Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Sun Oct 22 16:20:28 EDT 2006


An international and Interdisciplinary Academic Workshop Colgate University. 
14-15 April, 2006

"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. 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 
November 2006.
David.Campbell at durham.ac.uk
nries at mail.colgate.edu
dmonk at mail.colgate.edu

Select papers from the event will be published in an edited volume or, 
possibly, a journal special issue.

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.

Nancy Ries, Colgate University. USA
Daniel B. Monk, Colgate University. USA
David Campbell, Durham University. UK
Email: dmonk at mail.colgate.edu;
Visit the website at http://www.colgate.edu 

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