There are recurrent debates in strategic studies that go back to Antiquity, before the word “strategy” even assumed its modern meanings.

They concern the role of chance, the role of higher forces (God, historical inevitability, having justice on one’s side…), the predictability of the outcome of battles and wars, and more recently, the nature of future wars. A key debate pitting the Clausewitzian School against Social Science Positivism but also against those interested mainly in International Relations Theories can also be traced back over the centuries: can strategic studies provide “principles of war” or prescriptions, or can they serve only to reflect on wars in general and a particular war so as to educate the minds of leaders who will have to judge and decide for themselves on what to do in each situation?

Beatrice Heuser is the Jeffrey Grey Visiting Professor at the Australian War College. She holds the Chair in IR at the University of Glasgow. She previously taught at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London; then at the University of Reading. She has also taught at French and German universities (most recently the universities of Sorbonne and Paris Panthéon-Assas, and at Sciences Po’ Paris). From 1997-1998 she worked at NATO HQ in Brussels. She holds degrees from the Universities of London (BA, MA), Oxford (DPhil), Marburg (Habilitation).

Her publications include The Evolution of Strategy (2010), Reading Clausewitz (2002), Strategy before Clausewitz (2017), with Eitan Shamir (eds) Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies: National Styles and Strategic Cultures (2017) and, most recently, WAR: A Genealogy of Western Ideas and Practices (2022). She has also worked for the Bundeswehr, most recently lecturing at its General Staff College (Führungsakademie) in Hamburg, is a Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institution, and a Visiting Fellow at the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre.

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Mon, 5 Sep 2022, 6 - 7pm

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