Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World
Friday, 16 May 2014 from 13:00 to 14:30 (BST)
Governance Project Seminar Series 2014
Seminar 2 - Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World
Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
David Taylor, Director, AKU-ISMC, London, UK
Since the Arab Spring, Arab states have become the new front line in the struggle for democratisation and for open societies. As the experience of other regions has shown, one of the most significant challenges facing democratisation relates to minority rights. In this lecture, Will Kymlicka will discuss his new co-edited volume titled Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World (Oxford UP, 2014) which explores how minority claims are framed and debated in the region, and in particular, how political actors draw upon, re-interpret, or resist both the new global discourses of minority rights and more local traditions and practices of co-existence. A range of pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial factors will be examined that shape contemporary minority politics in the Arab world, and that encumber the reception of international norms of multiculturalism. These factors include the contested legacies of Islamic doctrines of the `dhimmi' and the Ottoman millet system, colonial-era divide and rule strategies, and post-colonial Arab nation-building. While these legacies complicate struggles for minority rights, they do not entail an `Arab exceptionalism' to global trends to multiculturalism. A number of openings will be explored for new, more pluralistic conceptions of nationhood and citizenship, which suggest that minority politics at its best can serve as a vehicle for a more general transformative politics, supporting a broader culture of democracy and human rights, and challenging older authoritarian, clientalistic, or patriarchal political tendencies.
When & Where
Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations
AKU-ISMC provides a multifaceted approach to the study of Muslim civilisations - within a framework of world cultures and through the humanities and social sciences - allowing for a wider analytical and comparative perspective. This approach is reflected in a post-graduate master's programme, professional programmes and through quality research and publications. It is reinforced by a unique bibliographical project, the Muslim Civilisations Abstracts.