Partition Violence

The focus of this conference was on explaining the macro- and micro-dynamics of partition violence from a variety of empirical and theoretical perspectives. What accounts for variation in violence? Does partition “solve” ethnic conflicts or create terrible security dilemmas which worsen the likelihood of violence? Why does violence vary so much over time and place?

We assembled a talented international group of panelists, who offered a variety of disciplinary, empirical and theoretical perspectives on the causes of violence. We hoped the conference would be fun, and that we would learn a lot from each other.

With one or two exceptions, the format focused on discussion, rather than presentations, with panelists expected to have read each other’s papers. Paper writers were however expected to spend 5- 10 minutes each at the beginning of each session briefly framing their papers and highlighting areas where they felt they would have liked comments or they were still working through problems, as well as highlighting connections to the other papers they have read.

The Partition Violence conference was open to University of Chicago faculty, staff, students and COSAS affiliates — preregistration was required. Guests from outside the university may also have submitted a registration request, and were informed by email if there was space available.


Friday, May 1st

9:30 – 9:45 AM

Introduction & Welcome
Steven Wilkinson

9:45 AM – 12:45 PM (with break) Violence in the Punjab
Paul Brass (Washington), Chair/Commentator
Ian Talbot (Southampton)
Partition Violence in Punjab: Characteristics and Explanations

Paul Staniland (MIT; Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow, Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard)
Partition Legacies and Militant Mobilization in Ireland and Kashmir

Steven Wilkinson (Chicago) and Saumitra Jha (Stanford)
Veterans and Partition Violence

12:45 – 2:00 PM Lunch

2:00 – 5:00 PM Political Science Approaches to Partition Violence
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale)
A Model of War over Partition

Donald Horowitz (Duke)
Partition As a Solution to Conflict

Saturday, May 2nd

9:30 – 11:00 AM The Long Partition
Vazira Zamindar (Brown)
The Long Partition

Maya Tudor (Harvard)
Twin Births, Divergent Democracies: The Social Origins of Political Parties in India and Pakistan

Dwaipayan Sen (Chicago)
Caste Politics and Partition: The Case of Jogendranath Mandal

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM Partition Violence in Ireland & the Balkans
Peter Hart (Memorial)
Partition and Violence in Ireland 1912-23

Roger Petersen (MIT)
The De Facto Partition of Kosovo

12:45 – 1:45 PM


1:45 – 3:15 PM Secession & Partition in the Caucasus
David Siroky (Duke)
Secessionist Conflict in the Caucasus

Michael Khodarkovsky (Loyola)
Violence in the Caucasus

3:15 – 3:30 PM


3:30 – 5:00 PM Models of Social Mobilization and Violence
Roberto Franzosi (Emory)
Modeling Violence

Chris Haid (Chicago)
Modeling Partition Violence

Event Sponsors

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