I have just received notice that my second year paper project, “Disputed Territoriality and Ethnohistorical Claims: Understanding Intractable Territorial Conflict in Israel, Serbia, and Armenia,” has been accepted into the program for next year’s International Studies Association conference.
The conference will be held next year in New York City from February 15th to 18th. My panel, “War Termination and Exit Strategies,” is sponsored by the International Security Studies Section and will take place on Sunday, February 15 at 10 am.
As it turns out, I am presenting on the very first day of the conference. This year they decided, rather than holding it over a weekend, to start on Sunday and end on Wednesday. 🙂 The abstract can be found after the jump.
Disputed Territoriality and Ethnohistorical Claims: Understanding Intractable Territorial Conflict in Israel, Serbia, and Armenia
In an era of increasingly credible international commitments to the inviolability of existing borders and markedly decreasing material and strategic returns to territorial conquest, the objective costs of engaging in territorial revisionism are, in many respects, at an all-time high. While the initial wartime acquisition of territory can be explained by any number of factors, the real puzzle is why some states remain resistant to withdrawal. Often facing threats of international isolation or even military intervention and active resistance to rule by preexisting populations, instrumentally rationalist explanations cannot readily account for instances of “foreign” occupation in the contemporary international environment. Examining the cases of Israel, Serbia, and Armenia, this paper asserts that where a territory is seen as being imbued with culturally-informed historical meanings, conflict is significantly more likely to be intractable. Claims of this nature assign meaning to territory neither dependent on nor perfectly substituted by “more conventional” concerns of security, economic growth, strategic political positioning, or regime survival. The value-laden nature of these spaces further contributes to the sense that they are integral to the identity of the state and nation making the prospect of withdrawal increasingly unlikely.