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IPSA Colloquium 2023: The Nation as a Sacred Communion

About the Conference

Hosted by the Centre of Ethnic Conflict, Queen's University Belfast

The Russian Federation waging the incursion into Ukraine in the name of protecting Russian co-ethnics happens in the year of the centenary of the establishment of the Irish Free State and the 75th anniversary of the Partition of South Asia into India and Pakistan. Standing in their individual historical contexts, they all mark dynamics used by emerging political communities to exploit their religious identities for political ends: Ireland’s and South Asia’s Partitions offer examples of the centrifugal forces behind religious mobilisation, the Muslim insurgencies in South Thailand and Mindanao serve as illustrations of centripetal religiously-inspired conflicts, and arguably centrifugal schisms in the Orthodox Churches of the Balkans as well as more recently between Ukraine and Russia are stoked by political elites, rather than by the believers. The late Anthony D. Smith once suggested that the ‘nation’ was a ‘sacred communion of the people, devoted to the cult of authenticity and the ideals of national autonomy, unity and identity in a historic homeland’ (A.D. Smith 2003: 254). This workshop seeks to examine the role played by the reference to community with shared religious heritage and beliefs in preparing the grounds for intergroup conflict.

This workshop will be held from May 31 - June 2.

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