Department of Political Studies


Political Studies

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​Ethnic Conflict and Territorial Control

LECR Workshop

November 17-18, 2016
Queen’s University, Kingston


Disputes over territorial control are a conspicuous feature of many ethnic and national conflicts around the world (we use the term ethnicity in its broad meaning to refer to ascriptive identity groups whose social boundaries can be premised on a variety of markers including religion, language, cultural background, or a sense of common origin). Existing scholarship reveals that ethno-territorial disputes have tended to be the most protracted and intractable conflicts over the past half a century. While in some instances, the material value of disputed lands is at stake, research reveals that in many instances, territories under dispute between rival identity groups have consequential symbolic value such as putative homelands or regions with significant religious sites. In many instances, population movements designed to influence the demographic composition of contested territories have also been observed, further shaping the trajectories of such conflicts.

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together scholars with interest in the topic to delve into the link between ethnic conflict and territoriality. In particular, we are interested in learning more about why territory features so heavily in ethnic and national conflicts (the source of its significance), the dynamics and evolution of such disputes, the conduct of the rival groups, and possible resolutions. We anticipate examining multiple factors that might influence how such conflicts play out, including ideational, structural, and agent-centric.  We expect the discussion to have theoretical depths but also be empirically informed by cases from around the world. 

This workshop is organized by the Laboratory for Ethnic Conflict Research at the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity, Queen’s University in collaboration with the Centre for International Defence Policy and with financial support from SSHRC and Queen’s University.