SEN News on Sunday: August 11 – 18, 2013

i love pakistan

  • The National (18/08/13) reports on Tunisian patriotism amid the on-going crisis in the Middle East and the country’s political scene.
  • Women’s News Network (15/08/13) features a commentary by Suheir Azzouni, a Palestinian Muslim woman living in France, who provides insight into her own experiences with exile from her homeland.
  • NY Times (13/08/13) reports on the 1947 Partition Archive, a project which seeks to record stories and memories of people who lived during the 1947 partition of India.  August 15 marked India’s Independence from the United Kingdom, as simultaneously its partition from Pakistan.
  • Global Post (13/08/13) features a photo essay of celebrations of Pakistan’s Independence day, held on August 14, 2013, through Instagram photos.
  • (13/08/13) reports on a new demographic map of the United States, which charts the entire ethnic distribution of the country, person by person.
  • Al Jazeera (13/08/13) reports on the recent crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the United Kingdom, which some have condemned as racist.
  • The Telegraph (12/08/13) blogs about a new study which suggests the growing political significance of the ethnic minority vote in the U.K.


Stay tuned for SEN Article Spotlights, which will be posted later in the week.

News compiled by Karen Seegobin.

If you would like to write a response to any of these news stories, please email us at

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East to East: Czech to Indian Nationalism

articlespotlight Yet again we have selected some articles for you which speak to the news from last week’s news bites.

 Developing an Effective Romani Integration Strategy: Experiences of Ethnoculturally Neutral and Specific Policies in the Czech Republic Volume 8, Issue 3, pages 595–618, December 2008

While the question of how to integrate Romani communities has increased in political significance since the 1990s, a consensus has yet to be reached on how best to design integration policies for such a heterogeneous group of people. This article examines debates on whether ethnoculturally specific or neutral policies are more appropriate. Using the Czech Romani integration policy as a case study, it identifies as a significant problem the conflation of the Romani ethnic identity with the low socio-economic status of many (but not all) Roma. This has led to a policy focus on programmes to tackle social deprivation rather than addressing the discrimination which affects all Roma regardless of class. As a consequence of the decentralisation of power in the Czech Republic and the ingrained nature of anti-Romani prejudice, policies, whether ethnoculturally neutral or specific, will be implemented or rejected at the local level on the basis of local priorities.

Identities in India: Region, Nationality and Nationalism – A Theoretical Framework Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 79–93, September 2007

Given the complexity of identity in India, where ethnicity alone can only inadequately define constituent regional communities such as the Oriyas, Bengalis, Tamils and Keralites, a regional perspective provides a more useful analytical approach. In India, a territorially defined region is the most inclusive segment, which has linguistic, historical and socio-cultural connotations. Apart from the historical importance of region, it has now taken many ethnic characteristics within its ambit. While discussing the importance of ‘region’ in India, this article tries to show the weakness of an ethnic perspective in defining the identity of various language-based, but geographically confined, communities of India. The article also tries to explore how regional identities can be reconciled with a pan-Indian ideology. Perhaps in the post-modern world, this is the greatest challenge that India has to grapple with, and one that requires judicious policies and practices

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SEN News on Sunday: July 28 – August 4, 2013

A Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) activist throws stones towards police during a pro-Telangana protest in Hyderabad on June 14, 2013.

  • The Scotsman (02/08/13) provides a commentary on how nationalism can flourish without a new state, as well as on the nuances between nationalism and statism.
  • Bloomberg News (31/07/13) reports on escalations of ethnic violence in the Czech Republic between the country’s ethnic white majority and its minority Roma population.
  • BBC News (30/07/13) analyses what the formation of the new Telangana state, originally part of Andhra Pradesh in the South, means for India, while Financial Times (01/08/13) reports on how the creation of this new state has increased the calls for more states to be formed in India.
  • The Big Issue (30/07/13) features a story on Tower Hamlets in London, “the most densely packed area of religious observance in Europe,” and the lessons it offers for multiculturalism.
  • The Daily Beast (29/07/13) features a story on Derek Black, son of two prominent American white-supremacists, who has openly rejected the white supremacy movement.
  • The Atlantic (29/07/13) has written a feature on Aleksei Navalny, leading opposition candidate in Moscow’s mayoral elections, and his past nationalist positions and politics.



Stay tuned for SEN Article Spotlights, which will be posted later in the week.

News compiled by Karen Seegobin.

If you would like to write a response to any of these news stories, please email us at

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Russian and Albanian Nationalisms at the End of the 19th and Start of the 20th Centuries

articlespotlightIn today’s selection of past article we reflect on the difference a century makes to two of the nationalisms which cropped up in last week’s news: those of Russia and Albania. 

The Relevance of Kohn’s Dichotomy to the Russian Nineteenth-Century Concept of Nationalism Volume 8, Issue 3, pages 560–578, December 2008

This article challenges the common distinction between a Western and an Eastern type of nationalism with regard to Russian nationalism. Analysing the civic nationalism of the Decembrists and the cultural nationalism of the Slavophiles, it argues that the type of nationalism that appears in a specific country has more to do with timing than with place or social conditions. The article also suggests that intellectual thought should be studied in an international rather than a national context and that the world of ideas has to be granted a considerable degree of autonomy from socioeconomic conditions.

Fixing the Frontiers? Ethnography, Power Politics and the Delimitation of Albania, 1912 to 1914 Volume 5, Issue 1, pages 27–49, December 2005

The London Conference (1912–1913) of the ambassadors of the six European great powers, the Triple Entente of France, Russia and Britain, and the Triple Alliance (or Triplice) of Germany, Austria and Italy, was initially convened in an attempt to impose a settlement on the belligerents of the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 to prevent the Balkan conflict from escalating into a general European war. As part of this effort, the ambassadors had responsibility for delimitating Albanian+ boundaries. They decided to do this on the basis of ethnography, which for them meant language, specifically the mother tongue of the population or the language spoken within the family. However, the great powers were not entirely committed to these ethnic objectives and compromised them according to their own political interests, espousing ethnographical arguments only when they supported or reinforced their own strategic ones. This paper studies the socalled ‘fixing’ of Albanian frontiers during the Conference and subsequent boundary commissions. It examines the interests involved, arguments used and the problems faced. Furthermore, it discusses the reasons for the settlements. It evaluates the ethnographical basis of the frontiers established, and considers the resumption of Albanian frontier discussions during the First World War (1914–918) and at the Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920). The paper argues that the ‘fixing of Albanian frontiers’ promoted the objectives of the six European powers, as opposed to the ethnographic dimensions as professed.

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SEN News on Sunday: July 20-28, 2013

  • Russia Beyond the Headlines (28/07/13) reports on Russia’s new 28-point strategy to deal with the country’s ethnic conflict, entitled  “Strategy of the State National Policy of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025”.
  • New York Times (23/07/13) analyzes the nationalism of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in light of the landslide victory of his Liberal Democratic Party in recent parliamentary elections.

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SEN News on Sunday: July 14-21, 2013

Britain to offer military training to Burma to help end ethnic conflicts: An ethnic Rakhine man holds homemade weapons as he stands in front of a house that was burnt during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe

* BBC Radio 4 (15/07/13) features a broadcast which provides an in depth look into the historical roots and present ambitions of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

* The Asia-Pacific Journal (15/7/13) features an analysis of the re-branding of Japanese nationalism by current Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo.

* France24 (15/7/13) reports that Sri Lanka has stopped a French cultural festival in its country after it screened a local film that the military considered insulting. The film, Flying Fish, is set against the backdrop of the country’s brutal civil war, and director Sanjeewa Pushpakumara discusses his reactions to the ban with the BBC.

* Euronews (15/07/13) reports on protests in Israel claiming ethnic cleansing, following the government’s decision to relocate 30,000 Bedouins from the Negev Desert in southern Israel.

* The Telegraph (14/7/13) reports that the United Kingdom has offered Burma (Myanmar) military training as a way of helping the country develop a more democratic system and resolve ethnic tensions.

* (11/07/13) featured a blog last week which argued against popular science writer Malcom Gladwell’s “ethnic theory of plane crashes” that connected Korean culture to plane crashes, which was elaborated on in his best-selling book, Outliers : The story of success. In response, Gladwell offered his retort to the blog, which can be read here.


Stay tuned for SEN Article Spotlights, which will be posted later in the week.

News compiled by Karen Seegobin.

If you would like to write a response to any of these news stories, please email us at

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From South Sudan to Narratives of the War in Bosnia-Herzegovina

articlespotlightIn our new mid-week tradition, we’ve selected some articles from the journal’s past issues which speak to last week’s news highlights.

Language and Conflict: The Political History of Arabisation in Sudan and Algeria:  Volume 12, Issue 3, pages 427–449, December 2012

Upon decolonisation, nationalist leaders in two North African countries, Algeria and Sudan, promoted a policy called Arabisation (ta’rib), which sought to impose standard literary Arabic at the expense of English (in Sudan), French (in Algeria), and other local languages (in both places). This language policy reflected the worldview of Muslim leaders, who hoped to break from the colonial past and start afresh while forging alliances with Arab Islamic states. Arabisation succeeded in expanding the use of literary Arabic in Sudanese and Algerian government bureaus as well as in schools and universities. However, in some circles it helped to stimulate oppositional identities that rejected pan-Arabism as a focal point for national pride and that challenged the cultural foundations of national cohesion. Taking a comparative approach, this study argues that Arabic language policy in Algeria and Sudan featured strongly in postcolonial nationalism and civil conflict. It concludes by considering the status of language cultures and policies today in Algeria, the Republic of the Sudan, and the newly independent Republic of South Sudan, and contends that state-led efforts at ‘language rationalisation’ have not eliminated multilingualism in practice.

Nationalism in the Classroom: Narratives of the War in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992–1995) in the History Textbooks of the Republic of Srpska: Volume 6, Issue 3, pages 51–72, December 2006

The article considers the problem of the representation of the last war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992–1995) in the history textbooks of the Republic of Srpska (Serb Republic)-one of the entities in the country.* The analysed textbooks are deliberately used as one of the most important instruments for the formation of national identity. Scholars generally agree that history lessons are in fact lessons in patriotism and that nation-states use history to form the national identity of students and guarantee loyalty to the nation and state. While contemporary Bosnia-Herzegovina supports this view, it must simultaneously be seen as a slightly peculiar case. The textbooks used in Bosnia-Herzegovina promote separate, exclusive national identities: the Bosniac, Croatian and Serbian. This to a large extent explains why we are not witnessing the formation of a unified nation-state, but its slow disintegration. The existence of Bosnia-Herzegovinian culture and identity is intentionally neglected and denied. Serbian narratives about the war clearly show that strong aspiration for unification with the neighbouring Serbia still exists. This idea has proved to be dangerous in the past and might lead to a new tragic episode in Bosnia-Herzegovinian history.

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SEN News on Sunday: July 7-14, 2013

South Sudan6

  • Oman Tribune (13/7/12) reports on the fighting in South Sudan, which could spiral into “outright sectarian conflict”.
  • The Diplomat (12/7/13) provides an insightful analysis on the causes of the recent spates of violence and protests by China’s ethnic Muslim population, and how it relates to the country’s economic expansion and increase in global power.

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From Ethnic Dynamics in China onto Kosovar Gender Equality and Peace Building

Following the news bites on Sunday, here at SEN, we’ve selected some articles from the journal’s past issues which speak to last week’s news highlights. 

articlespotlightThe Coherent Force of Struggle and Diversity in Chinese Nationalism: Volume 2, Issue 1, pages 2–10, March 2002 This article explores how various forms of identity are constructed within a limited range of parameters such as culture and race. I focus on how conceptions of the nation-state, ethnic groups, races, classes, regions, East and West are constructed in Chinese academic theory and in meetings of scholars of various political and academic background.

Reconfigurations in the Discourse of Nationalism and National Identity: Turkey at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century:  Volume 9, Issue 3, pages 359–376, December 2009 Throughout recent decades, the processes of globalisation and Europeanisation have been influential in Turkey, bringing various changes to the economic, cultural and political spheres. Within the context of these processes, this article analyses the changes and continuities in the discourse of nationalism and national identity in Turkey through their reflections on school textbooks and curricula. On the one hand, the globalisation process has brought calls for democratisation, as well as citizenship and identity claims, from the societal actors in Turkey. On the other hand, it has given rise to concerns about preserving the status quo, which have then been channelled into the language of nationalism. The Europeanisation process has also fed these projects and discourses. Its effects, in moments of close interrelations between Turkey and the European Union, have consisted of bringing positive reinforcements for the decoupling of security concerns and nationalism, the formation of a new and democratic understanding of citizenship and the realisation of ambitions for democratisation in Turkey; however, in other times, backlashes have occurred.

Interview with Dr Muhamet Hamiti, Charge d’Affaires of the Republic of Kosovo to the UK:  Volume 9, Issue 2,  pages 333–342, September 2009 Dr Hamiti is the first diplomat of the Republic of Kosovo to serve in the UK since Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008.1In an exclusive interview with SEN’s Vivian Ibrahim, he discusses the years preceding Kosovo’s independence, its nine years of United Nations administration and the euphoria that has existed since last year. Dr Hamiti also provides an insight into present-day relations with Kosovo’s immediate neighbours, the European Union and the UK. He concludes by discussing his role since undertaking his diplomatic post in October 2008.

From Rhetoric to Reality: A Critical Analysis of the National Action Plan for the Achievement of Gender Equality in Kosovo:  Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 49–69, April 2009 This paper provides an overview of the current situation of Kosovo using a gendered perspective to highlight the challenges posed to the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Achievement of Gender Equality in Kosovo (NAP). The NAP arose through collaboration between the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the Kosovan women’s movement and as such reflects both local and international gender knowledge and expertise. However, the current socio-political climate in Kosovo and its history of ethnic/religious conflict create significant difficulties that hinder the implementation of the NAP throughout all sections of society, and the subsequent achievement of gender equality. With this in mind, a contextualised assessment and discussion of the NAP is presented using feminist theory. Central to this is the recommendation that the incorporation of concrete steps stipulating how to achieve certain NAP objectives would contribute towards the successful achievement of gender equality in Kosovo.

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SEN News on Sunday: July 2 – 7, 2013

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  • The Economist (6/7/13) reports on the increase in outbreaks of ethnic violence in China’s Xinjiang region.
  • Migration Source (June 2013) features an article which provides an overview of migration and demographic changes in Central and Eastern Europe from the 1990s to present, and also examines attitudes toward diasporas and development.
  • (4/7/13) reports on the discouraging state of discussions concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process.
  • (3/7/13) reports on fears that an independent Scotland may lead to the rise of a “narrow and inward-looking” English nationalism.
  • (4/7/13) reports on the United States’ national independence day, held on July 4th, and features a radio broadcast on what independence means for the average American.
  • The Independent (2/7/13) features an article arguing that a child’s ethnicity should be taken into consideration when matching them to adoptive parents.
  • BBC (2/7/13) features an article on identity-building in Kosovo and resolving ethnic conflict in the Balkan region, and highlights the experiences of one woman whose life story mirrors the fractured history of the country.

Stay tuned for SEN Article Spotlights, which will be posted later in the week.

News compiled by Karen Seegobin.

If you would like to write a response to any of these news stories, please email us at

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