Aims and scopes

The Close Encounters in War Journal is an independent, open-access, and peer-reviewed journal aimed at studying war as a human experience, through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. The journal studies how war affects the sphere of human relations, which can occur in a number of ways, through direct experience but also through indirect – intellectual – experience. When war is experienced indirectly, language becomes the medium through which people encounter war, for example through literature, journalism, politics, or science. Close Encounters in War seeks to explore the condition, meaning, and aftermath of both direct and indirect encounters with war and conflict.

War is a cultural phenomenon that at the beginning of the third millennium represents both an urgent issue that could potentially put the survival of humanity at stake, and also one of the most ancient and deeply rooted aspects of human cultural evolution. It is therefore fundamental to investigate the meaning of wars and conflicts for our civilizations, by reflecting on our experiences as human beings.

British POW receives a cigarette from his German captor. Western front, 1917

Humans go to war not only to achieve practical advantages such as the control of a territory, as other species do. War is a cultural phenomenon as well. In human beings, it triggers the dangerous impulse to kill one’s own kin in a confrontation that is fundamentally based on the use of weapons as tools invented to harm lethally, and this complexity is what makes war so important to study as a multifaceted experience in which culture is crucial and it combines with instincts, passions, emotions and behavioural patterns. Thus, war is deeply intertwined with language and with the human ability to represent concepts aesthetically by projecting their images from one conceptual domain to another.

The concept of “encounter” is therefore fundamental as it involves experience, and as a consequence, it implies the idea that the fact of encountering war shapes and develops our minds and affects our behaviour, questioning habits and values, prejudices and views of the world. Obviously, not all encounters are the same. Fighting as a combatant is not the same as witnessing as a bystander, which in turn is different than reading war-memoirs or watching war movies as a civilian in the safety of one’s living room. Nonetheless, all these experiences are connected and comparable: each encounter with war, whatever its form, triggers an emotional response, which also means cultural elaboration and ethical reflection.

French colonial soldier. Italy, 1944

The aim of Close Encounters in War is thus to discuss both encounters with war and within the war, including but not limited to military strategy and cultural representations, and it seeks to promote a genuinely interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary debate by welcoming contributions from leading scholars and specialists from different disciplinary areas, ranging from the Humanities and the Social Sciences.

The editors of Close Encounters in War welcome contributions from authors from a range of disciplines, including but not limited to history, literary studies, international affairs, philosophy, sociology, political science, anthropology, medicine, statistics, psychology and the bio-sciences. The opinions expressed in the articles do not reflect those of the editors or editorial board members of Close Encounters in War Journal. The journal observes a strict anti-plagiarism policy and will not accept any article containing offensive or hateful opinions and comments as to race, gender, religion, and political orientation.

Christmas truce between English and German troops. Western front, December 25, 191


– War as a human experience

– Encounters with war or within war

– Historical scope: wars and conflicts from ancient history to the 21st century

– Geographical scope: wars and conflicts across global geographical and cultural areas

– Comparative, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to war studies