Mackinder Forum Virtual Seminar #36: Professor Andrew Latham, “The State, War and the State of War in Medieval Europe.”

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Professor Andrew Latham, Macalester College, addressed the Mackinder Forum Seminar on July 31, 2021, 11:00 am – 1:30 pm Eastern US time. His topic: “The State, War and the State of War in Medieval Europe.”

Abstract: When it comes to warfare in the Middle Ages, the common belief is that it was always motivated by feudal concerns, religious convictions, or some other exotic medieval set of concerns. The reality is that while the Middle Ages were indeed punctuated with crusades and dynastic struggles, most wars were the product of state- (and empire) building. Put slightly differently, the dominant political dynamics of the medieval era gave rise to two types of war. The first of these political wars were what I will call “constitutive wars” – that is, wars over the very existence of certain political units as sovereign entities. An example of this kind of war was that fought between England and Scotland from 1296 to 1337. The second form of medieval political warfare was what I have called “configurative war.” These were wars fought not over the existence of political units, but over their territorial configuration. Perhaps the quintessential example of a late medieval constitutive war was the Hundred Years War between England and France (1337-1453).


Medieval Geopolitics: War in the Medieval Mind

Medieval Geopolitics: The Medieval “Military Revolution”

Medieval Geopolitics: The Two Types of Warfare in Medieval Europe

Biography: Andrew Latham is a professor of International Relations and Political Theory at Macalester College (Saint Paul, MN), and a research associate at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies in Winnipeg, Canada. Previously, he was Assistant Director of the Centre for International and Security Studies, York University, Toronto; Senior Policy Associate with the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Lecturer, at the Canadian Armed Forces School of Aerospace Studies, Winnipeg, Canada. He is author of Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades (Routledge, 2012), The Holy Lance: A Novel of the Third Crusade (KRP, 2015), and Medieval Sovereignty (ARC Humanities/University of Amsterdam Press, forthcoming, January 2022). His writings have appeared in International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, International Journal, International Studies Review, The Hill, The National Interest, The Diplomat, Responsible Statecraft, 1945, RealClearDefense, DefenseOne, and The Wavell Room. He earned a Ph.D. in International Relations (with an emphasis in Strategic Studies) from York University in Canada, an M.A. in Political Science from Queen’s University in Canada, and a B.A in Political Science and History from York.