Funding.

Funding.

Grant received from EUI's ReligioWest Program for research on the UN Alliance of Civilizations in 2014.

Working paper: What, which, and who’s civilizations?: An Investigation into the “civilizations” of the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations 

The United Nations (UN) has long been an organization whose primarily goals were to ensure peace and security among nations and promote individual human rights. However, ever since the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) initiative was institutionalized in 2006, the UN has also become increasingly concerned with fostering dialogue and mutual understanding among civilizations in world politics. Little sustained scholarly attention has been paid to these rather remarkable institutional developments within the UN system. The working paper’s concern will be primarily to understand and unpack what, which, and who’s “civilizations” are being instantiated and reified in world politics by and through the UNAOC’s activities.

The working paper proceeds by asking a number of questions. What interpretations and definitions of civilizations is the UNAOC implicitly and explicitly endorsing, working with and bringing into being through its discourses and practices? Which state and non-state actors are authorized to represent and speak for civilizations and why? What role, more specifically, do religious identities, communities, beliefs, and actors play in defining what civilizations are, which ones are represented, and who speaks for them? The paper will draw from a mix of methods. It will principally focus on an analysis of the discourses and practices embedded within key UNAOC documents and initiatives (e.g. programs implemented, conferences organized, and norms promoted). The paper will further rely on direct interviews with UNAOC officials and participating organizations.