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Speaker: Dr. Michael Innes 

Respondent: Chiara Libiseller

Chair: Prof. Joe Maiolo

Dr Michael Innes joins us to discuss his forthcoming book Streets Without Joy: A Political History of Sanctuary and War, 1959 - 2009.

Co-hosted by the Centre for Grand Strategy, The Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War and the Strategic Studies Research Theme. 

Streets Without Joy blends historical research with policy analysis to explore concepts of sanctuary in America's wartime decisions and discourses. Wars after the 9/11 attacks were marked by a political obsession with terrorist ‘sanctuaries’ and ‘safe havens’, a preoccupation embedded in nearly every official speech and document of the time. As an exercise in political communication, it was a spectacular success. From 2001 to 2009, President George W. Bush and his closest advisors set terms of reference that cascaded down from the White House, through government and into the hearts and minds of Americans. ‘Sanctuary’ was the red thread running through all of it, permeating the decisions and discourses of the day. Where did this obsession come from? How did it become such an important feature of American foreign policy? In this new political history, Michael A. Innes explores precedents, from Saigon to Baghdad, and traces how decision-makers and their advisors used ideas of sanctuary to redefine American foreign policy, national security, and enemies real and imagined.

Streets Without Joy: A Political History of Sanctuary and War, 1959-2009, forthcoming in 2021 from C. Hurst & Co. Publishers (Oxford University Press in North America).


Dr. Michael A. Innes is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Conflict Records Unit in the Dept of War Studies at King's College London. In his scholarly guise, he teaches in the Conflict, Security and Development program, investigates regional challenges in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and engages with policy problems in the realms of defence, diplomacy, and international security. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an associate of LSE Ideas, an editor at H-Diplo and serves on the editorial board of the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. He has held honorary affiliations at the University of Oslo, University of Leeds and Syracuse University, and previously taught at University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), City University London and Concordia University. He holds a PhD in politics from SOAS, and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in history from Concordia. Prior to academia, he served in various Army units, and spent six years as a civilian staff officer with NATO. Streets Without Joy is his fifth and most recent book project.

At this event

Michael Innes

Visiting Senior Research Fellow

Joe  Maiolo

Professor of International History