Call for paper

The    Network of Oromo Studies 2nd International Conference in London, University of East London, September 1-2, 2018.

The Network of Oromo Studies (NOS) invites contributions of research papers from established academics, practitioners and students of Oromo Studies to its 2nd International Conference.

ThemeColonial Boundaries, Oromo Nationalism and World Order


The partition of Africa among the European powers following the Berlin Conference of 1884–85 established the current borders and boundaries of the continent. The demarcations were arbitrary and imposed by the European colonialists annexing different peoples into countries that do not represent their heritage, cultures, territories, socio-political systems or aspirations. For example, the Tripartite Treaty of 1906 and subsequent Herstlett 1909: Article 1 agreement among Britain, France and Italy created Ethiopia, in Holcomb and Sisay’s terms, a dependent colonial state which incorporated many independent neighbouring states such as Oromia, Ogadenia and Sidama.

Since the formation of the arbitrary colonial boundaries and dependent states was not based on consultation and the consent of the people affected by the imposition, resistance has been mounting again them. The opposition to colonial boundaries and dependent states has been led by nationalist movements in Africa and elsewhere due to disputed borders and quest for national self -determination. The movements in the Horn of Africa include Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Front, Ogadenian Liberation Front, Sidama Liberation Front and Sudanese People’s Liberation Army. In the case of Eritrea and South Sudan, the nationalists led resistance has achieved independence. Other movements are still continuing with their struggle for self-determination. This struggle has costed hundreds of thousands of human lives and significant material resources. There is no much evidence to suggest that these movements and the Ethiopian government are likely to resolve their differences peacefully at the moment.

The UN, the AU, the western governments have been criticised for not doing much to stop the repression against nationalist movements by governments such as that of Ethiopia. The UN and the AU charters are committed to the so-called “principle of inviolability” of inherited boundaries from colonialism. The western media are also accused of ignoring or under-reporting the human rights abuses and the plight of the people who seek to exercise their rights to self-determination. Nationalism has remained a major force to challenge dependent state’s status quo. Others argue that globalisation will resolve the nationalists’ demand for self-determination. The recent British vote to break away from the European Union defies the globalisation argument and strengths a nationalistic desire to maintain one’s own full sovereignty.

The planned Conference seeks to analyse the above raised dilemmas in the contemporary struggle for nations to form statehood from multiple perspectives. The Conference welcomes research papers that scrutinise the past and present developments of multinational states, the challenges of formation and reconfiguration of colonial boundaries as well as efforts and failures to resolve nationalists’ quest for statehood with reference to the conflicts in  Ethiopia.

Research papers, which examine the impacts of prolonged political conflicts on social, economic, political, cultural and educational development in the Horn of Africa in general, and Oromia, in particular, will be considered. A critical analysis of the roles of stakeholders such as international (UN, INGOs), supranational agencies (AU, EU etc.) and other governments in addressing any deleterious consequences of colonial boundaries and suggestions on a sustainable way forward will be relevant to this conference.

Important Dates

  • Submission of abstract no more than 300 words 30th of May 2018
  • Notification of acceptance, of abstract for the conference 30thof June 2018
  • Full paper submission deadline 15th of July, 2018

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