CFP: Minorities, Nations and Cultural Diversity: The Challenge of Non-Territorial Autonomy

Submission deadline: September 21, 2012

Conference date(s):
November 9, 2012 - November 10, 2012

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Queen's University, Belfast
Belfast, United Kingdom

Topic areas


The European Centre for Minority Issues (Flensburg, Germany), jointly with The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast, and the Department of Central & Eastern European Studies, University of Glasgow call upon interested scholars to participate in a multidisciplinary conference on the challenges of Non Territorial Autonomy (NTA) in a world of nation-states.

Cultural diversity is the norm in a world of nation-states. A recurrent problem is how to organise what are in fact, multi-ethnic and multi-nation states so that majorities and minorities are able to coexist and effectively participate in the life of the state, bolstering allegiance without suffering cultural alienation and without resorting to territorial secession. Multicultural liberal democracies sincerely champion equality and individual human rights, but often have considerable difficulties in accommodating culturally diverse minority communities. Territorial representation is only possible when minority communities inhabit a compact territorial space, yet in the majority of cases, minority communities do not reside compactly, making any territorial representation impossible. This situation often causes intractable problems for the functioning of democratic polities, and requiring modalities of non-territorial autonomy (NTA) as a solution.

The aim of this conference is to examine in theory, empirically and through the work of legal practitioners, the challenges, and possible solutions offered by different models of NTA for the effective participation of minorities in public life. Non-Territorial autonomy takes variety of different forms, such as Consociationalism and National Cultural Autonomy, but also forms of representation that de-territorialises self-determination, as in the case of indigenous communities, the juridical autonomy as with religious communities, or in the practice of some models of multiculturalism. We invite theoretical and comparative papers and case studies on NTA models that build upon theoretical consideration and/or consider empirical case studies.

The organising committee would like to welcome papers addressing the following issues:

  • Can NTA serve the goals of European integration? Can such models be incorporated into the EU minority protection framework?
  • Does NTA help resolve protracted territorial conflicts? Examples include, but are not limited to Bosnia, Kurdistan or Israel / Palestine?
  • What are the limits and/or possibilities of implementing NTA models in liberal democracies?
  • Can NTA models rejuvenate multiculturalism?
  • Can models of NTA enhance the integration of Diasporas?
  • What are the opportunities for Indigenous self-determination within the NTA framework?
  • Can models of NTA help the effective participation of minorities in post-colonial states? And, can NTA models help eliminate the cultural residues of colonialism?

This list is not exhaustive.

Mode of application

Applicants should submit a 300 word abstract and a short biographic statement (max 300 words) indicating institutional affiliation and if they wish to be considered for the early career subsidy at the website:

The deadline for the submission of paper proposals is Friday 21 September 2012.

The selection committee will confirm the selection of speakers and make an offer and early career grant to selected candidates by 10 October 2012.

Conference organisation

We aim to attract innovative contributions that develop theoretical
arguments while embedding these in the context of case studies, thus
we particularly welcome early career scholars to apply.

  • Please note that the organisers would like to limit the number of presenters to around 40, presenting in a total of 14 panels in simultaneous 2 hour slots of two or three panels over the two days of the conference.
  • Plenary speakers will be nominated by early September and their names will appear in the conference web page.
  • An optional conference dinner will take place on Friday 9 November 2012.
  • The proceedings of the conference will be published in an edited volume.

Please note that the conference will not organise accommodation.

Early career travel grants

We will be able to offer £400 travel/accommodation grant to between 8 and 10 paper givers to support early career scholars, i.e. doctoral students within six months of submission and the holders of PhDs, awarded after September 1 2009. The preference to access grants will be given to affiliates of institutions outside the EU, although relevance and innovation of the paper will principally inform the decision of the selection panel.

If you would like to apply for a travel/accommodation grant, please state this clearly when submitting your paper proposal.

Questions regarding research on non-territorial autonomy and the remit of the conference should be addressed to [email protected] indicating in the heading of your email conference remit.

If you have any further questions, please email the same address putting conference application and your name in the header. Emails not addressed in this way will be significantly delayed.

Conference website:

Supporting material

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