Sunday, October 21, 2007

CONF./CFP- Int'l Conference on Georgia (1918-1921 and 1991-2007), May 2008

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

CONF./CFP- Int'l Conference on Georgia (1918-1921 and 1991-2007), May 2008

Posted by: Stephen Jones <>

Call for Papers

An International Conference on the Georgian Democratic Republic
(1918-21) and its Successors (1991-2007) will take place on 23-25 May,
2008. We invite proposals for presentations. Please keep the proposal to
no more than 300 words. The themes of the conference are:

1. The role of geopolitics, energy and regional powers in Georgian
foreign policy. This would include comparisons of Georgian strategic
significance in 1918-21 with the present, the role of oil, and the
changing goals of foreign powers in the region (think for example of
Georgia's transformed relationship with Turkey).

2. The role of Europe both in terms of intellectual links with
Georgia and influence over policy. Europe has always been a major
influence on Georgian politics. How could we compare Europe's role in
Georgia at the beginning of the 20th century (consider the mandates of
foreign powers in Georgia after 1918 including occupation by the
British) with European strategies today (the European Neighborhood
Policy, for example).

3. Cultural life and the impact of changes in social structure and
political values on government policies. How does the change from a
predominantly rural population to urban one affect domestic politics?
How have political norms and values changed the conduct of domestic
politics when comparing 1918-1921 to 1991-2007?

4. Foreign views of Georgia. Writers, journalists and politicians
have always seen Georgia as an exotic place. What role does it play in
the Western imagination? How did they view the First Republic and why?
What do they see today? Can these images of Georgia influence Georgian
relations with foreign states? How have the views of Georgia changed
since 1918?

5. The role of the Diaspora. The Georgian Diaspora, traditionally
small, but which has increased enormously in recent years due to the
harsh realities at home, amounts to close to a million and plays an
important role economically (remittances sent home), in lobbying abroad,
and in reconstruction of the state. After 1918, and again following
independence in 1991, many from the original Diaspora returned to their
homeland. Under Saakashvili, a number, like ballerina Nino Ananiashvili,
have taken up important roles in society. How do the Diasporas of 1918
and post-1991 compare? What has their contribution been to Georgian

6. A comparison of democracy goals and democratic institutions. This
question will help us unravel some of the more simplistic
interpretations of democracy. The nature of the word and the values it
embodies have changed since 1918. Democracy today, for example, strongly
identifies with the market and the special protection of minorities. Did
it mean the same to Georgians in the First Republic?. What did
democratic political institutions look like in 1918 and how do they look
now? How did they work then, how do they work now? This will include
comparisons of the media, parliament, the constitution, and judiciary.

7. How is the First Republic perceived today in historical and
political texts? History has a purpose. In the Soviet period, the First
Republic was the bête noir of Soviet power. How does the Georgian state
look at the First Republic today? What does an analysis of school
textbooks tell us? To what degree has the First Republic's obscurity
been the result of historical manipulation by the state?

Please send your proposals to Professor Stephen Jones at

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