RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

 CENTER FOR CIVILIZATIONAL AND REGIONAL STUDIES

30/1 Spiridonovka St., 123001 Moscow, RUSSIA

Tel.: + (7 095) 291 4119; Fax: + (7 095) 202 0786

E-mail: civ-reg@inafr.ru

 

INSTITUTE FOR AFRICAN STUDIES

30/1 Spiridonovka St., 123001 Moscow, RUSSIA

Tel.: + (7 095) 291 4119; Fax: + (7 095) 202 0786

 RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES

SCHOOL OF HISTORY, POLITICAL SCIENCE AND LAW

6, Miusskaya Ploshad' 125267 Moscow, RUSSIA

Tel.: + (7 095) 298 5886; Fax: + (7 095) 298 0345

FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

"HIERARCHY AND POWER IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATIONS"

June 13-16 2006, Moscow, Russia

THIRD ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS

 

Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies in cooperation with the Institute for African Studies (both under the Russian Academy of Sciences) and the Russian State University for the Humanities is organizing in Moscow on June 13-16, 2006 the Fourth International Conference "HIERARCHY AND POWER IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATIONS".*

 

All the Conference events except culture program will take place on the Russian State University for the Humanities main campus.

 

The working languages of the Conference are Russian and English.

 

The Organizing Committee has considered all the panel proposals received by it. The descriptions of the accepted proposals please find below. The deadline for paper proposals (in the form of abstracts within 300 words in English) is November 1, 2005. Paper proposals should be sent not to the Organizing Committee but directly to the respective panel convenor(s) who is (are) to inform the applicant about his (her) application's fortune by December 1, 2005. The information to be submitted alongside with the paper abstract includes full name, title, institutional affiliation, full mail and e-mail addresses, and fax #.

 

However, in the case you feel your paper does not fit any particular panel but corresponds to the Conference general problematique, you may submit your proposal to the Organizing Committee by the same date (November 1, 2005) and it will be considered for scheduling for the Free Communication Panel. Besides, if the Organizing Committee finds it possible to unite an appropriate number of proposals submitted for the Free Communication Panel into a thematic panel, it may establish such a panel and propose one of its prospective participants to become the convenor. None of the proposals may be accepted or rejected on the basis of its submitter’s previous academic credentials, ethnic or national origin, sex, or otherwise, but only on the basis of the proposal’s relevance to and importance for, the Conference’s problematics.

 

All the general inquiries and proposals for the Free Communication Panel should be sent to the Organizing Committee, for the attention of Ms. Anastasia Banschikova, Conference Secretary preferably by e-mail (civ-reg@inafr.ru), or either by fax (+ 7 095 202 0786), or by ordinary mail (Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1 Spiridonovka St., 123001 Moscow, Russia). The telephone number is: + 7 095 291 4119.

 

In the case the proposal is accepted, the Organizing Committee will send you the list of documents necessary to support your and your panel participants’ visa application process at the Russian Consulate or Embassy in the respective countries in the beginning of the year 2006.

 

The Conference participant’s registration fee is 100 euros (or the equivalent sum in US dollars or Russian rubles) which includes the visa application support at the Russian Foreign Ministry,* culture program, Conference Book of Abstracts, reception, coffee-breaks, is to be paid on the spot upon arrival. The fee for an accompanying person is 50 euros (or the equivalent sum in US dollars or Russian rubles) includes the visa application support at the Russian Foreign Ministry, participation in culture program and reception.

 

Accommodation at the hotel of the Russian Academy of Sciences or at the hotel of the Russian State University for the Humanities, both in Downtown Moscow, currently is about 45 euros per night. It is also possible to make an independent reservation in one of many other Moscow hotels of different class through Internet at sites: http://www.moscow-hotels-russia.com/rus/, http://www.hotelmos.ru/index_e.htm, http://www.hotelsrussia.com, http://www.selectrussia.com/ and http://all-hotels.ru. Estimated meal and other daily expenses are c. 15 euros per person. However, please note that the figures above may be subjected to some changes due to processes in transnational and national economy which are obviously out of the Organizing Committee’s control. If such changes happen, the Organizing Committee will try its best to inform the Conference participants as soon as possible.

 

PANELS ACCEPTED FOR THE CONFERENCE (In the alphabetical order of titles):

 

Europe as Political and Cultural Entity: Dialogue of Civilizations or Civilization of Dialogue?

Convenors: Dr. Ekaterina B. Demintseva (Department of Cultural Anthropology, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1 Spiridonovka st., 123001 Moscow, Russia; Tel.: + 7 095 291 4119; Fax: + 7 095 202 07 86; E-mail: katia-d@yandex.ru); Timour Atnachev (European University Institute, Florence, Italy; E-mail: timour.atnachev@iue.it)

 

The current enlargement of the European Union makes acute even more than before the question of where do the borders of Europe lie? The question has two dimensions: political and cultural. Dealing with both or any of the aspects presupposes choosing one of the two lines of reasoning: Europe may be considered either as a field of interaction of a number of civilizations or as one though internally highly diversified civilization. Finally, do the frontiers of Europe as a political and cultural entity co-insides with the continent's geographical borders? Anthropology, History, Political and Social sciences offer different perspectives to answer these questions, and we invite specialists in these (and other) disciplines to their discussion. Paper proposals may tackle such problems as social, political, and cultural exchanges in Europe in past and present, formation of the European political system and institution and national political cultures, integration of infra-European and non-European immigrants into the European countries' societies and cultures, the possibility of national and ethnic cultures' dissolution in the process of European integration, as well as any other aspects relevant to the panel's general problematics.

 

 

Hierarchical Structures and Local Network Communities in the Muslim World

Convenors: Galina A. Khizriyeva (School of History, Political Science and Law, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow; E-mail: khizriyeva@yahoo.com); Dr. Igor L. Alexeev (School of History, Political Science and Law, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow; E-mail: ialexeev@mail.ru)

 

The modern state is based оn two key principles. They are internal hierarchy and external autonomy. But internal hierarchy of many polities traditionally includes internal network communities that can compete with internal hierarchical systems of the state, influence and even corrode it. The process depends on the character of interrelations between the two organizational principles – political hierarchy and network in which hierarchy is loose and situational. As a result, a state can undergo the process of its weakening and become an arena for a political crisis and conflicts. Within the framework of the panel we would like to discuss the problematic mentioned above with respect to different types of contemporary Muslim states, societies and communities. However, cases from any part of the world and of any historical period relevant to the problem of state emergency out of network communities or vice versa are welcome.

 

 

Hierarchy and Power before and after Revolutions

Convenor: Dr. Bahram Navazeni (P.O. Box 288, Department of Political Science, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin 34149-16818, Iran; Tel/Fax: 98 281 367 9092; Fax: 98 281 378 0035; E-mail: navazenib@ikiu.ac.ir)

 

The history of mankind has witnessed various types of state systems in which the main subject has always been the distribution of power. In each type, ancient or modern, theocratic or democratic, despotic or pluralistic, different classes and groups have played different roles either in supporting or opposing the power which might have some relation to a particular context of cultural, religious, social and economic power. Classes such as nobles, clergies, bourgeoisie, proletariats and peasants, and groups such as patriots, zealots, and nationalists may insist on their will and not ease until the revolution and the collapse of the whole system. But even when revolutionaries come to power, they find the distribution of power among themselves and with the opposition as the first task, so the game still continues. Covering a large area of the political science field, this panel encourages political scientists, sociologists, historians and all the others interested in the nature of the old or modern state, and the power it wields to use historical and contemporary material to illustrate the theoretical analysis and different and changing will and need of the ruling vs. revolutionary groups and classes. Papers on the Russian, Persian, British, American, Turk, Arab, Indian, Chinese, African and other revolutions in the past and present will surely be appreciated in this panel. I invite the interested participants to discuss the causes of revolts and revolutions and to find a way to ease tensions in the civilization as a whole.

 

 

Human Rights in the History of Civilizations

Convenor: Dr. Pattamaporn Busapathumrong (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Asian University, 89 Moo 12 Highway 331, Banglamung, Chon Buri 20260, Thailand; Tel.: +66 1 8153054; Fax: +66 38 754 447; E-mails: pattama@asianust.ac.th; pattama15@yahoo.com)

 

The panel on human rights in history and civilization focuses on exploring how the economic, political and socio-cultural factors have influenced the conception, definitions and the emergence of human rights in history and civilization. This involves social processes in historical dimension concerning human rights in the areas of human rights violation and the development of  human rights instrument (written and unwritten codes) such as traumas among those who experience human rights violation, grassroot movements, peace movements, civil society, legal frameworks and instruments, the role of government, non-government and international organizations. To what extent that power strategies vs. stages of political evolution, the ideology and legitimation of power in different civilizational contexts play key role in history and civilization including violence and non-violence in the history of political institution, formation, development and decline; hierarchy and heterarchy in the sociopolitical history of humankind.

 

 

Interpreting Violence: The Confessional, the National, the Generational, and the Personal

Convenor: Dr. Charles Rheaume (Directorate of History and Heritage, National Defense Headquarters, 2429, Holly Lane, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0K2; Fax: +1 613 990 85 79, E-mails: rheaume.cc@forces.gc.ca; crheau@sympatico.ca)

 

The theme and title of the panel are shaped the way which permits to welcome papers on a great variety of particular topics related to any country and historical period. Currently, the confirmed or prospective participants intend to discuss such problems as the attitude towards the use of force in the Judaic tradition, essentially that such use is not compatible with that faith; Canada's self-image as a non-violent nation through the historical example of Canada's decision not to develop a nuclear bomb of its own after the Second World War, and its eagerness in engaging in peacekeeping missions across the world as early as the late 1940s; the interpretation of violence in Stalinist Russia; the phenomenon of violence as seen through today's Russian youth; and the inner process by which Danish physicist Niels Bohr was led from taking part in building up the ultimate means of violence that nuclear weapons are to advocating their international control.

 

 

Modern Mass Media and the Public Sphere: New Challenges and Opportunities for Democracy

Convenor: Dr. Veronica V. Usacheva (Department of Cultural Anthropology, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1 Spiridonovka st., 123001 Moscow, Russia; Tel.: + 7 095 291 4119; Fax: + 7 095 202 07 86; E-mails: veronius@mail, veronius@rambler.ru)

 

Globalization has created new challenges in information space. New models of communication have emerged. Their influence overcomes states’ borders and, what is even more serious, they have a great potential and capabilities for destroying the basis and cultural values of a society. In the classical interpretation by Jürgen Habermas the “public sphere” is the arena within which a debate occurs. It is the zone where access to information is sufficient for more probable rational discourse and looking for mutually acceptable public standards. The public sphere is where ideas, information and knowledge are shared, where ideas generated and opinions are constructed. Although real and experienced, the public sphere cannot be located in a particular place or identified as an object. It is not a physical spot where discourse has consequences. For Habermas, correctly functioning public sphere restricts state power and gives possibilities through which democracy could be realized. Ideally, the public sphere should be free from limitations, both private interests and state control. Nowadays the public sphere as a zone of modern discourse is distorted by unequal access to information, power and prosperity. What is the role of modern mass media in the public sphere's formation? What possibilities do they offer citizens to seek, receive, and impart information? How do mass media provide equal access to them for different social groups and individuals? Is equal access possible in the modern world? During the 20th century the state became a serious player on the public sphere stage, being sometimes authoritarian or totalitarian monopolist. Information control can serve as a part and parcel of nation-building. At the same time, media manipulation can become a weapon of mass deconstruction. What kind of public sphere can exist in the situation of increasing influence of the state and economic interests on mass media? Where is the solution to overcome the elitist character of the public sphere? The progress of communications gives new opportunities for people to overcome limitations and deficiencies, even social norms and social control. The many point out that new mass media are revolutionizing the nature of discourse. The crucial question is: Do people receive now more information than before? Do we have more zones for public discourse, than before? Are there any new possibilities for broad and unlimited freedom of expression, including critical to authorities? The panel will cover both theoretical and empirical approaches to the mentioned above problems and encourages papers that deal with the following: public sphere / public sphericules; modern mass media in maintenance the institutions of civil societies and democracy; public discourses, their competition and hierarchical relations.

 

 

Networked Cultures: Negotiating Cultural Difference in Contested Spaces

Convenor: Prof. Peter Mörtenböck (Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, United Kingdom; E-mail: p.mortenbock@gold.ac.uk)

 

This panel aims to discuss the dynamics and potentials of newly emerging socio-political network structures and the ways in which they re-conceptualise socio-political organisation through innovative forms of spatial practice. It looks at contemporary spatial practices characterised by a dislocation and dispersion of contributors, participants and spectators, by processes of fragmentation and multiplication, by a shifting of perspectives from dominant centralities to networked peripheries, clandestine economies and virtual sites. In doing so, this panel intends to question the ways in which the local is reinstalled as a new sphere of activities which can only be understood through its network of relationships with other localities. Albeit an increasingly fictitious construct, urban space continues to be a central site of negotiation between conflicting cultural histories, narratives and values in Europe and between Europe and other world regions. Call centres, for instance, create the illusion of speaking to someone geographically close to the location of the client, they create a sense of ‘hereness’, whereas for economic reasons more and more call centres of the Western world are relocated to Asia. Territorial boundaries are both being undermined and upheld as is the case in the recently proposed building of Austrian prisons in Rumania or the British border controls on French territory. Both the contested geography and the contested imaginary described in these and in many other instances are indicative of a rapidly growing fragmentation and attempted re-stabilisation of space formed in and by the projection of dominant cultural narratives. These power moves challenge our traditional understanding of cities as sites of actual exchange: The exchange between communities is not bound to a material site any longer, it rather develops into a site of migratory co-existence and cross-cultural networking. What is at stake in these newly emerging communities of fleeting identifications and chance encounters is a new way of thinking through the problematics of an illusory ‘hereness’ in relation to an illusory ‘thereness’. A crucial question addressed here is the extent to which we actually participate in these complexities of socio-political organisation and how we relate to concepts and images produced by culturally specific groups to which we belong or to which we do not belong. As participation can no longer be restricted to instruments such as memberships, polls and questionnaires, we have to look at new modes in which collectivities (contact zones, nodes of intensities and communities) are developed. How do new forms of communication and representation, in particular virtual-spatial ones, change the social spaces where different cultures meet? How do public fantasies interact with the actual living conditions of citizens? How do constructions of an illusory ‘hereness’ relate to constructions of a similarly illusory ‘thereness? Contributions to this panel will consider different spaces of contested nature: spaces which exhibit or call for the potentiality of new forms of cohabitation and cross-cultural fertilisation. It will investigate how such networked cultures reflect and generate new epistemological models and intends to critically assess their potential for cultural dialogue.

 

 

Power and Identity in Multicultural Societies

Convenor: Prof. Vassili R. Filippov (Department of Ethnoregional Studies, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1 Spiridonovka St., 123001 Moscow, Russia; Tel.: + 7 095 202 3311; Fax: + 7 095 202 0786; E-mail: fvr@east.ru)

 

The panel is to consider the power and ethnicity interactions in political practice of contemporary multiethnic states and quasi-states. The following issues are to be discussed: the problem of ethnic groups as subjects of the law: collective rights of substantiated ethnic groups vs. the individual's right for free choice of ethno-cultural identity; political practice of the ethnic processes optimization in multicultural states; forms of realization of the individual’s ethno-cultural identity in multicultural states; the ways of ethnicity's depolitization and politics' deethnization in multiethnic societies; paradigmatics of contemporary ethnological science and ideological substantiation of the ethnocratic regimes' legitimation; ethnic models of power legitimation in political practice of contemporary states and quasi-states.

 

 

Power and Ideology in the Northern Maya Lowlands

Convenor: Prof. Justine M. Shaw (College of the Redwoods, Anthropology Section, 7351 Tompkins Hill Road, Eureka, CA 95501, USA; Tel.: + 1 707 476 4322; Fax: + 1 707 476 4430; E-mail: justine-shaw@redwoods.edu)

 

The Northern Yucatan, including much of the modern Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche, has been the location of a series of recent and ongoing archaeological projects. Some of the primary objectives of these ventures have been to simply locate and date settlements in the region, due to the paucity of prior research and the pressing need to document sites that are increasingly threatened by modern development. However, sustained investigations are beginning to allow archaeologists to test hypotheses concerning the roles of past ideologies in structuring and legitimizing power, the nature of political organization, and the role of economy in socio-political processes. While the past and present occupants of the Northern Lowlands are commonly referred to as the "Maya", this label belies the cultural diversity within the region, as well as the enormous amount of culture change that has taken place during the approximately 2,500 years covered by studies in the region. One area in which these changes are most evident is that of ideologies, which have been continuously manipulated by a series of powers within the region, starting from the first kings through Spanish colonial times to the present. Even where writing is not present, archaeologists have been able to call upon architecture, art, and the distribution of relatively common artifacts in order to make inferences about the cosmological programs of particular factions. While kingship is assumed to be the norm for ancient Maya political organization, an examination of the scale and distribution of settlement within the Northern Lowlands makes it clear that, if such kings were the leaders of sites, they were not all equal. Settlement pattern shifts through time reveal certain centers, which might be called regional capitals, which were able to attract substantial populations, while others retained little-to-no residents. Examinations of the distribution of artifact types and architectural styles provide insights into the actual areas that such rulers might have controlled, the strategies that they used to attract and retain followers, and the degree to which their leadership extended into economic realms.

 

 

Social struggle and narrative discourse in ancient and modern slavery

Convenor: Dr. Mark J. Goodman (York University, Toronto, Canada; E-mails: mark.goodman@sympatico.ca, goodmanm@yorku.ca)

 

 

Status, Society and Accusation: Forms of Accusation and Inquisition from Antiquity to Renaissance

Convenor: Dr. Nadezhda A. Selonskaia (Center for Comparative Studies of Ancient Civilizations, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32a Leninskii pr., apt. 1501, 119334 Moscow, Russia; Fax: + 7 095 938 1912; E-mails: spes@dr.com spesbona@mail.ru)

 

The panel is to deal with the concepts of culpa, accusation and inquisition in a number of political and social contexts. It intends to analyze the variability of perceptions, representations, and interactions of the secular and sacred components of these concepts. The goal is also to demonstrate the role written and oral forms and performances of the process of accusations and the possible evidence of historical sources can play in interpretation of the phenomena. The final goal is to indicate the specific features of the concepts of culpa and accusation not only from the history of law perspective, but also to analyze the phenomena in the context of social hierarchy, with attention given to the secular and religious conflicts and the interests of society's members. Paper proposals are to be focused first and foremost on the world of Antiquity, Medieval Latin West and Byzantine Empire, and the Renaissance. However, the framework of the panel could include not just pagan Antiquity and Christian European civilization but also a broader historical context of the Mediterranean world.

 

 

Structure of Power and Hierarchy in the Chinggis Khan Empire: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Convenor: Prof. Nikolay N. Kradin (Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 89 Pushkinskaya st., Vladivostok 690950, Russia; Tel.: +7 4232 228 067; Fax: +7 4232 268 211; E-mail: kradin@mail.ru)

 

The problem of the Mongols' conquests and the place of the Chinggis Khan empire in the world-system history received new sounding in the last decade. Activation of its studying is connected with approximation of the 800th anniversary of the Mongolian empire's declaration in 1206. The fundamental problem to be discussed in the panel is the structure of power and hierarchy in the Chinggis Khan empire. The other points for discussion are: Why did the Mongols rise from a small, little-known people to a powerful empire which became able to destroy a number of mediaeval civilizations? What role did Chinggis Khan play in these processes? What were the reasons for creation of the Mongolian empire and other nomadic empires? What was the basis of Chinggis Khan's power? What were the features of the Mongols and other nomadic empires' structure of hierarchy? Was the Mongol empire a state or a supercomplex chiefdom? Finally, What part did the Mongol empire play in the world-system processes?

 

 

The Cossack Communities, Identity and Power on the Eurasian Space in the 16th – 20th Centuries

Convenor: Dr. Sergey M. Markedonov (Department of Interethnic Relations Problems, Institute for Political and Military Analysis, 20/6, bldg. 1 Kuznetskiy Most St., 107031 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: smark@pochta.ru; smark-72@mail.ru)

 

During the last 10 or 15 years the history of the Cossacks has been arising a considerable interest of both academics and politicians. It is manifested in numerous publications and conferences on the Cossacks. The conferences have revealed the subjects, dealt with the history of the Cossacks, predominantly in the context of the events in this or that separate region (Ukraine, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Far East) or in the context of military or socio-economic history. Moreover, the Cossacks are considered as a completely Russian historical phenomenon, while the Cossack communities existed not only on the territory of contemporary Russia and within the boundaries of so called “Slavic area” but also as a part of the Crimea Khanate, the Ottoman Empire, Qing China. Thus, it is possible to ascertain that in the public and academy there are still absent an integral notion of the Cossack phenomenon and its evolution, a typology of the Cossack communities, etc. The main purpose of the proposed panel is to accumulate papers on the history of the Cossacks given in the vein of the civilization approach and regarding the regional factor, implying the research emphasis on the interrelationship between the individual/community and the state, on the specific features of culture (in the ethnographic and civil-national meanings) and psychology, on spatial and symbolic geography, etc. within the chronological frameworks from stable Cossack communities formation in the 16th century to the 20th century, the period when the Cossacks existed in different language and cultural milieu (in the Soviet Union and in emigration) and enjoyed revival in the post-Soviet states. The following points for discussion may be outlined: the political and judicial institutions of the Cossacks and their evolution; the relations between the Cossack communities and the Moscow state, Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Poland-Lithuania, etc.; the Cossacks as a phenomenon of intercultural dialogue (the history of non-Slavic ethnic component in the Cossack communities); the image of the Cossacks in history (cultural stereotypes of their perception by other peoples); self-identification of the Cossacks, the mechanisms of its transmission, the ghosts of the Cossacks’ “nationalism” and separatism; the Cossacks as a political myth and political ideal in social thought of Russia, Ukraine, and other European states; the “Cossack question” in the official policy and public opinion of the Russian Empire in the 19th – early 20th centuries, contemporary Russia and other post-Soviet states.

 

 

The Olmecs of Mesoamerica: Studies in Power and Hierarchy

Convenors: Prof. Richard A. Diehl (Box 870210, Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0210, USA; Fax: + 1 205 348 7937; E-mail: rdiehl@tenhoor.as.ua.edu); Dr. Andrei V. Tabarev (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Novosibirsk University, 17 Lavrentieva St., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia; E-mail: olmec@yandex.ru)

 

The Olmecs were the first civilization to emerge in pre-Columbian America. Although they have long been famous for their spectacular Colossal Heads and other stone monuments carved from multi-ton basalt boulders, until recently little was known about the social, political, and economic underpinnings of this civilization. Recent archaeological and iconographic studies have revealed a wealth of data on these and many related topics. They will be addressed by the panel members.

 

 

The Ruler and Socio-Cultural Norm in the Ancient World

Convenor: Dr. Alexander A. Nemirovskiy (Center for Comparative Studies of Ancient Civilizations, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32a Leninskiy pr., 119334 Moscow, Russia; Fax: + 7 095 938 1912; E-mails: sidelts@inbox.ru; alexandre_029@yahoo.com; alexandre_092@yahoo.com)

 

The panel is designed to bring together papers on a rather specific topic. One of the main questions we face while studying the phenomenon of hierarchy as a means of society's (self)organization is redistribution of activities and competence (both nominal and real) between rulers on the one hand and the whole society on the other hand, especially with respect to the problem of how social norms are maintained, modified and introduced. Every society functions according to some rules, guaranteed by the society on the whole and, specifically, by its political hierarchy. This hierarchy holds at its disposal some opportunities and rights to change and interpret old norms, to introduce new ones or to ignore them both on some extraordinary occasions and to some degree; the norm itself recognizes and sets forward some rules at this point. It would be a complicated but useful task to determine and understand nominal and real limits of these rights and opportunities, and the panel is just aimed at contributing to this field. In this respect ancient civilizations share some specific traits: it is precisely at this stage of socio-cultural development that new-born hierarchies intervene in the sphere of creation, manipulation and use of norms especially actively and in various ways; on the other hand, this problematic is thought upon, realized and developed very eagerly, but the society (contrary to the modern period) does not codify or regularize the corresponding collisions; it defines only the recommended vectors of behavior for the situations when it deals with these collisions, but it does not create a system of concrete and formalized mechanisms, institutions, or rules for their resolving. It means that while exploring the essence and functioning of norms in antiquity we must look more for precedents and cases (and their evaluation by society) than for laws or edicts.

 

 

The Structure and Legitimation of Power in Ancient Societies of North-East Africa, the Near and Middle East

Convenors: Prof. Eleonora E. Kormysheva (Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 12 Rozhdestvenka St., Moscow, Russia; E-mail: eleonora@orc.ru); Dr. Dan’el Kahn (Haifa University, Israel; E-mail: danelka@netvision.net.il)

 

The proposed thematic scope of the panel includes the evidence from societies belonging to a single Kulturkreis. The major factor of its development might be defined as the strong political and ideological influence of the great rivers’ (the Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates) civilizations. The regions of this area represent all the three variants of social and political evolution in the typology established by Igor Diakonoff (relative preponderance of the state economy and the “despotic” political structure – Southern Mesopotamia, early South-Western Iran – Elam; total preponderance of the state economy and the “despotic” political structure – Egypt; the economic preponderance of rural communities, which also had a strong influence on the royal power of mostly military character, - Sudan, Eastern Mediterranean, the Armenian Upland, the Iranian Upland in the time of formation and heyday of ethnically Iranian political structures, Asia Minor). However, the doubtless historical leaders of the whole area, as to the formation of the earliest polities (Fourth to early Third Millennia B.C.E.), their regional entities (early to mid-Third Millennium B.C.E.), and expansion to peripheral regions (actually, also from Fourth Millennium B.C.E.) were the regions of the great rivers’ valleys – Egypt and Southern Mesopotamia. Hence, their civilizations were bound to lay a guiding imprint not only on their immediate periphery but also on more distant areas, which happened to fall into their scope (e.g., copper-mine regions of Asia Minor, which became a victim of the aggression of the Mesopotamian Akkadian empire as early as in the 24th-23rd centuries B.C.E.). The scope of the panel is supposed to comprise the whole extend of the area’s ancient history, up to its early medieval period including the time after the Macedonian conquest, when the area became a formative zone of the syncretic Hellenistic civilization (ca. 3rd century B.C.E. – 3rd century C.E.). This chronological and territorial extend permits to study within the panel a vast variety of interrelations between societies of different types (all forms of social evolution in the Diakonoff’s typology plus classical Greek city-states) and their respective ideologies and cultures in the sphere of construing and legitimating political structures.

 

 

Transitions, Transformations and Interactions of Hierarchical Structures and Social Networks in the Late 20th – Early 21st Centuries

Convenors: Dr. Alexei G. Loutskiy (Social Affairs Department, Moscow Government; Tel.: + 7 095 290 7454; Fax: + 7 095 957 9682; E-mail: shaanxi@mail.ru); Oleg I. Kavykin (Department of Cultural Anthropology, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1 Spiridonovka st., 123001 Moscow, Russia; Tel.: + 7 095 291 4119; Fax: + 7 095 202 07 86; E-mails: atrociter@mail.ru; oleg.kavykin@inafr.ru)

 

The panel's objective is to shed light on the following problems, among others relevant to the panel's problematics: the partial transition of power from hierarchical structures to social networks; institutionalization of subcultures and the process of transformation from network organizations to hierarchical structures; the pathways of hierarchies and networks transformations; the principle of complimentarity in the network and hierarchical structures functioning; global and local trends in the hierarchical structures and networks development and transformations.


 

* For more information about the first three Conferences (Announcements, Programs, electronic versions of the Books of Abstracts and journal reviews) please visit the Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies’ Internet site at the address http://civreg.ru. At this site one may also get acquainted with the history and activities of the Center. The address of the Institute for African Studies’ Internet site is http://inafr.ru.

* Please note that according to the Russian visa regulations, the host organisation has to pay fees to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for every foreign participant and even a bigger sum for accompanying persons. However, all the foreigners wishing to enter the Russian Federation must not only apply for visas at the Russian Consulates in respective countries but also pay another fee on their own for the visas’ granting.