Call for applications: Trans-ethnic Coalition-Building within and across States

Uppsala UniversityECMI and partners seek scholars for a conference on Trans-ethnic Coalition-Building within and across States, taking place in Uppsala on 7-10 January, 2015.

European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Lithuanian Institute of History, universities of Glasgow, Bradford and Turku, Academy of Public Administration, Kazakhstan, and main organizer Uppsala University, are inviting scholars to apply for participation in a conference on Trans-ethnic Coalition-Building within and across States.

The multidisciplinary conference takes place in Uppsala on 7-10 January 2015. It will deal with both political and sociological aspects of trans-ethnic coalition-building across a range of geographic and political settings and from both contemporary and historical perspectives.

The deadline for submission of paper abstracts is 15 August 2014

The conference, Trans-ethnic Coalition-Building within and across States, will address the still understudied theme of how spokespersons for different ethnicities or racial groups interact and cooperate both within and across states. This theme sits at the juncture of several topics that are of paramount importance for both theorists and policy-makers around the globe:

  • power-sharing,
  • intercultural dialogue,
  • diaspora networking and trans-nationalism,
  • minority empowerment, and
  • public-private partnerships on ethno-cultural affairs.

Across a range of contexts, international actors, state governments, local authorities and non-governmental organizations are all engaged in efforts to establish institutional frameworks that mitigate conflicts and encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation between different ethnicities living within the same state or sub-state region. Here one can highlight inter alia the role of:

  • umbrella organizations uniting different ethnicities,
  • bodies tasked with deciding upon allocation of public resources,
  • different types of advisory and consultative bodies serving as channels for dialogue between government authorities, and
  • spokespersons of different ethnic, national or racial minorities.

At the same time, one can point to numerous contemporary and historical instances of ethnic coalition-building at the international level between activists drawn from different ethnicities. Such practices of trans-border ethnic coalition-building hold obvious relevance for broader debates dealing with multi-level governance, minority rights and the continued primacy of the nation-state under conditions of economic globalization.

Specific topics to be addressed

The conference seeks to analyze the factors that drive mobilization and interaction across ethnic boundaries and the practices and outcomes that derive from such cooperation. Contributors are invited to examine trans-ethnic coalition-building at the level of individual states and localities, but also practices that cut across state boundaries. The organizers would welcome papers addressing inter alia the following issues:

  • How are coalition-building activities framed and rationalized by the relevant stakeholders?
  • What are the relevant legal and institutional frameworks (national and international) for coalition-building geared to advocacy and representation?
  • Who and under what circumstances initiates and establishes participatory bodies? Is this process primarily driven from the top-down (by state governments, local authorities or international organizations acting as external mediators), or from the ground-up (by ethnic activists themselves), or through a combination of both approaches? Which factors determine the success or failure of initiatives in this area?
  • How do trans-ethnic institutional frameworks function in practice? What are their legal status, role, competences, membership and financial base? What issues do they address?
  • Which normative and institutional arrangements stimulate or discourage involvement of the general public in these activities, and which forms of engagement are seen as most feasible and desirable?
  • What are the outputs and outcomes? How do stakeholders and external observers assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions in place? Can a system of indicators be elaborated which would allow for a better assessment of the existing institutions and the advancement of the respective normative base?

The organizers

The conference is organized and hosted by the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (UCRS) at Uppsala University, in conjunction with the European Centre for Minority Issues, the University of Glasgow Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies, the University of Bradford, the University of Turku, the Lithuanian Institute of History and Interconfessional Studies at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The organizing committee intends to publish selected papers in the form of edited volumes and/or journal special issues. The conference will also incorporate workshop sessions to discuss the establishment of new research networks dedicated to the key themes to be discussed.


We aim to attract innovative contributions that develop theoretical arguments while embedding these in the context of case studies. Applications from early career scholars are especially welcome. Applicants must submit a 300 word abstract, short biographic statement (max 100 words) and preliminary registration form to by 15 August.

Conference participants recruited through this call will be responsible for meeting the costs of their travel and accommodation. Up to 10 bursaries of 500 Euro each are available to support participation by early career researchers (doctoral students within six months of submission and the holders of PhDs awarded after 1 September 2011).

Applicants should indicate if they wish to be considered for the early career bursary when submitting their abstract and registration form. Allocation of bursaries will be determined in the first instance by the quality and relevance of abstracts, though in case of a large number of applications of similar quality, preference will be given to applicants from outside the European Union.

The organizers will confirm the overall selection of speakers for the conference and make offers of early career bursaries by the end of August 2014.

Practical information

Accommodation for conference speakers will be available at the Best Western Hotel Svava, Uppsala, at a special institutional rate of 950 SEK (single) and 1120 SEK (double) per night. Uppsala University will make bookings at the hotel on behalf of participants, using the information provided on the conference application form. Participants will then be responsible for paying their own hotel bill while in Uppsala.

The conference is scheduled to begin at 12.00 on 7 January, and end at 12.00 on 10 January. The conference organizers will provide all speakers with lunch on 8 and 9 January, an opening reception and a buffet dinner.

If you have any further questions regarding the remit of and arrangements for the conference , please email them to, putting CONFERENCE APPLICATION and [YOUR NAME] in the email header.

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