This is an Archive of a Past Event

In the midst of apparent political dissension or social conflict, the call ‘to be civil’ is powerful. This workshop starts with the premise that civility is a normative value, a cultural practice, and a form of political life. We aim to foster discussions bringing into focus the ethical charges and political implications of attempts to act civilly. The workshop will ask some of the following questions: How might one conceptualize civility and its associated concepts in new ways and/or with new histories? What are the forms, practices and claims about civility that shape people’s everyday interactions? Which actors have particular stakes, and why, in claims about civility? What normative frames and forms of accountability are involved in such practices? How do claims of civility relate to wider inequalities and violence? What is the relationship between urbanity and civility?

Panel 1: The Everyday Life of Civility

Chair: Firat Bozcali (Stanford) 

10-10:30am- Paul Anderson (University of Cambridge) Living a Tainted Life? Negotiating Authoritarian and Civic Civilities in Pre-conflict Syria.

10:30-11am- Azra Hromadzic  (Syracuse University) In Search of Cultured People: Trans-ethnic Discourses of Civility in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina

11-11:30am- Sharika Thiranagama (Stanford University) Civility and Intimacy: Post war Transformations in Sri Lanka

11:30am-12:30pm- Discussion

Panel 2: Aspiration, Internationalism and Civility

Chair: Grace Zhou (Stanford) 

1:30-2.00pm- Bruce Grant (New York University) Civil Wars: The Struggles over Non Violence in the USSR and its Hauntings 

2.00-2:30pm- Magnus Marsden (University of Sussex) Diplomacy & Civility: Perspectives from Afghan Transnational Trading Networks

2:30-3:00pm- Juan Obarrio (Johns Hopkins University) Violence and Civility in Northern Mozambique

3:00-4:00pm- Discussion

4.30-5.30pm- Donald Donham (UC Davis) – Concluding Thoughts & General Discussion

If you have any questions regarding this conference, please contact the organizers, Sharika Thiranagama and Tobias Kelly at 

Co-sponsors: Stanford Initiative for Religious and Ethnic Understanding and Coexistence, Stanford Global Studies: Urban Beyond Measure, Freeman Spogli Institute, Department of Anthropology, CREES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, ABBASI Program in Islamic Studies, Center for South Asia, Center for African Studies, University of Edinburgh (UK), Stanford Humanities Center