8th Iberian Congress of African Studies – call for papers

For those of us working academically on Africa in this part of the world, this year has an unmissable date with the celegration of the 8th Iberian Conference of African Studies, «Under the Palaver Tree», in Madrid on June 14-16, 2012.
The call for papers is now open until January 31, 2012. Authors are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 400 words to any of the 49 panels – one of which is co-organised by yours truly. Abstracts for accepted papers will be available on the website on March 15. Full papers should be submitted before May 15.

The panel I am co-ordinating is this one:

Statebuilding, fragile states and resistance in Africa

COORDINATORS: Marta Iñiguez de Heredia Sunyé | Manuel Manrique Gil

The weakening of state institutions, whether by violent conflict, organized crime or transnational networks, is a grave threat to human security, and one of the most pressing and complex challenges for African states. For this reason, building and strengthening states has become a priority of the international community. But this poses new challenges to the quest for peace and development. Despite international actors´ increasing responsiveness to these countries context and history, and the development of specific policies and approaches, a deeper problem persists. As historical sociology has observed, statebuilding has often been a long, violent and painful process for societies, to which individuals have responded with myriad of strategies, from covert resistance to outright armed opposition. Similarly, the blurring of geographical, political, economical boundaries and the intertwining of local, national and international actors have led to ambivalent dynamics of power and resistance, which have been themselves transformative of the political community, peace and state institutions.

This panel wants to explore international involvement in statebuilding and fragile states, and the responses and resistance the may have generated. It will analyse existing challenges and how these affect the effectiveness of domestic policies and humanitarian, peacekeeping and development efforts supported by international actors. It will do so from a critical perspective where categories such as the state as the peace-grantor and resistance as a spoiler; the local as passive recipient and the global as active giver are put into question. This questioning should provide a better standpoint to observe different political projects and meanings of peace that actors on the ground promote, influencing and transforming each other. Contributions take into account historical, political, economic and normative dynamics.

More info, here

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