Julie Bouchet — External Representative at SciencesPo


Giuseppe Grieco — External Representative at Queen Mary 


Strife would also like to thank, for all their wonderful work, the previous editorial committee: Harris KuemmerleHemant Shivakamur, Devorah Margolin, Bradley Lineker, Sabina Ciofu, Lauren Dickey, Lauren Mellinger, Sarah Choong Ee Mei, Iona Allan and those before them. We are also grateful to the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, as well as Dr. Christine Cheng, Professor Vivienne Jabri, Professor Mervyn Frost, Professor Jack Spence, OBE and Professor Joe Maiolo for their continuous support.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this blog are attributable to their individual authors writing in their personal capacity only, and not to any other author, the editors, or any other person, organizations or institutions with which the author might be affiliated unless explicitly stated as such.

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