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CREES Noon Lecture. European Regions: Ethnopolitical Movement in Upper Silesia

Magdalena Dembinska, associate professor of political science, Université de Montréal
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
12:00-1:30 PM
555 Weiser Hall Map
Despite the announced “end of history” and irrelevance of the “national question” in the age of transnationalism, and in particular of Europeanization, ethnopolitical movements remain strong and sound. From secessionist Catalonia or Scotland to ethno-national affirmations in Bretagne, Gagauzia, or Transcarpathia, regional identities are being activated. To account for the multiplication rather than reduction of ethnic claims in the European space, this presentation takes stock from one such awakening in post-communist Poland, in the region of Upper Silesia. On the one hand, it will be shown why and how Silesian ethnopolitical entrepreneurs engage in activating Silesian identity attributes (language, history). On the other hand, the presentation will address the ways Silesians respond to the proposed group definition and claims. Both elite and societal processes are intertwined with transnational European policies and identity pressures. While ethnopolitical movements take advantage of the opportunities at the European level to consolidate their political-national claims, the same European level limits the scope of Silesian self-identifications to an “occasional identity,” along with the Polish and the European identity dimensions. Thus, the proliferation of ethnopolitical mobilizations is related to transnational processes, but these same processes blur identities as a result of accelerated interactions with the external world.

Magdalena Dembinska is associate professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Montreal. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University (2007-09), received her PhD in political science from the University of Montreal, and her Masters in international relations from Warsaw University. Her teaching and research in comparative politics focus on identity politics and conflict, state- and nation-building, nationalism, and diversity in Eurasia and Central Europe. In 2012, she released "Vivre ensemble dans la diversité culturelle: Europe centrale et orientale après 1989" ("Living Together in Cultural Diversity: Central and Eastern Europe after 1989") (Rennes University Press). Her work has appeared in "International Studies Review," "Nations and Nationalism," "Federal and Regional Studies," "Ethnopolitics," "Nationalities Papers," "National Identities," "European and Regional Studies," "Canadian Journal of Political Science," "Études internationales," "Journal of Public Deliberation," "Comparative Political Studies," "East European Politics and Societies," and in edited volumes.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: European, International, Poland, Politics
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, International Institute, Copernicus Center for Polish Studies, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia