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Lunch lecture by Tom Pepinsky: “Migrants, Minorities, and Populism in Asia”
February 21, 2020 - 12:00-13:30
Populists in East and Southeast Asia generally refrain from invoking anti-migrant and anti-minority sentiments as part of their mobilizational strategies. This differentiates them from “exclusionary” populists in Europe, even though many Southeast Asian countries are diverse societies with long histories of migration and ethnic chauvinism. Because the categories of peoplehood that were set alongside the onset of mass politics at independence remain salient today, they constrain contemporary Asian populists’ rhetorical and mobilizational strategies—even in Southeast Asia’s diverse societies. The Asian experience reveals the importance of historical sequence in nationalist mobilization and mass incorporation in shaping popular identity, citizenship, and membership in contemporary populism.
Thomas Pepinsky is Professor of Government and Director of the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University, and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He specializes in Southeast Asian politics, and his current research focuses on the political economy of identity, in Southeast Asia and beyond.