Discussion Forum for Current and Former Students of Forced Migration and Refugee Studies
|Posted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:29 pm Post subject: Forgotten Conflicts - Permanent Catastrophes
|Forgotten Conflicts - Permanent Catastrophes.
An international and interdisciplinary academic workshop, 14-15 April 2007
Sponsored by P-CON, The Peace and Conflict Studies Program, Colgate
University, U.S.A, and the Politics-State-Space Research Group, University
of Durham, England.
Location: Colgate University, Hamilton, NY.
"A 30-year-old impoverished refugee population, tens of thousands of
settlers, a 1,000-mile wall, a stalled peace process."
So begins a recent survey of politics as usual, not in Israel or Palestine,
but in what has been described as the "world's most forgotten conflict" in
the Western Sahara (Nick Dearden Morning Star, September 13, 2005).
Indeed, so "forgotten" is this most forgotten of crises that media sources
only ever remember it as such. Variously calling it a 'Forgotten
Palestine,' 'a forgotten desert fight,' or 'forgotten land grab' affecting a
'forgotten people,' news accounts of the longstanding catastrophe affecting
the Sahrawi nation in the Western Sahara give priority to our forgetfulness
over much else.
The curious fate of the Western Sahara in mass media demands critical
reflection on the political status of "forgotten conflicts": from those that
we remember to forget to those that we forget to remember. 'Critical,' in
the sense that any analysis worthy of the name would have to address the
political relation between the phenomenon of 'forgotten conflicts' and their
interpretation as such. In other words, the forgotten conflicts we wish to
examine are not solely the particular instances that live on at the extreme
margins of an 'attention economy,' but rather, the ones that are advanced in
the belief that concepts like an 'attention economy,' or 'disaster
fatigue,' are sufficient to explain forgotten conflicts to begin with. The
working premise of this workshop, then, is that as a contemporary political
phenomenon the 'forgotten conflict' is not reducible to a catalogue of its
occurrences. Consequently, the 'Forgotten Conflicts' project aspires to
treat conflicts and their forgetting as reciprocally related historical
Advanced as a joint initiative of Colgate University's Peace and Conflict
Studies Program [P-CON] and the University of Durham's
'Politics-State-Space' Research Group, the "Forgotten Conflicts" meeting
will bring together approximately 15 scholars from around the globe in order
to address the epistemological, historical, ethical, and political
implications of this phenomenon. Our aim is to develop and publish an
important dialogue between scholars representing an array of disciplines,
focusing in particular on the way that the very existence of 'forgotten
conflicts' shapes contemporary understandings of the politics of violence.
We therefore invite applications from key researchers in geography,
international politics, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, politics,
history, and law, who are developing research into the role of a tradition
of forgetting (as opposed to collective memory) in the understanding of the
modern history of conflict.
Organization of the Workshop
The 2-day workshop will privilege thorough and substantive interaction, with
the aim of facilitating engaged and critical responses to the topic. To
this end, papers will be submitted in advance of the workshop and posted on
a firewalled web site for participants to read before the event; at the
workshop itself short presentations by each speaker will be followed by
extended in-depth discussion of the issues addressed. To keep the event
focused and intimate, the workshop will be limited to 15 participants, all
of whom will submit papers.
Practical details regarding the venue, program, costs, timetable,
accommodation and transport will be sent to all accepted participants. The
charge for the event will be nominal. Because the budget for the event is
limited, participants will be expected to cover their own transport and
accommodation arrangements using information provided by the organizers. We
anticipate that we will be able to provide a number of subventions for the
travel and accommodation of graduate students.
Submission of Abstracts
Please email abstracts of 250 words to all three of the organizers by 10
Select papers from the event will be published in an edited volume or,
possibly, a journal special issue.
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