I am happy to report that my paper-in-progress, “Kosovo is Serbia”: Nation and Homeland in Contentious Territorial Politics, has been accepted for next year’s International Studies Association annual conference.
The conference will be held in New Orleans from February 17 through February 20, 2010 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel. My panel, “Building Nations,” will take place on Saturday, February 20, at 8:30 am. Much to my surprise, I have also been assigned to chair the panel! This will be a first for me so if anyone has any pointers on how to do this job well, please pass them along!
For your reading pleasure, I have attached the paper abstract after the jump. Enjoy and, as always, feedback is greatly appreciated:
“Kosovo is Serbia”: Nation and Homeland in Contentious Territorial Politics
In the two decades following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia has slowly reconciled itself to the new Balkan political map in every substantive instance save one: Kosovo. Serbia’s intransigence has weathered regime change from dictatorship to democracy and political incumbency from ultranationalists to liberal continentalists. This outcome stands in stark contrast to Serbia’s eventual renunciation of claims to Bosnia in 1995 and its calm acquiescence to Montenegro’s secession in 2006. Both territories boast significantly larger Serbian populations than Kosovo, both are economically more productive, and Montenegro with its Adriatic coastline is more strategically valuable. This behavior is not explained by conventional approaches to international territorial conflict. Rather this paper examines the integral role of Kosovo in the Serbian national imagination. As Serbia’s medieval capital, claims center not on its material assets or ethnic demographics but on the meanings that popular national narratives draw from the territory itself. Homeland claims of this nature assign worth to territory neither dependent on nor perfectly substituted by strategic, economic, or political prerogatives. The value-laden nature of these spaces contributes to the sense that they are integral to the identity of the state and nation making compromise highly unlikely.