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What is Demcon?

The EDG and the IPG Groups are recipients of major funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) under the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program (MCRI.)

Main Sponsors
  Canada Research Chair in Law & Society
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI)
Ethnicity & Democratic Governance (EDG)
Indigenous Peoples & Governance (IPG)

2008 Conference:

Recognition and Self-determination


Also serving as the Fourth Annual Workshop of the
Consortium on Democratic Constitutionalism
University of Victoria
February 28 - March 2, 2008

Graduate Student Conference

The Dynamics of Recognition:  

Power and Transformation

will be held on

Thursday, February 28, 2008

UVic - Fraser Building Room 152

We have a limited amount of funds to provide partial support for the attendance of graduate students at the conference.  If you are interested in applying, please contact demcon@uvic.ca.  We will then provide you with the application information.



To enable us to foster intensive conversation throughout the workshop, we have prepared a Discussion Paper.


Thursday, February 28

Grad Conference:The Dynamics of Recognition: Power and Transformation

Organizers: Glen Coulthard, Andrée Boisselle and Rémi Leger.

Location: Fraser Building, Room 152


Friday, February 29

There will be a session of the Victoria Colloquium on Political, Social and Legal Theory at 2:30 pm on the Friday afternoon. It will be delivered by Professor Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, University of Bristol on a topic germane to the conference. It will be held in the Fraser Building, room 152. Please see our Victoria Colloquium page for more information.

We hope that many participants will be able to attend.


The Workshop proper will begin with a Conference Dinner at 6 pm on the evening of Friday, February 29. It will be held at the University Club.

Saturday, March 1

The March 1 & 2 Workshops will be held in Salon ABCD at the Laurel Point Inn, which is located at:

Laurel Point Inn
680 Montreal Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8V 1Z8
Tel: 250.386.8721
Fax: 250.386.9547
Email: guestservices@laurelpoint.com
Toll Free: 1.800.663.7667
Web: http://www.laurelpoint.com/

Registration: 8 am  at the Laurel Point Inn, outside the Salon ABCD.

Welcome: 8:45

Session 1: 9:00 - 10:45 am

Antinomies of Recognition


  • Courtney Jung: Dept of Political Science, The New School of Social Research, New York
  • Nikolas Kompridis: Department of Philosophy, York University


  • Avigail Eisenberg: Dept of Political Science, University of Victoria

This panel will deal with the sometime ambivalence of recognition, under which subaltern groups achieve recognition and accommodation, but often in a manner that also serves to define them in ways that are not wholly within their control.  This relational definition of the group is not necessarily objectionable, but it may become so if there are dramatic power imbalances between the groups, or if the recognized community is poorly placed to engage in its own self-organization. The politics of recognition is, in other words, in uneasy relationship with the idea of self-determination.  This panel will place those tensions on the table, drawing on specific situations in which the challenge arises.

Session 2: 11:00 am - 12:45 pm

Preconditions of Recognition


  • Glen Coulthard: PhD Candidate, Dept of Political Science, University of Victoria
  • Rinku Lamba: Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow, European University Institute, Florence
  • Michel Seymour: Faculté de philosophie, Université de Montréal

Building on the first panel, this panel asks whether there are particular preconditions to effective recognition.  Is there a degree of self-organization, a minimum of de facto autonomy, moral requirements of self-confidence or self-knowledge, or material (resource) requirements that are essential to effective recognition?

12:45 - 2:00 pm

Session 3: 2:00 - 3:45 pm

Normative Presumptions of Recognition


  • Miranda Johnson: PhD Candidate, Dept of History, University of Chicago
  • Jocelyn Maclure: Faculté de philosophie, Université Laval
  • Ghislain Otis: Faculté de droit, Université Laval

This panel examines the extent to which recognition should be or inevitably is associated with particular normative requirements.  In other words, are specific normative requirements (requirements on the recognized group, but also perhaps on the recognizing group) built into the very interplay of recognition – requirements of participation, an obligation to enter negotiations, or the observance of certain internal rights and processes, for example?  To what extent are normative requirements imposed by the will of the recognizing party?  To what extent are they presupposed by the relationship?  Is there sufficient justification for those requirements?  We expect that this panel will also serve to define what precisely we should mean by “recognition.”

Session 4: 4:00 - 5:45 pm

Competition Between Recognitions


  • Geneviève Nootens: Chaire de recherche du Canada sur la démocratie et la souveraineté Sciences humaines, Université du Quebéc à Chicoutimi
  • Daniel Salée: Department of Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal and University of New Brunswick, Saint John (2007-2008)
  • Daniel Weinstock: Chaire de recherche du Canada en éthique et philosophie politique, Professeur, Département de philosophie; Université de Montréal

Many of the challenges of recognition involve the relative recognition accorded different groups.  Groups seek differential recognition, or are acutely sensitive to the suspicion that they may be receiving less recognition than some other group.  Yet the range of possible group definitions is such that it is impossible to accord precisely the same recognition to all groups, at least not without evacuating the very significance of recognition.  In what ways do these competitions emerge?  On what basis should they be resolved?

Sunday, March 2

Session 5: 8:30 - 10:15 am

Recognizing What One Does Not Understand


  • Yasmeen Abu-Laban: Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
  • Jakeet Singh : Department of Political Science, University of Toronto
  • Jeremy Webber: Canada Research Chair in Law and Society, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria

This panel will try to concretize these aspects of recognition – the extent of imposition involved in recognition, the extent to which there are normative or empirical preconditions to recognition – by dealing with a particularly challenging context that arises both in the recognition of indigenous peoples and in the case of religious minorities:  How does one recognize beliefs or practices when one does not share the metaphysical presuppositions on which those beliefs and practices are based?  Is there reason to recognize these things?  Can one do so?  And if one does not or cannot do so, what does that tell us about the value and role of recognition, and of its relationship to self-determination?

Session 6: 10:30 am - 12:00 noon

Can Internationalizing the Issue Render it More Resolvable?


  • Karen Knop: Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
  • Patrick Macklem: William C. Graham Chair, Faculty of Law , University of Toronto


In many contemporary conflicts, groups seek to address the challenges of recognition by internationalizing them.  The right of self-determination has also been driven internationally.  Can this strategy work?  Is there a party beyond the contending parties themselves that can assist in resolving conflicts of recognition?  Does the removal of the dispute to that level carry opportunities?  Does it carry dangers?

Workshop Closing
Lunch: 12:15 - 2:00 pm


February 28 - March 2, 2008

University of Victoria,

Victoria, British Columbia




DEMCON Spring 2008






UVic & Victoria Maps

Discussion Paper

Grad Student


Grad Student