Democratization and Constitutional Design in Divided Societies

Nicosia Campus, University of Cyprus, 24-27 June 2017

This conference will bring together three IPSA research committees to examine the challenges of designing democratic institutions in divided societies.

The conference will provide an opportunity to examine the role of different factors (e.g., ethnicity, gender, class, political institutions, efficacy of multi-level governance, the intersection between peace and democratic stability) in fostering democratization in the context of regional and global integration. We welcome contributions that focus on democratization as an open-ended process driven by either internal or external factors, embedded in local, regional, or global dynamics as well as social, economic and legal legacies of the past.

The conference will be convened in Nicosia, Cyprus at the time when the country is undergoing a complex and historic process of designing political institutions to bridge the gap between the island’s divided communities. In particular, we welcome proposals that reflect upon the constitutional design process in Cyprus as well as proposals that develop case studies or comparison of issues of democratization evident in any part of the world or those which engage a theoretical perspective on institutional and constitutional designs in ethnically, religiously, nationally and linguistically divided societies.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • How might the changing role of ethnicity and cultural cleavages influence constitutional design in democracies?
  • What are the factors (e.g., gender, class, etc.) shaping contemporary democratization and institution-building in divided places?
  • Are there regional variations in and of democratic models?
  • What are the benchmarks for democratic standards in divided societies?

We invite proposals for individual paper contributions and/or panels engaging these issues. Proposals that consider how federal, power-sharing or other multi-level devices could be applied to deeply divided territories are particularly welcome. We aim to feature the best of contemporary research on democratic transitions and constitutional design, including new research by established academics as well as by early career scholars.

The keynote speaker is John McGarry, Professor of Political Studies, Canada Research Chair in Nationalism and Democracy at Queen’s University Canada.

Proposals for papers should include contact details of the author(s) and an abstract of up to 200 words.

Panel proposals must include:

  • a minimum of three papers and a maximum of four
  • contact details of paper-givers, and (if you have them) the discussant and chair
  • Panel title and individual paper titles
  • Short description of panel (max 200 words)

The final deadline for electronic submission of proposals for papers or panels will be 31 January 2017.  Notices of acceptance will be sent out by 10 February 2017.  Proposals should be submitted online at: https://form.jotformeu.com/62653954338364

All participants will be required to register for the conference. IPSA has implemented a new category of membership for citizens from low and lower-middle income countries; the list of eligible countries can be found here: https://www.ipsa.org/membership/individual/global_south_category

Early Bird Registration Fees (before 1 May 2017):


Faculty Rate:

Non-member 120 €

Member 100 €

Member from Global South 80 €


Student Rate:

Non-member 80 €

Member 60 €

Member from Global South 40 €


After 1 May 2017, the student rate will be raised by 20 € and by 40 € for the remaining categories.

The organizers will endeavor to provide a selected pool of graduate students/young academics with a bursary to cover at least a part of their travel expenses to the location of colloquium. The decision on the pool of recipients will be made in May 2017. 

Organizing committee: Timofey Agarin, Queen’s University Belfast, UK; Allison McCulloch, Brandon University, Canada; Bartłomiej Zdaniuk, University of Warsaw, Poland; Melba Nyabereka, Monash University, South Africa; Paolo Dardanelli, University of Kent, UK; Thomas D. Lancaster, Emory University, USA

Inquiries can be directed to the organizers at: ipsa.colloquium2017@gmail.com