Global Dynamics of Culturalized Conflict in Southeast Asia: Postcards from Eurabia

Graham Brown, 2012 Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University

RSVP Required by May 14 at 5PM

In popular discourse, variations on Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis have cited cultural differences to explain conflicts ranging from Hindu-Muslim violence in India to the Rwandan genocide. Few scholars take these accounts seriously. Culture differences are multiple and ubiquitous. Were they sufficient causes of conflict, the world would have undergone far more inter-group violence than has in fact occurred. Social scientists have instead focused on a far wider range of reasons, including skewed distributions of material resources and the political mobilization of group identities by rival elites.

Yet those who are involved in or affected by such conflicts often describe or explain them in cultural terms, and this affects how the conflicts evolve. The empirical divisions expressed by a supposedly “ethnic” conflict can also change, as can the material issues involved, such that whatever first led to the conflict may no longer be relevant. In this process, global and local fears and narratives can intersect. Drawing on quantitative evidence and case studies from Southeast Asia, Graham K. Brown will explore how and why these shifts occur.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor

Shorenstein APARC