Polen Global

Call for Papers

Bridging the ‘definitional divide’

State-diaspora relations in Central and Eastern Europe

Warsaw, 26-27 June 2024


The German Institute of Polish Affairs, and the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw invite scholars and PhD students to submit original research papers for the above interdisciplinary seminar. We welcome proposals from a diversity of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.   

Particularly since the end of the Cold War, an ever-increasing number of states maintain relations with ‘their’ diasporas. Even at a cursory glance, we find examples of such ‘diaspora engagement policies’ (Gamlen 2006) in more than half of the United Nations member states, ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe (Gamlen et al. 2019). Diaspora engagement policies, in other words, are a genuinely global phenomenon. These state-driven policies are aimed at recognising diaspora communities as a constituent element of the ‘global nation’ (Smith 2003) and at institutionalising this transborder relationship. The content of these ‘global nation policies’ (Levitt/de la Dehesa, 2003) varies and may include state-run and public television and radio broadcasting, national holidays commemorating the diaspora, the convening of congresses, the (sometimes extraterritorial) extension of rights and privileges usually reserved to citizens and (legal long-term) residents, but also repatriation and return laws as well as ‘diaspora institutions’, that is, ‘formal offices of state dedicated to emigrants and their descendants’ (Gamlen 2014).

However, the literature on diaspora engagement policies is characterized by a ‘definitional divide’ between kin-state, on the one hand, and sending-state politics (Waterbury 2010), on the other. In consequence, there are two largely separate bodies of literatures that hardly speak to one another, and we witness an almost complete absence of cases from the ‘Global East’ (Müller 2020) in research on diaspora engagement policies.

Our seminar aims to (re-) introduce case studies from Central and Eastern Europe into the scholarly debate on diaspora engagement policies and asks what can be gained from such a re-established dialogue between these two literatures.

Topics of interest  for paper proposals include, but are not limited to, the following: 

Theorizing state-diaspora relations

  • Bridging the ‘definitional divide’ in the literature regarding diasporas
  • Accidental diaspora politics (kin-state politics) and migration diaspora politics (sending-state politics)
  • Diasporas as actors in international relations?

Diaspora politics and (global) political order

  • Diaspora engagement policies and nation-building processes
  • Diaspora politics beyond the bilateral: triadic and quadratic nexuses
  • The role of citizenship, territoriality and/or national belonging

State-diaspora relations in Central and Eastern Europe

  • State-diaspora relations and European integration
  • Diaspora politics in the context of the Russian war in Ukraine
  • Evolution of diasporas and diaspora politics in time  

The in-person seminar is organized by the German Institute of Polish Affairs, and the Centre of Migration Research and will be held in Warsaw (Poland) on 26/27 June 2024.

Submission Guidelines 

Submit an abstract of 300 to 500 words that explains the research and its significance by 1 March 2024 to Bastian Sendhardt (sendhardt@dpi-da.de).  

Confirmations of acceptance of applications will be sent by 18 March 2024

We encourage contributions from early career scholars and PhD students. We aim to publish a selection of the papers from the workshop as a Special Section in a peer-reviewed journal CEEMR (http://www.ceemr.uw.edu.pl/)

We reimburse travel cost to presenters and provide hotel accommodation. 





The seminar is part of the project “Poland in the World – The Policy of the Polish State towards its Diasporas”, funded by the German-Polish Science Foundation.

Logo DPWS RGB 72dpi