A regional crisis of global consequence: conflict and political imagination in the Horn of Africa and its diaspora
David O'Kane (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
John Hume Lecture Theatre 5
Start time:
27 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:


Often misunderstood and underrated local, regional, and global dynamics interface in the Horn of Africa, comprised of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti. Throughout the region and its worldwide diasporas, historical and political ferments collide with the global world (dis)order to produce an array of political discourses and struggles. The so-called 'War on Terror' is only one of the crises with which the peoples of the Horn contend. Their lives are beset by conflicts over borders, territories and identities as well as militarization, food insecurity, and forced migration, all which have dramatic consequences for states and populations within the Horn of Africa, the wider East African region, and globally. This workshop approaches these issues from local, global, and historical perspectives to understand the dynamics of conflict in the Horn region, and how they are related to global neo-liberal political-economic pressures and trends like democracy, development, human rights, terrorism, and national security and sovereignty. In exploring how these pressures and trends - and the hopes and fears that inhere within them - play out in the Horn of Africa and its diasporas, address the following questions through ethnographically and historically grounded, comparative analyses: How do people in/from the Horn perceive these dynamics? How do they imagine and cope with the multi-layered political field in which their lives are enmeshed? How do they think about tensions and uncertainties and reason about their causes? What are their individual and/or collective responses? How can scholars contribute to both political debates and improving human security?