Beyond the Nation?: Critical Reflections on Nations and Nationalism in Uncertain Times
School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy
Queen’s University Belfast
12th-14th September 2007
(Pre-conference Workshop, 10th-12th September 2007)
‘No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country, “Thus far shalt thou go and no further,”’
Charles Stewart Parnell (Speech, January 21st, 1885, Cork, Ireland)
‘It is a well-known fact that we always recognize our homeland when we are about to lose it,’
Albert Camus (Selected Essays and Notebooks, ‘Summer in Algiers’).
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Few ideas have proved more alluring and yet controversial than nationhood and nationalism. Celebrated by some as the source of political value and a key organizational principle, decried by others as treacherous and intellectually moribund, the nation and its attendant ideologies have endured despite the momentous upheavals of the 20th century. But in an age of increasing globalization and political fragmentation, does the nation have the relevance it once had? Are we, in short, finally moving into a post-national era? A major interdisciplinary conference, ‘Beyond the Nation? Critical Reflections on Nations and Nationalism in Uncertain Times’ will explore the nation and nationalism as realities and ideals in the early 21st century. Its goal is to bring together leading international researchers and thinkers from the fields of nationalism studies, ethnic conflict studies, comparative politics, European studies, international relations/theory, political history, political theory/philosophy, social history/theory, and law to critically interrogate the role and viability of nationalism in our time.
The conference will take place in Queen’s University Belfast’s central campus and run over a three day period, from Wednesday 12th to Friday 14th September inclusive. It will be comprised of three strands, each strand taking the form of a workshop devoted to a particular sub-theme(s) or discipline(s). There will be a number of plenary and keynote speeches, as well as social events.
There will also be a pre-conference workshop running from Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th September. It is organized by the International Political Studies Association’s (IPSA) Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity (RC14) and is devoted to the theme of ‘The Challenge of Ethno-Nationalism.’ A number of social events will take place over the course of the pre-conference workshop.
Richard English, Queen’s University
London School of Economics
Michael Keating, European University Institute
John McGarry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
Michael Mann, University of California at Los Angeles/Queen’s University Belfast
Joseph Massad, Columbia University
David Miller, Nuffield College, Oxford
Margaret Moore, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
Brendan O’Leary, University of Pennsylvania
Oren Yiftachel, Ben Gurion University
The workshops are open to all with a research interest in any aspect of nationalism studies, including postgraduate students and researchers. Papers are invited for the following workshops and themes:
Pre-Conference Workshop: The Challenge of Ethno-Nationalism (10th-12th Sep 2007)
Theme(s): The theme of this workshop is the current reality of ethno-nationalism. The workshop pursues two questions, broadly conceived:
• Does ethno-nationalism threaten the organization of the world into nation-states or is it congruent with the notion of a world made up of nation-states, with each ethnic group claiming the rights of nationhood?
• Is it possible to accommodate ethno-nationalism without a further multiplication of the number of sovereign states?
Disciplines: Papers are welcomed from researchers in the areas of ethnic conflict studies, nationalism studies, international relations, and comparative politics.
Organization: this workshop is a colloquium of the International Political Science Association’s (IPSA) Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity (RC14). However, participation by other researchers and postgraduate students is encouraged. Those wishing to participate should contact the workshop convenor, Prof Adrian Guelke ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), for further information. Note that you should let Prof Guelke know whether you will be participating in the pre-conference workshop (10th-12th Sep) only or whether you would also like to participate in the main conference programme.
Conference Workshop 1: New Modalities of National Self-Determination and Sovereignty (12th- 14th Sep 2007)
Theme(s): The traditionally accepted assumption of the legal and political exercise of national self-determination is the existence of a sovereign nation-state that represents the nation as a cultural community. However, given that there are more nations than the possibilities of creating nation-states, that the abode of many nations overlaps with the abode of others, and, of course, the unprecedented mass movement of different peoples across continents, this conventional vision of national-territorial sovereignty is increasingly called into question. While the problem is not new, it is only recently that it has been explicitly discussed in a plethora of new works on identity, sovereignty, and self-determination, as exemplified in debates over indigenous and minority rights, multiculturalism, the ‘politics of recognition,’ and the growing number of stateless nations. The aim of this workshop is to empirically and conceptually evaluate new modalities for self-determination and sovereignty that transcend the bounds of the traditional nation-state. It will therefore include case studies and conceptual discussions. Areas for discussion include:
• National self-determination and indigenous rights
• Sovereignty, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and the politics of recognition
• National sovereignty and the securitarization of minorities
• National sovereignty, conflict, and violence
• New developments in the area of nationhood and sovereignty
• Sovereignty and stateless nations
• Security and prejudice: the securitization of Islam in Western democracies
• Case studies on the self-determination of stateless nations, ethnic minorities and religious groups.
Disciplines: Papers are welcomed from researchers in the areas of ethnic conflict, nationalism studies, comparative politics, international relations, law, multiculturalism studies, and political theory/philosophy.
Organization: Those wishing to participate are encouraged to contact the workshop convenor, Dr Ephraim Nimni ( email@example.com ), for further information.
Conference Workshop 2: Theorizing Nationalism and the Nation (12th- 14th Sep 2007)
Theme(s): Up until the late 20th century, political theory and philosophy simply presumed the existence and continued endurance of the nation-state. Despite their fundamental differences on what the good or just society ought to look like, most political thinkers took for granted that the institutional structures of such a society would be unproblematically national. However, recent historical experiences have fundamentally questioned such easy assumptions. In order to make sense of these experiences, this workshop addresses the key theoretical questions and challenges posed by a changing world to our understanding of nations and nationalism as realities and normative ideals. These include:
• Is liberal nationalism a defensible theoretical position?
• Are we in a post-national era? What does post-nationalism mean?
• Does globalization spell the end of ‘the nation’ or does it demand, instead, a reconfiguration of nationalism?
• Does cosmopolitanism represent a theoretically viable alternative to nationalism and national citizenship? What would a defensible cosmopolitan conception of political sovereignty and citizenship look like?
• What are the demands of global distributive justice, if any, and do these demands fatally undercut nation-state centred normative theories?
• What are the implications of multiculturalism and internal politico-cultural diversity for the nation-state?
• What impact does and should gender and sexual differentiation have on contemporary conceptions of ‘the nation’?
• What consequences do contemporary challenges to the nation-state have for our understanding of legitimate political violence and of war?
Disciplines: Papers are welcomed from researchers in the areas of political theory/philosophy, social theory, legal theory, nationalism studies, international political theory, and multiculturalism studies.
Organization: Those wishing to participate are encouraged to contact the workshop convenor, Dr Keith Breen ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), for further information.
Conference Workshop 3: European Governance Beyond the Nation-State (12th- 14th Sep 2007)
Themes(s): The post-World War II development of European integration has created a distinctively successful and dense network of institutions of governance beyond the nation-state. Highly institutionalized forms of ‘shared sovereignty’ have penetrated deeply into the fabric of the continent’s polities and societies, creating the potential for significant reconfigurations of both structures of power and senses of identity. The present workshop interrogates this distinctive, multi-level ‘European model of governance,’ seeking to understand how the processes of European integration broadly conceived have variously challenged, redefined, or ‘rescued’ state and nation. Contributions are invited which provide new theoretical or empirical insights into the developmental dynamics of European institutions of governance, the impact of such ‘Europeanizing’ trends at national and sub-national levels, and the relationship of European developments to wider international arenas. Topics for discussion include:
• The ‘constitutionalization’ of the European Union
• New modes of European governance
• Problems of democratic legitimacy/ accountability in systems of multi-level governance
• The ‘Europeanization’ of national polities, societies, and political economies
• Shifting senses of territoriality and the reconfiguration of European borders/political space
• ‘European citizenship’ and the redefinition of national identity
• Patterns of political/intellectual opposition to European integration (‘Euroscepticisms’)
• ‘Europe’ as a foreign policy actor and the reshaping of international order
• European Union enlargement as a process of ‘normative export’
• European integration and globalization
• Comparisons between European integration and other processes of regional integration
Disciplines: Papers are welcome from researchers within the fields of European Union studies, European integration history, federalism, constitutionalism, comparative politics, and international relations.
Organization: Those wishing to participate are encouraged to contact the workshop convenor, Dr Robert Harmsen ( email@example.com ), for further information.
Submitting a paper:
The conference is open to those who intend to present papers and those who simply want to attend the various workshops. If you would like to give a paper, please submit a title and abstract (150-300 words) to the appropriate workshop convenor (see above).
Deadline for submission of title/abstract: 1st March 2007
Paper acceptance notification: 2nd April 2007
Registration Deadline: 6th July 2007
Dr Keith Breen (QUB,
Prof Adrian Guelke (QUB, firstname.lastname@example.org )
Dr Robert Harmsen (QUB, email@example.com )
Dr Ephraim Nimni (QUB, firstname.lastname@example.org )
Ms Catherine Madden (QUB admin support, email@example.com )
Mr Alastair Ward (QUB admin support, firstname.lastname@example.org )