International Conference “Rebuilding War Societies: Continuities and New Beginnings” at University of Sulaimani, October 17-21, 2016

Post date: Aug 28, 2016 8:49:02 PM

The University of Sulaimani, the Center for Iraq Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and the Felsberg Institute for Education and Research will hold a joint conference covering a wide range of issues of rebuilding war societies. The conference will take place at the University of Sulaimani from 17 to 21 October, 2016.

Contributions are welcome to the topics of the seven Panels as listed below.

The organizing committee is therefore calling for papers which address the topics of the seven Panels as listed below. Researchers from academia, think tanks and practitioners are invited to submit the title and a short abstract of their research paper (in English) no later than September 20th, 2016, to: [email protected] Presentations shall not exceed 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for discussion. Participation of early career scholars and postgraduate researchers is positively encouraged.

Panel 1 - A look into history: From guerilla and warlordism to government: transforming the state, the society, and the military.

Panel 2 - The role of universities and other higher education institutions in rebuilding post-war societies.

Panel 3 - The legal framework: rule of law versus the consolidation of vested interests.

Panel 4 - State and society: the reestablishment of inclusive and accountable institutions.

Panel 5 - Powerful elites and the military: the economic distribution of the “war booty”

Panel 6 - Environmental depletion in war societies and the consequences of unsustainable over-extraction of resources.

Panel 7 - The destruction of sustainable livelihoods in war-torn regions: root causes for migration?

The topic of the conference are situations of violent conflict resolution which has become part of the every-day life reality of an increasing number of societies in the 21st century, and ways of coping with them which produce specific survival strategies, as well as a variety of conflict handling mechanisms. One characteristic of the 21st century is that the boundaries between war situations and non-peace constellations have become more and more fluent. Whereas the prominent task of the 1990s’ post-cold war era was defined as “Reconstruction of Post-War Societies”, the focus seems to have shifted after 2000 towards the “Reconfiguration of War Societies”: In many cases, the rebuilding of societies has to take place in the course of an ongoing violent conflict where violent conflict resolution does not result in a change of system, but rather in a redistribution of power and access to resources.

The aim of the Conference is to look critically at the core concepts, aims and strategies for rebuilding, reconstruction and reconfiguration of war societies. As a working basis, rebuilding is defined as an all-encompassing transformation process of structural and societal change. Reconstruction is understood as the rehabilitation of previously destroyed, damaged or non-functioning structural components as well as the rehabilitation of societal cohesion. And reconfiguration is understood as the remodeling of structures and the redefinition of societal links within an existing system.

The main set of questions to be addressed, are: Can we detect historical continuities leading from the reconstruction of post-war societies towards the reconfiguration of war societies in ongoing conflicts? Which developments in conflict coping strategies and mechanisms of societies can be identified? How do the complex interactions between relief, rebuilding and development activities on the one side and between local and international actors on the other contribute to the escalation or de-escalation of a conflict? How can pacification mechanisms such as demobilization of combatants, the reintegration of refugees and internally displaced people and the reform of governance structures be realized in an ongoing conflict? What role do the extraction of resources and the destruction of the natural environment play, which long-term effects do we have to expect? What role do the universities and other higher education institutions play in rebuilding war societies in post-conflict and ongoing conflict situations, and in which ways they are themselves being transformed by wider social processes. Do existing instruments such as the setting up of democratic institutions, and the injection of finance to rebuild the infrastructure are sufficient and appropriate to rehabilitate societies? Do we need to redefine intra-societal and intra-regional relations, and do we need to replace the dominance of global solutions by more manageable bilateral North-South and/or South-South partnerships?

Not much research has been done concerning these economic, legal and societal dimensions of war societies. Particularly with the conditions on the ground in Iraq and other important countries in the region changing constantly, the conference comes timely to discuss case studies, to analyze the current situation and to develop approaches for a possible way forward. As the conference takes place in the Kurdistan Region of North Iraq, one of its main objectives is to bring together scholars from all parts of Iraq and contribute to a better understanding in order to encourage joint efforts for rehabilitation and reconciliation.

Deadline for Abstract submission is 20/09/2016. Submit your abstract to [email protected]