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AAS 2016 Print Program
Session Submission Type: Organized Panel
A recent surge of violence against religious minority communities across Southeast Asia raises a number of important questions about the role of religion in nationalism, identity formation and democratic transitions. Despite significant scholarly contributions made by Southeast Asianists to the studies of nationalism (e.g., Anderson 1983; Kahin 1953), the role of religion in nationalism and nation-building in deeply divided Southeast Asian societies has still been largely neglected. This cross-national comparative panel invites four area/country experts to draw upon their first-hand empirical research, innovative data, and archival sources in respective countries and regions to explore the theoretical questions of religion, nationalism, and identity formation in order to fill this gap.
The panel is organized along geographic localities to address three broad themes: (1) elite efforts and constitutional frameworks in managing deep religious divisions (Shah on Indonesia and Malaysia); (2) the political mobilization of religious identity to sustain or oppose an incumbent regime and its effect on nationalism (Selway on Thailand; Walton on Burma); and (3) the political origin and effects of secular and religious nationalism in emerging democracies (Hamayotsu on cross-religion case studies). Collectively and comparatively, we seek to look into historical legacies, institutional frameworks, and political mobilization of religious identity and symbols in emerging Southeast Asian democracies to gain a better understanding of the role of religion in nation-building and inter-communal relations.
The Politics of Constitutionalizing Religion and Religious Freedom: Paths and Outcomes in Indonesia and Malaysia - Dian A. H. Shah, National University of Singapore
Religious Rhetoric and Symbolism in Myanmar’s 2015 Elections - Matthew J. Walton, University of Oxford
The Effect of Religion and Nationalism on the Politicization of Regional Identity in Northern Thailand - Joel Selway, Brigham Young University
Religion, Nationalism and Regime Formation in Divided Societies: Comparative Cases in Southeast Asia - Kikue Hamayotsu, Northern Illinois University