Presidential Plenary: Resurgent Ethnonationalism: The Politics of Purity in a World of Difference
Monday, April 6, 6:05-7:25 pm; Grand Ballroom 1, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level, Sheraton
This special plenary panel on Resurgent Ethnonationalism: The Politics of Purity in a World of Difference describes and analyzes new political movements based around more exclusive forms of national identity. Nationalism relies on the conception of a shared community, even if that community is fictional. There must be something that binds together a group of strangers. Often characteristics such as language, or religion, or a shared heritage apply, but there are many instances where a self-described nation includes members who do not easily fit into the boxes.
Ethnonationalism is tied to a nationalist political project that perceives a nation along ethnic lines. Ethnonationalists insist that the nation has an impermeable “cultural” identity (as defined by the ethnonationalist) and those outside of this identity can completely assimilate, leave, or suffer a decline in rights. Ethnonationalism animates politics in many countries. India contains a form of strident Hindu nationalism that is antagonistic to Muslims, Sikhs, and others who are considered outsiders. China has clamped down on its Muslim Uighur population in Xinjiang. In European societies, ethnonationalism has emerged as a key organizing principle among many right-wing populist parties. The exclusionary far-right movements in the United States today have a long provenance, from the anti-Catholic “Know Nothing” party of the mid-nineteenth century to the anti-black and anti-Semitic Ku Klux Klan established in the early twentieth century.
Panelists, all of them engaged public scholars, will participate in a conversation regarding ethnonationalism around the world. We will discuss how ethnonationalism manifests itself in different societies, whether it can coexist with civil society and cultural diversity, points of comparison and contrast among ethnonationalist movements, how ethnonationalism is expressed in attitudes and policies, and the future of this trend. This timely topic will also be represented by numerous sessions at the Conference under the theme of Ethnonationalism and Exclusion.
Introductions and moderation:
David H. Kaplan
Liah Greenfeld, University Professor at Boston Univ. She has a long record of work on the history of nationalism. Authors several books including the groundbreaking Nationalism: The Five Roads to Modernity.
Kenan Malik, Public intellectual and essayist in the UK. He has written widely on multiculturalism, race, immigration and identity, primarily in the UK context. Columnist for the Observer. Several books including Multiculturalism and its Discontents.
Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Sociology and Education at American University. Her interest is primarily in far-right extremism, especially in Germany. Author of several books, including Blood and Culture: Youth, Right-Wing Extremism, and National Belonging in Contemporary Germany.
Andreas Wimmer, Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. He has expertise in race, ethnicity, and nation-building. Author of several books, including Ethnic Boundary Making.
Caroline Nagel, Professor of Geography at University of South Carolina. She has written on immigration, transnationalism, multiculturalism and Islamophobia. Several articles on these topic in Space and Polity, Ethnic and Racial Studies>, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.