Palestine, Taiwan, and Western Sahara: Nationalism, Statehood, Sovereignty, and the International System

Sabella Abidde's picture
Call for Papers
June 17, 2021 to February 16, 2022
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Political Science, East Asian History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations

Call for Book Chapters

Palestine, Taiwan, and Western Sahara:  

Nationalism, Statehood, Sovereignty, and the International System

Editor: Sabella O. Abidde


In 1998, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan, stated that “the struggle for independence, for self-rule -- for the right of a people to be a master of its own destiny -- is the struggle for human rights.” If this is true, then, where does that leave the Palestinians, the Taiwanese, and the Saharawi people who have for decades been clamoring for statehood and independence? The aim of this volume is threefold: First, to examine the undercurrents of statehood and independence; (b) to examine why the named political entities should or should not be granted independence and international recognition; (c) to examine why the international system is convoluted and often powerless in effecting the wishes of most of the member states of the UN.  


To have a State, four distinct conditions must be met. First, there must be a community of people, and it matters not whether they belong to the same color, faith, ethnicity, etc. Second, there must be a geographical space, a settlement where this community of people calls a country. Third, there must be a governing authority. And finally, the government must be sovereign – sovereign in the sense that it is self-governing and independent of any domestic, regional, or international body or institution. Within the prevailing international system, all four conditions must be met. Ultimately, a political entity clamoring for statehood must also have broad international support and recognition -- without which full membership of the UN may be impossible. It is for these reasons that Palestine, Taiwan, and Western Sahara do not wear the toga of a State.


Some scholars blame the British and other external forces for the predicaments of modern Palestine, while others point to the duplicity of the parties involved in the numerous peace accords. The State of Israel declared independence in 1948 and became a member of the UN in 1949, while the Palestinians continue to live in a state of flux and uncertainty. Why and how statehood has eluded the Palestinians is a subject of countless scholarly submissions. The case of the Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan) seemed complicated, but not as complicated as that of the Palestinians. While the People’s Republic of China (PRC/mainland China) claims Taiwan as one of its provinces; Taiwan and some scholars argue that Taiwan, in its current or original state, was never controlled or subject to the laws of the PRC. Even if it were, they argued, it has been more than seven decades since the end of the Chinese Civil War, therefore, Taiwan ought to be able to conduct its domestic and foreign affairs independently. Their basic argument is that Taiwan ought to be an independent nation.


Western Sahara is an anomaly insofar as colonialism and decolonization in African is concerned. For much of its history, Spain used it as a port during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, but after the Berlin Conference of 1884/85, it became a colony.  Thereafter, an agreement between Spain and Morocco allowed for its takeover by Morocco. Even as the wind of decolonization swept through the continent, Western Sahara’s independence remained a complicated and protracted issue. Beginning with the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Western Sahara in 1975, to the Baker Plan (2000) and the Manhasset negotiations (2007-2008), the international community has not been to resolve this decades-old issue. Ironically, even the African Union (AU) seems powerless at ridding the continent of the last bastion of colonialism - unable to do what they did in Namibia and South Africa.


Scholars, public intellectuals, retired diplomats, and others are encouraged to submit abstracts that address the indicated topics. They may also submit abstracts that address issues not raised here but which fall within the overall theme of the book. The suggested topics are:


  1. The Legal, Political, and Ethical Basis for Statehood
  2. Taiwan in US Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy Agenda
  3. The United Nations and the Creation of States
  4. Palestine in US Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy Agenda
  5. Western Sahara and the African Union


  1. The British and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  2. HAMAS and Irgun: A Comparative Assessment
  3. The PLO and Haganah: A Comparative Assessment
  4. The State of Palestine (the case for independence)
  5. The State of Palestine (the case against independence)


  1. Japan and the Status of Taiwan
  2. The Implications of the Chinese Civil War, 1927-1937 & 1945-1949
  3. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758
  4. Taiwan: An Autonomous Nation (argument for independence)
  5. Taiwan: A Province of the PRC (argument against independence)


  1. Western Sahara’s Protracted Colonial History
  2. Decolonization in Africa: Western Sahara as the Last Frontier
  3. Western Sahara Peace Process, 1975-2008: An Overview

19. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (the case for independence)

20. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (the case against independence)



  • Please submit a 300-350-word abstract and a 150-200-word “about the author” by August 5, 2021. You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of your abstract on August 15, 2021.
  • Your completed chapter, including the references, should be between 7000 to 8000 words and is due on February 16, 2022.
  • For formatting and citation, please adhere to the APA Style
  • Please send your abstract, author biography and general inquiries to


ABOUT THE EDITOR: Sabella Abidde is a professor of political science and member of the graduate faculty at Alabama State University. He holds a BA in international relations from Saint Cloud State University Minnesota, an MA in political science from Minnesota State University Mankato, and a Ph.D. in African Studies, World Affairs, Public Policy and Development Studies from Howard University. His edited books on Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean include The Challenges of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Springer, 2021); Fidel Castro and Africa’s Liberation Struggle (Lexington Books, 2020); China in Africa: Between Imperialism and Partnership in Humanitarian Development (Lexington Books, 2020); and Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean: The Case for Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation (Lexington Books, 2018). An upcoming volume is on Africa-China-Taiwan Relations. Dr. Abidde is a member of the Association of Global South Studies (AGSS); the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA); the Latin American Studies Association (LASA); the African Studies Research Forum (ASRF); and the American Association for Chinese Studies (AACS).

Contact Info: 

Department of History and Political Science

Alabama State University

915 S. Jackson Street

Montgomery, AL 36103

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