Sep 7 2023

In memory of Christopher Coker

It is with the greatest sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the death of LSE IDEAS Director, Professor Christopher Coker.

As a Professor of International Relations at LSE for over 40 years, Christopher taught and mentored countless students who remember his unique humour and individuality. Following his retirement in 2019, he continued to serve as the Co-Director of LSE IDEAS, supporting the foundation of the LSE IDEAS Ratiu Forum and establishing many other long-standing partnerships.

Professor Coker was a world-renowned academic who dedicated his life to writing extensively on all aspects of war. He was a twice-serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, the US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute for Defence Studies in Tokyo, the Rajaratnam School for International Studies Singapore, the Political Science Department at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Norwegian and Swedish Defence Colleges. His publications include Rebooting Clausewitz (Hurst, 2015), Future War (Polity, 2016), and The Rise of the Civilizational State (Polity, 2019). His most recent book was, Why War? (2020).

Co-Director, Professor Chris Alden, commented in memory of Professor Coker, “Christopher’s originality of thought and sparkling intellect shaped a generation of scholars, policymakers and students studying war in our times. All of us at LSE IDEAS were privileged to know and work with him over the years. His presence will be sorely missed.’’

Centre Manager, Dr Emilia Knight, said, “We will miss Professor Christopher Coker immensely. He was a superb colleague and leader at IDEAS, and the kindest person.’’

We would also encourage you to share memories and messages on our dedicated space hereAt this time, we do not have any further information regarding memorial celebrations but as and when these are organised they will be shared here. 

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6 Responses to In memory of Christopher Coker

  1. Greg Kennedy says:

    My condolences to all the family, friends and colleagues of Chris Coker’s. His passing is a very sad thing.

  2. Eddy Fonyódi says:

    What sad news! A brilliant mind has left us. When I saw the news of Professor Coker’s passing, I went back to my notes from his classes in 2005 and re-read a couple of them as well as an essay I wrote on War as a product of nature and nurture. I realised that over the years I have come to use so much of what Professor Coker taught me in his inspiring lectures and through our discussions in class – both in my further studies of security policy and my later and current work in the same field. I will be forever grateful for his frank, to the point and extremely intelligent way of formulating thoughts about some of the most gruesome traits of human nature and society – all for our better understanding, deeper knowledge and, hopefully, contribution to betterment. Rest in peace Professor Coker!

  3. fawaz a. gerges says:

    I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Christopher, a wonderful colleague and a provoking scholar. I feel privileged to have gotten to know Christopher over the years. Big loss for the LSE community and the field in general.

  4. Derek West says:

    Professor Christopher Coker obituary in The Times on 18 September 2023.

  5. Gerald Frost says:

    Christopher was a generous friend, a stimulating collaborator and an outstanding scholar. As founder and Director of the Institute of European Defence and Strategic Studies, I commissioned him to write a trenchant critique of British defence policy, Less Important than Opulence: the Conservatives and Defence (1988) which proved prescient in several regards. He was also the rapporteur of am IEDSS study group which concluded that the jubilation occasioned by the Soviet collapse was in part misplaced because far from signalling the end of war conflict would quite quickly return to the traditional terrain of national, ethnic and religious rivalries, that, in short, the world was becoming a more complex and dangerous place. Despite his view that war was a permanent feature of human society he was an a witty and affable dining companion, who will be missed by all those who knew him, not least by students and former students whose concerns Christopher took a deep and sympathetic interest.

  6. Ahmed Hashim says:

    I heard this week that Chris died two months ago. We met only three times but corresponded often. Really admired his writings especially Barbarous Philosophers. He will be missed in this field of war studies. Truly and profoundly.

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