The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech will sponsor an interdisciplinary conference, Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives, at the Arlington (Virginia) Hilton, October 13—15, 2016.
Postwar reconciliation is invariably challenging, whatever the nature of the conflict. But it is exceptionally difficult in the aftermath of civil wars. Conflict over common territory, a common political system, competing ideologies, or shared resources generates formidable ongoing problems regardless of whether civil war results in separation or reunification. How have former enemies approached reconciliation following civil wars around the world and throughout history? How have they addressed the issues of reparation and punishment? How have adversaries resolved contests over economic resources or political power? Where and with what consequences have they continued to use violence even after the formal cessation of hostilities? What role have racial, ethnic, and religious differences played? What are the cultural ramifications of civil war? What are the benefits of comparing different models of reconciliation across space and time? How should we evaluate successes and failures?
We invite proposals for “Reconciliation after Civil Wars,” which will be held at the Arlington (Virginia) Hilton, October 13—15, 2016. The nearby Arlington National Cemetery serves as a physical reminder of one model of postwar reconciliation: located on the former estate of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, the cemetery contains the graves of soldiers from both sides of the American Civil War. Yet for many observers regional and racial reconciliation after the American Civil War has been incomplete, at best. This conference will address such issues. But the scope of the conference goes well beyond the United States. It will bring together experts from different disciplines to explore reconciliation efforts in the wake of numerous civil wars around the world, from the United States to Northern Ireland to Rwanda to Nicaragua to Cambodia to Syria. We interpret the term “civil war” broadly, and we welcome proposals concerning civil wars in any time period and any region of the world.
The conference features two keynote speakers:
• David Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University. Blight is a leading historian of the American Civil War. His publications include Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, recipient of eight book awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize.
• Joseph Sebarenzi, former speaker of the Rwanda parliament and a survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Sebarenzi teaches at the School for International Training in Vermont, lectures widely on the subjects of reconciliation and conflict management, and is author of God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation.
Following the conference, we will invite approximately twelve presenters to an author’s workshop in 2017, with the intention of publishing a collection of essays.
Please submit proposals to civil-war-reconciliation-g [at] vt [dot] edu by March 31, 2016.
We invite proposals for individual research presentations, complete panels containing 3 research presentations and a chair, roundtable discussions, posters, workshops, or documentary film screenings.
Proposals should be a maximum of 500 words (1500 words for 3-paper panels) and should be accompanied by a two-page C.V. for each participant.
Questions should be directed to James Hawdon, director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention (hawdonj [at] vt [dot] edu) or Paul Quigley, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies (pquigley [at] vt [dot] edu) or visit the conference website.