Press Release (September 2018)


The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI MMG) is hosting a new research project “Post-imperial diversities – majority-minority relations in the transition from empires to nation-states” (2018-2020). Funded in the framework of the ERA.Net RUS program, the project advances international collaboration with the
University of Eastern Finland and the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg. Its overall aim is to study the constitutional politics of ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity in the transition from empires to post-imperial arrangements following the Russian empire and the Soviet Union.

Post-imperial transitions are known to trigger intensive conflict and war, but it is less clear how imperial legacies and international frameworks have shaped the constitutional arrangements and political orders of post-imperial nation-states. IMPDIV aims, first, to study the cognitive classificatory systems as well as the normative justificatory repertoires evinced by discourses and practices of national mobilization and managing demographic diversity, which existed in multiethnic empires immediately prior to their breakdown. Second, it will trace continuities and discontinuities between these cognitive and normative frameworks and those that emerged in constitutions and constitutional debates within the new states. Third, it will situate these historical transitions within international legal discourses and institutional regimes regulating conflicts surrounding issues of ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity. To achieve these aims, the project will collect original primary sources, interpret them in their respective historical context, and integrate them into macro-quantitative datasets on constitutional minority rights.

At MPI-MMG, the project will be led by Matthias Koenig, Max Planck Fellow and professor of sociology at the University of Göttingen.