Thursday, July 17, 2014

Call for Papers: 2nd International Conference on “The Albanians in Montenegro”

Rochester, Michigan USA
In the Detroit Metropolitan Area

November 1, 2014


Organizing Committee:
Viktor N. Ivezaj, Wayne State University
Paul Kubicek, Oakland University
                       Shinasi A. Rama, New York University

The independence referendum of May 21, 2006 paved the way for Montenegro’s second attempt at state sovereignty that it had lost in 1918, and at the same time signaled a close to the final chapter of Yugoslavia’s long and bitter collapse.   Montenegro’s road to her recent independence was certainly challenging, where internal forces proved to be as resistant to change as those outside its territorial boundaries.  Even though sovereignty has been accomplished, the road ahead is appearing to be more complex as this tiny nation sprints towards Euro-Atlantic integration, and at the same time attempts to forge a new identity, establish effective institutions, institute political legitimacy, and maintain social cohesion, which in the past two decades has been a convoluted task.  It could be argued that, from a regional point of view, the international community needs a “success story”, in other words, Montenegro serves as an example for a region that has been plagued by ethnic conflict and decades-long bloody wars.  And for the most part, Montenegro has emerged from the wrath of nationalism and was determined to carve out its own identity by first seeking independence from Serbia followed by accession to a more contemporary European family of states that share the common bond of democratic values, norms, and ideals, a far stretch from the communist ideologies that preserved Yugoslavia for more than six decades.  In spite of this, policymakers and political elites in Podgorica have failed to recognize the disparities in Montenegro’s socio-political and economic institutions.  Most troubling are its policies towards the Albanian population, where the Albanian minority has expressed grievances in all realms of social, economic and political life.
 The politics of exclusion continue to frustrate the Albanian communities in Montenegro as their sociopolitical situation has not changed much since the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.  In fact, many of the problems that faced Albanians in Kosova in lieu of the conflicts of 1990s are emerging in post-independence Montenegro.  Albanian communities continue to be victim of land confiscation, forced assimilation and emigration, limited access to education and employment, economic underdevelopment, absence of decentralized government and various other systemic programmes designed to stymie the Albanian language, culture and heritage.  As Montenegro weaves around the EU candidacy requirements, many of the commitments aimed at protecting minorities have come up short and not translated into law and policy.  As a result, Albanians fear that their place in a “union” with Europe will not improve their future status, and a programme of “smoking mirrors” – to conceal the reality of botched liberties and equal rights – will continue until the Albanian population is a non-factor.
This conference series was conceived to assess these problems and work towards developing possible solutions where a multi-ethnic state can work parallel to a common goal.  Following the first successful conference on The Albanians in Montenegro: History, Identity and the Minority Politics in a New State in 2012 on the campus of NYU, the Organizing Committee (OC) is pleased to announce A CALL for PAPERS and PROPOSALS for the Second Conference scheduled for November 1, 2014 at the historic Meadow Brook Mansion on the campus of Oakland University.  The conference is being co-sponsored by OU’s Department of Political Science and International Studies.

The OC seeks proposals, including thematic and topical panels, papers and roundtable discussions for the 2014 conference in Michigan.  The conference planners seek research and activities that reflect on the themes of ethnicity, nationalism, political participation and behavior, policy, advocacy, education, international law, culture, and research as they relate to the status of Albanians in Montenegrin society; particularly as they pertain to the aforementioned issues. Key questions of interest center on how Albanians in Montenegro have transformed the electoral strategies and policy decisions of political candidates both in regional and national politics; education and economic disparities and stagnation; Albanian, Montenegrin, and other Balkan politics related to minority rights, policy innovation, and conflict; ethnic politics and policy effects on ethnic communities; laws, law enforcement, and the courts; ethnic identities and psychology; the political communication of ethnicity in an age of Euro-Atlantic integration; public opinions on issues related to ethnicity and ethnic relations; the role of integration and assimilation in political discourse and behavior; and epistemological and theoretical foundations of Albanian political thought and behavior in Montenegro.
The ambition of this conference is to welcome theoretical and empirical contributions to generate the greatest possible number of concrete, innovative answers to the questions of the Albanians in Montenegro, their political, associative and socio-economic representation and whether the state is working to improve the quality of governance, and subsequently, the quality of their lives.

We encourage participants to follow the principal themes covered below:

1.    “Better governance” or “good enough governance”
2.    Ethnicity and Nationalism
3.    The Prospects of “Greater” or “Natural” Albania
4.    Politics of Identity
5.    Albanian culture and encounters with the State
6.    The politics of numbers: the 2012 census in Montenegro
7.    Religious (In)Tolerance
8.    Territoriality and Language Rights
9.    Anti-Government Protests in Montenegro
10. Personal identities and state policies
11. Montenegro’s Constitution
12. Montenegro nationality policy
13. Politics of Self-Determination
14. Nationalism, Institutions and Participation
15. Culture and National Identity
16. Democratization and EU Integration of Montenegro
17. Problems With Assimilation and Coexistence in Montenegro
18. Imagined Democracy? Elections and Nation-Building
19. Language, Culture, Education and Identity
20. The Patterns of Post-Yugoslavia (Intellectual) Migration
21. Political integration
22. Diaspora Politics
23. Prospects for change in Montenegro
24. Unity and Diversity among the Albanian communities in Montenegro

The objective is to publish a book that includes the research papers presented at this conference.  Rules and deadlines for final paper submissions to the editorial board will be discussed at a special meeting scheduled for Sunday November 2nd.
Paper-givers will have approx. 12 minutes for their presentation, as will the discussant(s). Chairpersons should leave approx. 30 minutes for discussion from the floor.

Abstract Submissions

Abstracts will only be accepted online via email to:      

Other queries concerning the programme should be addressed to:  

Important Dates
July 31st                     Deadline for abstract submissions
August 31st                Final Program released
September 30th        deadline for paper submissions
November 1st            Conference (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
November 2nd           Round-Table Discussion

The OU Department of Political Science will provide a list of local accommodations once the Final Program has been released.