Call for Papers

Connectivity and Disconnectivity in the South Caucasus

19/08/2022

Workshop at Centre for East European and international Studies (ZOIS) in co-operation with DGSK Regional group “Central Asia and Caucasus”

19-20 October 2022 in Berlin

In the past years and in particular in policy debate, the notion of “connectivity” has become a buzzword with view to the South Caucasus. Such diverse actors as the European Union and China, international financial institutions and private sector entrepreneurs and of course the three states of the region themselves have formulated policies and engaged in strategies that aim at strengthening national or regional connectivity. Even though connectivity seems on everyone’s lips, these processes bear a variety of disconnections in it due to external and internal factors, and call for a thorough scholarly engagement and theorization. With this workshop we aim to

  • take a deeper dive into three central dimensions of South Caucasus connectivity, namely trade, transport/infrastructure and migration,
  • flesh out how different aspects of connectivity play out on the ground and
  • discuss how the term ‘connectivity’ is perceived in the region, not least with a view to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and the war in Ukraine.

This call is an invitation to reflect on the ongoing empirical research. The product of the workshop “Connectivity and Disconnectivity in the South Caucasus” will be an interdisciplinary thematic articles collection or an edited volume. Therefore, potential contributors should aim at participating both in the workshop and in the joint publication. The organizers will cover travel and accommodation costs of paper presenters and active participants.

We welcome submissions based on empirical research and are particularly interested in contributions addressing the following topics:

Transport/infrastructure

Connectivity in the South Caucasus is often related to the notion of crossroads and thus associated with transport infrastructure development. Large-scale connectivity-related initiatives such as TRACECA or the BRI and the construction of ports, highways, railways and airports have been advertised as profitable endeavours that would benefit both local, national and regional economic development. In this panel, we aim at critically tackling related “hub and flow” discourses by looking at how transport connectivity and related infrastructure projects play out and manifest themselves – in complex and sometimes also contradicting ways – on the ground.

Trade

Since the transition to market economy in the early 1990s the Caucasus has integrated into global markets and supply chains. On the one hand Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan have established formal trade agreements across the globe, at the same time, individual traders, such as bazaar and shuttle traders have forged international linkages to run their - sometimes informal - businesses and have thus become agents of something that has been described as a globalization from below. In this panel, we look at connectivities and disconnectivities, which result from or impact economic exchange.

Migration

Outmigration, displacements and exile are part of everyday life in the Caucasus. Cross-border voluntary and forced migration led to establishing new routes and trajectories of movement and created social and economic translocal and transnational networks. However, human mobility are intensively mediated by infrastructures that affect short term and long term border crossing connectivity. In this panel we discuss the following questions: What are the hard and soft infrastructures that foster and prevent migration? How do bureaucracy, legal frameworks and technologies (passport and visa regimes) shape mobility and (dis)connectivity? What are the local responses, imaginaries and strategies for overcoming the challenges and isolation?

Please submit titles and extended abstracts (500-1000 words) including a short bionote by 15 September 2022:

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