United Kingdom. State or Empire?
14 July 2023
Gareth Stedman Jones and Ira Katznelson convened a one-day workshop at Magdalene College, Cambridge on the theme of United Kingdom. State or Empire? This meeting turned its focus to the rich and complex history of the United Kingdom and its relationships connecting England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
We examined the formation of borders following the Norman Conquest, and subsequent changes to borders, including those between England and France and the legacies of the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England. Ranging across historical moments, including the present, the meeting looked at conflicts surrounding political and ethnic identity, focusing both on moments that precede and follow the formation of modern ideologies of nation.
Empires and States
24 February 2023
Columbia World Projects hosted a one-day workshop on the theme of Empires and States
Empires and states have composed the two dominant forms of governing structures during the past half-millennium. This meeting of the Barriers and Borders project, held on 24 February at Columbia World Projects in New York, explored their similarities and differences across time, including the present, at three levels: sovereignty, institutions, and normative stories.
Each state and empire, in its own way, claims the sovereign capacity to rule over territory and persons. Each possesses a distinct ensemble of institutions with which to exercise such claims. Each seeks to gain legitimacy by elaborating ideas and narratives that justify their qualities of rule as lawful, rightful, and appealing. Participants were invited to reflect on these matters by focusing on particular times and places; that is, on specific subjects that illuminate distinctive aspects of the comparison of states and empires.
We had a particular interest in consequences for human plurality, for geopolitics, and for types of regime. Most, if not all, scholars invited to present their work reflected on the nature of political power and territoriality in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The next workshop will take place at the University of Cambridge in the summer of 2023.
23 July 2022
Ira Katznelson and Gareth Stedman Jones chaired an online workshop on the theme of Crossing Borders as part of the project Barriers and Borders.
Territorial boundaries can be external, separating states and empires from each other, or internal, as in federal sovereign units, or both. Human boundaries, which sometimes, but not always, coincide with territorial ones, govern patterns of entry and exit, membership and citizenship, and the social and economic as well as political and symbolic hierarchies of power and difference. This workshop was devoted to interrogations of how borders, even when conceptualized and organized as barriers, in fact are traversed.
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24-25 March 2022
Ira Katznelson and Gareth Stedman Jones convened a two-day online workshop on the theme of Constructing Borders as part of the project Barriers and Borders. Hosted by Columbia World Projects, the workshop focused on the establishment and construction of borders and covered themes such as the invention of the passport, the proliferation of the principle of territoriality in the modern era, the means by which states create and then maintain border regimes, but also more broadly on political, social and cultural bordering practices, which define communities of belonging, inclusion and exclusion.
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