Celebrating a hundred years of peace and international order would require a counterfactual history, one with a certain urgency. It is in that spirit that this interdisciplinary conference, Other 1919s: The Problem of Sovereignty in a Global Context, is taking place.
Sovereignty has been at the heart of major 20th and 21st century political, economic, cultural and environmental matters of concern. It is a problem that has been given a complex yet particular answer in the form of the nation-state and its domestic and foreign familial bodies, which insure its putative universality and reproduction. 1919 was a crucial moment in that process of a particular form of sovereignty becoming universal and reproducible.
However, in spite of its centennial anniversary, the events of 1919 should not be the only — or even central — focus of inquiry into the problem of sovereignty. Quite like 1648, it is a temporal chimera that ensues from partial histories — and often counterfactuals — that have underpinned theoretical and philosophical reflections on sovereignty the world over. In turn, modern ideological movements and institutional forms typically presuppose these key historical ruptures.
Therefore, this interdisciplinary conference will not dispute the significance of 1919. Quite the contrary. The main concern is that investigations of a phenomenon with such powerful and polyvalent effects have not been informed by a genuine global historical sensibility — despite claims to such a globality as in explorations of liberalism, constitutionalism, the Wilsonian moment and more — which requires a deeper, broader and fairer assessment of multiple local formulations of sovereignty at different times.
In other words, participants hope that by bracketing the teleology of modern sovereignty, one might gain a better view of other sovereignties and, in turn, a better appreciation of the global as a paradoxical site of many-in-one.
This event also includes the keynote address of Faisal Devji, professor of Indian History, fellow of St. Antony's College and director of the Asian Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.
Theresa Ventura, assistant professor in the Department of History at Concordia University
Laila Parsons, professor in the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University
Samera Esmeir, associate professor in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at University of California, Berkeley
John Willis, associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Colorado Boulder
Milad Odabaei, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University
Dyala Hamzah, associate professor in the Department of History at Université de Montréal
James Whidden, Acadia University
Faisal Devji, professor of Indian History at the University of Oxford
Daniel Salée, professor in the School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia University
Samantha Moyes, Concordia University
Thomas Kuehn, associate professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University
Hussein Fancy, associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Michigan
Arang Keshavarzian, associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at New York University
Lara Braitstein, associate professor in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University
James Leduc, University of Dublin Trinity College
Sarah Ghabrial, assistant professor in the Department of History at Concordia University
Andrew Ivaska, associate professor in the Department of History at Concordia University
Wilson Chacko Jacob, associate professor in the Department of History at Concordia University