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Call for Papers

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.

State formation, institutional consolidation, and interstate warfare in the name of ethnonational communities and identities invite a re-examination of the relationship between religious, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identities with state-sponsored political ideologies. Nationalism is often referenced as an explanation of state actions to consolidate and institutionalise the grip on territories and peoples; we invite paper contributions throwing the light on the role narratives of religious identities play in legitimising ethnonational cohesion, domestic exclusion, and extraterritorial state engagement in the contemporary world. We invite contributions engaging with references to religious symbolism, heritage and legacies as mechanisms for political mobilisation.

We plan to hold this hybrid workshop in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Given the location, we particularly welcome proposals that reflect upon the reference to religious (dis-)unity in the process of state partition, on the island of Ireland as well as South Asia, the Balkans and elsewhere. We would also welcome contributions dealing with the role of religion in the evolving conflict in the East of Europe in temporal and cross-regional comparison. Particularly welcome are proposals using a comparative approach to the role of group-relevant identities (religion, language, ethnicity) in management of diverse populations in different parts of the world.

We invite proposals for individual paper contributions and/or panels that engage empirically, conceptually and normatively in these areas. We aim to feature the best of contemporary research on the role of religion and ethnicity in conflict and conflict resolution, including new research by established academics as well as by early career scholars.

Proposals for papers should include contact details of the author(s), title and an abstract of no more than 200 words. We also welcome panel proposals of a minimum of three papers and a maximum of four.

The final deadline for the electronic submission of paper and panel proposals is 15 February 2023. Notices of acceptance will be sent out the week of 27 February 2023. Proposals should be submitted online at:

The organizers will endeavour to hold event in person, with opportunity to join online; for those travelling to Belfast, we will aim to support a select pool of graduate students/early career academics with a bursary to partially cover travel expenses. The decision on the pool of recipients will be made at the time of paper selection.

Co-Sponsors: RC43 Religion and Politics, RC 14 Politics and Ethnicity, IPSA
Co-Convenors: Giorgio Shani (RC43), Timofey Agarin (RC14)