In October 2011, the Kenyan military invaded southern Somalia with the stated purpose of addressing the threat posed by the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab. Kenyan troops remain operative in Somalia today, nearly eight years later. This talk will examine how the Kenyan state has normalized militarization against Al-Shabaab through historically specific racial logics about Somalis, and through the invocation of liberal narratives of global peace and security. Building on the work of Merje Kuus (2009), Dr. Al-Bulushi will illustrate that Kenya invokes the role played by its military abroad to enact a form of ‘cosmopolitan militarism,’ wherein Kenya differentiates itself from neighboring ‘failed’ states like Somalia. The talk will analyze how the performance of cosmopolitan militarism works to shift attention away from the material dimensions of war and geopolitics to more abstract, imaginative domains. More broadly, it will explore how emerging Global South powers shape popular understandings of militarized interventionism and unending war. 

 

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