AAG call for papers: Educating the cosmopolitan national

Please find below a call for papers for the session ‘Educating the cosmopolitan national: Negotiating memory and conflict in making democratic citizens’ at the American Association of Geographers’ Conference 2009.  If you are interested in presenting a paper, please contact Dan Hammett (D.Hammett@ed.ac.uk) or Lynn Staeheli (Lynn.staeheli@ed.ac.uk)


Educating the cosmopolitan national: Negotiating memory and conflict in making democratic citizens

The negotiation of belonging, the designation of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, and the manipulation of citizenship and nationhood refract conflict and political struggles within states around the world. These practices emphasize the need to develop citizens who uphold ideals of democracy and nationhood, particularly in states that are negotiating histories of inequality, oppression and conflict. Education programs and policies provide one avenue through which government can directly affect citizenship formation and the development of values, skills and dispositions associated with the ‘good’ citizen. However, the pedagogy of post-conflict nations is difficult, as governments try to present narratives of national histories and character without inflaming (sometimes quite recent) conflicts. One strategy has been to promote a version of citizenship that negotiates cosmopolitan ideals and national histories.

This session will examine the ways in which states seek to negotiate tensions between cosmopolitan citizenship and national histories in citizenship education programs. It asks:  How do governments and elites attempt to overcome histories of conflict in re-building nations? How are policies of nation-building and citizenship-making negotiated and transformed in their implementation? What happens when these policies seem to limit the possibilities for reconciliation by glossing over historical “truths”?  What happens when national policies are deemed inappropriate to the local context in which they are implemented?