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Date(s) - 24/04/2019 - 25/04/2019
All Day

ASEN Edinburgh


The 29th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) will take place 24-25 April 2019. This year’s theme will be Nationalism and Self-Determination. For the first time the Annual Conference will take place in Edinburgh, not at the LSE, and is organised in cooperation with ASEN Edinburgh. The Ernest Gellner Lecture will take place 23 April 2019. Co-Chair applications will be accepted until 12 October 2018. Please, submit your abstract by 15 November 2018.

Call for Papers

The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the establishment of the League of Nations in 1920 mark key moments in the attempt to build an ‘international community’ to settle disputes between nation-states fairly and without resort to violence. It thus stands beside the Treaty of Westphalia, or the Congress of Vienna as a landmark attempt to build a lasting peace after a protracted and highly destructive war.

Unlike these previous Eurocentric moments, Paris was a global affair dominated by the triumphant western powers. The decision to apply Woodrow Wilson’s principle of national self-determination to the territories of the defeated powers raised the question of its more general application. There were subjects of formal and informal colonial rule urging the extension of the principle (e.g., Ireland, China, Vietnam, India), as well as many states opposed (irredentist Italy, defeated Germany and Hungary, expansionist Japan, the new Soviet Union). Creating nation-states brought with it the problem of national minorities. Wilson had, in the words of his Secretary of State, opened a “Pandora’s box”.

This conference looks at the world of nation-states shaped, successfully or not, by the assumptions and the realpolitik of 1919 and its long aftermath. Its key themes focus on nationalism, nationalities, self-determination, national and ethnic minorities, and international relations over the last century and into the next. On the surface the principle of national self-determination has triumphed. In 1923 the League of Nations had 23 members, and much of the world was under formal imperial rule. Today there are 193 members of the United Nations – successor to the League – and formal empire has virtually disappeared. The events played out at Versailles sparked a wave of nationalism that is still resonating globally today.

The conference aims to explore the short and long term consequences of the events of 1919-20. In the short term there are issues such as creating nation-states, dealing with national minorities within those states, and managing the new international conflicts that were created. In the longer term there is the question of how and why the nation-state has come to be regarded as the key unit of the international community, and what this has meant for nationalism, national and ethnic identity, state sovereignty, and international relations.

The conference is intended to cover cases from all parts of the world and welcomes papers based on different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches, and from different disciplines and fields, such as political science, sociology, history, IR and law.

Themes include:

  • The theory and practice of national self-determination
  • The destruction of empires and the construction of new nation-states
  • The Paris Peace Conference and League views on gender, class and race
  • Nationalism and opposition to the League of Nations
  • The (alternative) Bolshevik vision of nationhood
  • The League of Nations and minorities questions
  • The impact of national self-determination on inter-war empires
  • The fall of empires and the formation of nation-states after 1945
  • Evaluating the concept of national self-determination today
  • National identity as a precondition of statehood
  • The nation-state as the key objective of nationalist movements
  • Nations without states: nationalism opposed to existing nation-states

Abstract submission

Please, submit your abstract by 15 November 2018. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and they must include a working title and the position and affiliation of the author. You should expect to speak for no more than 15 minutes. Please ensure that you highlight how your paper relates to the conference theme and its central questions. Co-authored papers must be submitted by only one of the authors and panel submissions must be indicated on the ‘Extra notes’ section.

Advert for Co-Chairs

Could you be a Conference Co-Chair?

The Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) is looking for two Conference Co-chairs for our annual conference on 24-25 April 2019 to be held at the University of Edinburgh.

The theme this year will be ‘Nationalism and Self-Determination’.

Are you a post-graduate student or junior academic? Are you interested in these themes? Would you like to chair a conference? Then get in touch.

The role includes selecting papers; arranging panels, workshops, poster sessions and plenaries; and chairing the conference event. ASEN has a paid Coordinator who organises the practical arrangements for the conference and can help the Co-chairs.

Check the call for papers for greater detail on the themes. You can see previous conference themes on our website.

Please send a CV and covering letter (including any ideas you may have for the conference) to asen@asen.ac.uk by 12 October 2018 if you are interested.


For any enquiries in relation to the conference, please contact the ASEN Coordinator at asen@asen.ac.uk. Follow us on Twitter for more information.