[URBANTH-L]CFP: Islands and Enclaves: Exploring the ambiguities and boundaries of non-contiguous nation-states

Mieka Brand MBrand at wooster.edu
Wed Mar 21 14:39:19 EDT 2007

[ I believe the previous message did not go through properly.  Apologies for multiple postings.  Please forward as relevant.  MB]

2007 American Anthropological Association Annual Conference
Washington, DC
(28 November - 2 December 2007)
Proposed session title and abstract:
Islands and enclaves: Exploring the ambiguities and boundaries of 
non-contiguous nation-states
If nation-states are almost always defined by some notion of boundedness, 
what happens when certain parts of the nation-state are not territorially 
contiguous with what is considered the political center of that 
nation-state? In this panel, we will be looking at islands and enclaves that 
are not nation-states themselves, but in one way or another fall under the 
jurisdiction of a geographically distant political body, hence forming part 
of a larger nation-state. The physical distance that separates these islands 
and territories from their "mainland" can lead to ambiguity, not only in how 
these spaces are understood and configured by the state, but also in how the 
populations concerned may imagine themselves and that relation. Despite this 
ambiguity (or perhaps because of it), that distance tends to be made 
materially and symbolically significant, whether geographical contiguity is 
or is not explicitly considered a defining feature of that political entity. 
Mapped onto that geographic distance and separation are social, cultural, 
linguistic, legislative and other differences, be that on the part of social 
actors, governments, or both. Often these differences assume the form of 
inequalities: unequal access to social rights, racial and ethnic 
hierarchies, cultural marginalization, etc. These differences may likewise 
become the tools through which rights, identities and social relations are 
renegotiated. In some cases these differences may take center stage in 
political debates and public discourse, but in others may be expressed in 
very subtle and ill-defined ways that nevertheless complicate the 
relationship between these two spaces and impact the lives of those residing 
The populations that we study are confronted by national boundaries, but in 
very different ways than those generally described by transnational studies. 
In some cases, people must cross national boundaries, including foreign 
spaces, to stay within the nation. Very often, these populations have just 
as much or even more contact with peoples belonging to other nation-states 
geographically closer. In other cases, these territories have frequently 
changed hands and fallen under the authority of other nation-states or 
political bodies, creating politically and culturally different histories 
and presents from the larger nation-state. In this panel, we are concerned 
not just with the physicality of the boundaries but also with how those 
boundaries are culturally and historically imagined. Among the central 
questions of this panel: Do states differentially shape national identities 
on the "mainland" versus these outlying territories, and if so, what 
factors, reasons, ideologies stand behind imagining these spaces 
differently? What role do educational and other institutions play in 
creating a particular national identity, or in manufacturing a sense of 
belonging or non-belonging? In what instances is the issue one of 
"inclusion"-because of assumed differences-rather than that of 
"differentiation"? How do social, cultural, historical, material and 
symbolic ties get established to assert a relation with the larger nation, 
and how do similar points of divergence get created to assert difference? 
How have these relationships changed over time?
The forms that non-contiguous nation-states can take and the relations that 
exist between the different parts are highly varied. This panel seeks to 
present the diversity of these situations. Scholars may be working on one or 
more of the spaces that make up the nation-state, and in some cases may find 
themselves caught up just as much in the interstices of those spaces. Topics 
may include, but are not limited to: inclusion/exclusion, citizenship, 
national/cultural/ethnic identity, jurisdiction, land rights.
Please feel free to forward this message to others who might be interested.
If you would like to participate, please send an abstract (maximum 250 
words) to Nona Moskowitz ( ndm2g at virginia.edu) or Anna Lim 
(pal4t at virginia.edu).
The submission deadline is Sunday, 25 March 2007 (noon)
We will confirm acceptance into the panel by Tuesday, 27 March 2007.
The conference theme this year is "Difference, (In)equality and Justice." 
Individual papers should be 15 minutes in length. A/V equipment will be 
available upon request. For more information about the conference, please 
check the AAA website at: www.aaanet.org 

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