Jacob Mundy

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Jacob Mundy

Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies; Director, Peace and Conflict Studies Program

Department/Office Information

Peace and Conflict Studies
222 Alumni Hall

Using a historical and geographical approach to the entangled constitution of social and ideational orders, my research explores processes and representations of organized violence, particularly in terms of foreign intervention, in Northwest Africa and Southwest Asia — the so-called MENA region. 

My current monographic research project is a historical reexamination of the conjuctural interrelationship between (a) changes in postwar global capitalism (particularly the neoliberal "turn" in the 1970s-1980s), (b) the intensification of militarization and armed conflicts in Northern Africa and Southwest Asia, and (c) the increasing representation of such violence as "terrorism."  To this end, I've published one research paper, one chapter in an edited volume, one analytical review paper, and an essay for general audiences

My primary fieldwork sites have been Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Western Sahara, as well as imperial archives in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. 

• PhD, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, 2010
• M.A., Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, 2004 
• B.A., Philosophy, University of Washington, Seattle, 1999

Interests: Critical Security Studies, Political Economy, Middle East, Northern Africa, Sahara-Sahel

Fieldwork: Tunisia (September 2018 – June 2019); Libya (Summer 2012), Algeria (October 2007 – June 2009); Morocco, Western Sahara, and Algeria (Summer 2003 and Fall 2005)

Archival Work: Archives Nationales d'Outre Mer (France), Archives nationales de Tunisie (Tunis), US National Archives (College Park, MD), Ford Presidential Library (Ann Arbor, MI)

Editorial Committee, Middle East Report, 2020–2025

Board of Directors, American Institute of Maghrib Studies, 2016–2018, 2020–2022 

Fulbright Scholar, Visiting Associate Professor, International Political-Economy Program, Tunis Business School, Université de Tunis, 2018–2019.

Fellow, Centre d’Études Maghrébines à Tunis, 2018–2019

Founding Fellow, Sidi Bou Said School of Critical Protest Studies.

Fellow, Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs, 2018–2019.

Conseil scientifique, Observatoire universitaire international du Sahara Occidental (OUISO), 2017–Present

Fellow, Centre d’Études Maghrébines en Algérie, 2007–2008

Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution, Revised and Updated Second Edition, coauthored with Stephen Zunes, Syracuse University Press, Series on Peace and Conflict Resolution, 2021; first edition 2010; second Printing 2011.

Libya. Polity Press, Series in Global Hot Spots, 2018. 

Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence: Conflict Science, Conflict Management, Antipolitics, Stanford University Press, Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures, 2015

The Post-conflict Environment: Investigation and Critique, coeditor with Daniel B. Monk, University of Michigan Press, Series in Global Urban Studies, 2014. 

Jacob Mundy, “A Theoretical War: Accounting for American Imperialism in the Middle East,” Journal of Labor and Society 26 (1: Special Issue on Global Movements in the Middle East), 2023: 15–38, https://brill.com/view/journals/jlso/26/1/article-p15_002.xml

Jacob Mundy, “Libya: Lost in Transition,” Middle East Law and Governance 13(1: Special Journal Section, “Libya: When Transitions Become the Status Quo,” edited by Jacob Mundy), 2021: 1–3, https://brill.com/view/journals/melg/13/1/article-p1_1.xml, Open Access Introduction.

"The Middle East is Violence: On the Limits of Comparative Approaches to the Study of Armed Conflicts." Civil Wars 21 (4: Special issue on The Politics of Comparing Armed Conflicts), 2019: 539–568, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13698249.2019.1664847, Open Access 

“The Science, Aesthetics, and Management of Late Warfare: An Introduction.” Critical Studies on Security 1(2: Special issue co-edited by Stefanie Fishel and Jacob Mundy), 2013: 143-158, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21624887.2013.826426 

"'Wanton and Senseless' Revisited: The Study of Warfare in Civil Conflicts and the Historiography of the Algerian Massacres," African Studies Review 56(3) December 2013: 25-55, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/asr.2013.78 

"Deconstructing Civil War: Beyond the New Wars Debate," Security Dialogue 42(3), June 2011: 279-295, http://sdi.sagepub.com/content/42/3/279.abstract 

"Expert Intervention: Knowledge, Violence and Identity during the Algerian massacres," Cambridge Review of International Affairs 23(1), March 2010: 25-47, Special Issue on Scholarship and War: Ethics, Power and Knowledge, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09557570903540193 

"Performing the Nation, Prefiguring the State: The Western Saharan Refugees Thirty Years Later," Journal of Modern African Studies 45(2), June 2007: 275-297, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X07002546


“A Theory of the Middle East: Oil for Insecurity, Permanent War, and the Political-Economy of Late Imperial America” in Between Catastrophe and Revolution: Essays in Honor of Mike Davis, edited by Daniel Bertrand Monk and Michael Sorkin (New York, N.Y.: Urban Research): 193–206.

“Das Ende des Friedensprozesses in der Westsahara und der Zusammenbruch des UN-Waffenstillstands,” in Westsahara: Afrikas letzte Kolonie, edited by Judit Tavakoli, Manfred O. Hinz, Werner Ruf und Leonie Gaiser (Berlin: regiospectra Verlag, 2021): 59–80.

“Critical Approaches to Peacebuilding,” in Peacebuilding Paradigms: The Impact of Theoretical Diversity on Implementing Sustainable Peace, edited by Henry Carey (Cambridge University Press, 2020): 193–206.

“Libya,” in The Middle East, 15th Edition, edited by Ellen Lust (Sage/CQ Press, 2019), 529–550. Revised and updated from 14th Edition.

“The Geopolitical Functions of the Western Sahara Conflict: US Hegemony, Moroccan Stability, and Sahrawi Strategies of Resistance,” in International, Regional and Local Dimensions of Western Sahara’s Protracted Decolonization, edited by Raquel Ojeda Garcia, Irene Fernández-Molina, and Victoria Veguilla (Palgrave, 2017): 53–78.

"Moroccan Settlers in Western Sahara: Colonists or Fifth Column?" (coauthored with Stephen Zunes) in Settlers in Contested Lands: Territorial Disputes and Ethnic Conflicts, Oded Haklai and Neophytos Loizides (eds), Stanford University Press, 2015: 40-74. 

"Bringing the tribe back in? The Western Sahara dispute, ethno-history, and the imagineering of minority conflicts in the Arab world," in Minority Rights and Multiculturalism in the Arab World, Will Kymlicka and Eva Pföstl (eds), Oxford University Press, 2014: 127-150. 

"Western Sahara: Nonviolent Resistance as a Last Resort," coauthored with Stephen Zunes, in Civil Resistance and Conflict Transformation: Transitions from Armed to Nonviolent Struggle, Véronique Dudouet (ed), Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution, 2014: 20-44.

"The Aftermath: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103," The Alarmist Podcast (November 10, 2022), https://play.acast.com/s/alarmist/the-aftermath-the-bombing-of-pan-am-flight-103

"Unpacking the power plays over Western Sahara," The Conversation (August 1, 2022), https://theconversation.com/unpacking-the-power-plays-over-western-sahara-186675

"Militias Aren’t New. Our Fixation on Them Is," The Century Foundation (May 5, 2022), https://tcf.org/content/commentary/militias-arent-new-fixation/  See also: Podcast, "Are We Really in an Age of Militias?" Order From Ashes (May 5, 2022), https://thecenturyfoundation.podbean.com/e/are-we-really-in-an-age-of-militias/

Hugh Lovatt and Jacob Mundy, Free to choose: A new plan for peace in Western Sahara (Brussels: European Council on Foreign Relations, May 2021), https://ecfr.eu/publication/free-to-choose-a-new-plan-for-peace-in-western-sahara/

"Interview with Jacob Mundy on Libya" by Bill Fletcher Jr., Global African Worker (October 2020), https://www.globalafricanworker.com/content/interview-jacob-mundy-libya

Podcast, "The War for the Western Sahara," Popular Front (December 16, 2020), https://soundcloud.com/popularfrontcast/100-the-war-for-the-western-sahara

"The U.S. recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara. Here’s what that means," The Monkey Cage (Blog), Washington Post (December 11, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/11/us-recognized-moroccan-sovereignty-over-disputed-western-sahara-heres-what-that-means/

Press Conference, "Western Sahara ceasefire over after 29 years," Foreign Press Association (November 17, 2020), https://youtu.be/u50nGnBdHLI

Interview, "Ceasefire Ends in Occupied Western Sahara After U.S.-Backed Moroccan Military Launches Operation," Democracy Now! (November 16, 2020), https://www.democracynow.org/2020/11/16/western_sahara_jacob_mundy>

Interview with Bill Fletcher on Libya, Global African Worker (October 3, 2020), https://www.globalafricanworker.com/content/interview-jacob-mundy-libya

Podcast, "Jacob Mundy, Libya (Polity Press, 2018)," Interview with Prof. Susan Thomson, New Books in African Studies (September 7, 2020), https://newbooksnetwork.com/jacob-mundy-libya-polity-press-2018/

Podcast, "Why is the 'everywhere' war mostly in the Middle East and North Africa?," Maghrib in Past and Present (July 15, 2020), https://www.themaghribpodcast.com/2020/07/why-is-everywhere-war-mostly-in-middle.html

"The Oil for Security Myth and Middle East Insecurity," Middle East Report N° 294 (Spring 2020), https://merip.org/2020/06/the-oil-for-security-myth-and-middle-east-insecurity-2/

"Why ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ could inhibit a peace deal in Libya," The Conversation (January 23, 2020), http://theconversation.com/why-too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen-could-inhibit-a-peace-deal-in-libya-130391

"The Globalized Unmaking of the Libyan State," Middle East Report N° 290 (Spring 2019), 3–7, https://merip.org/2019/07/the-globalized-unmaking-of-the-libyan-state/

"Libya conflict boils down to the man driving the war – Khalifa Haftar," The Conversation (April 10, 2019), http://theconversation.com/libya-conflict-boils-down-to-the-man-driving-the-war-khalifa-haftar-115192

"The collapse of oil for insecurity: Why Venezuela’s turmoil and the Khashoggi crisis portend an even darker geopolitics of oil," Africa is a Country (March 24, 2019), https://africasacountry.com/2019/03/the-collapse-of-oil-for-insecurity

Alice Wilson and Jacob Mundy, "Business as Usual in Western Sahara?" Middle East Report (January 21, 2019), https://merip.org/2019/01/business-as-usual-in-western-sahara/

"Why Libya’s new elections might not put the country back on track," The Conversation (June 6, 2018), http://theconversation.com/why-libyas-new-elections-might-not-put-the-country-back-on-track-97700

Keynote Address, “The End of the Ceasefire and Its Consequences,” Symposium on Western Sahara: Between Colonialism, Imperialism, and Self-Determination, Freiheit für die Westsahara e.V, April 23, 2021, online.

Paper, “Why is the ‘Everywhere War’ mostly in the Middle East and North Africa?,” Western Interventions in the Wake of Arab Uprisings: Political Containment, Neoliberalism, and Imperial Legacies, Workshop, Middle East Center and School of Global and Area Studies, Oxford University, February 23-25, 2021, online.

Talk, “Making Hegemony in the Middle East,” Sovereignty, Order & Conflict Seminar Series, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Syracuse University, October 8, 2020, online.

Lecture, “The UN Failure in Western Sahara,” Osaka School of International Public Policy, University of Osaka, Japan, November 5, 2019.

Paper, “Why is the ‘Everywhere’ War Mostly in the Middle East?,” Le Centre d’Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT), September 12, 2019.

Concept Paper, “Development and Global Security,” Governance and Local Development in the Middle East and North Africa, workshop, organized by the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg, held in Sarajevo, August 7–9, 2019.

Paper, “From the Capital of Africa to the Caliphate: High Modern Authoritarianism and Infrastructural Warfare in Sirte, Libya,” De/constructing the Middle Eastern City: Places, Publics, and Geographies of Global Connection, workshop, Maxwell School of International Affairs, March 30, 2018.

Lecture, “The Necessity of Human Rights Violations in Western Sahara,” Departamento Derecho Internacional Público, Relaciones Internacionales e Historia del Derecho, Universidad del País Vasco, November 23, 2017.

Paper, “Conditions of Regionality: The Politics of Comparing Armed Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa,” The Politics of Comparing Armed Conflicts, workshop, Université du Québec à Montréal, October 13, 2017.

Paper, “Regional Insecurities: Arms, Oil, and Orientalism in the Middle East and North Africa,” Middle Eastern Studies, Maxwell School of International Studies, Syracuse University, September 28, 2017.

Co-organizer and co-chair, Making Space in the Maghrib, 30th Annual Conference of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, funded by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, Djerba, Tunisia, July 8–9, 2017.

Paper, “Towards a Political Economy of State Failure in Libya,” Extremism, Security, and the State in Africa, Institute for African Development Symposium, Cornell University, October 29, 2016.

Talk, “Why you’ve never heard of Western Sahara: Morocco, the United States, and Africa’s Last Colony,” Cornell Law School, April 18, 2016.

Talk, “From ‘State of the Masses’ to State of the Martyrs: Rethinking Libya,” Arab World Studies Program, American University, April 11, 2016.

Presentation, “Economics as Antipolitics in Civil War research,” Symposium on the Geopolitics of Inequality, Bloustein School of Public Affairs, Rutgers University, November 11, 2015.

Paper, “The Geopolitical Functions of the Western Sahara Conflict: US hegemony, Moroccan Stability, and Sahrawi Resistance,” Seminario Internacional sobre el Sahara Occidental, University of Granada and University of Jaén, Spain, October 31–November 1, 2015.