Populism, Nationalism, and Global Nativist Movements in the Long 20th Century

AHA Session 258
Saturday, January 6, 2018: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Columbia 8 (Washington Hilton, Terrace Level)
David C. Atkinson, Purdue University
David C. Atkinson, Purdue University

Session Abstract

In light of Britain’s exit vote from the European Union; the increasing popularity of the French Front National; and, most recently, the U.S’s presidential election, this panel seeks to historicize the global upsurge of nationalism, right-wing populism, and what the feminist scholar Nancy Fraser recently described” in the aftermath of the election as a “rejection of globalization.” Focusing on the long twentieth-century, the four papers in this panel attempt to understand the modus operandi of some major populist, nativist, and nationalist movements in Vietnam, Japan, Morocco, and the United States. First, they aim to deconstruct the often entangled and contested politics of nationalism, race, ethnicity, and citizenship in order to identify the global patterns of these movements as well as their peculiar historical developments. Second, the papers will explore the various historical circumstances—anti-colonialism, economic turmoil, wartime mobilization, and immigration crises—that fostered nativist and nationalist sentiments. They reveal how the states and their various agents engaged with different exclusionary projects via national debates, discursive political tropes, and policy implementations. In so doing, they will investigate the relationship between political, economic, and religious governance and the construction of racial/social/legal categories that attempted to reconfigure the hierarchies of race to scapegoat minorities, assert notions of racial superiority, and disadvantage one group over another. Third, the papers discuss the consequences of nativist movements and their implications for the socio-political landscapes in each of these localities. They articulate the vigorous resonance of histories with contemporary politics, especially with regard to the recent rise of xenophobia, ethnic antagonism, and anti-immigration policies. Fourth and finally, in the momentum of the transnational and global turns, the papers in this panel endeavor to initiate a conversation not only among regional specialists but also world/transnational historians on the possibility of writing a comparative and global history of nativism by traversing beyond Euro-American examples. By putting the papers in dialogue with one another, the panel will demonstrate how such undertaking will be crucial for enriching our understandings of nativist and nationalist politics and for developing an overarching methodological framework to grapple with the complex histories of such geographically diverse movements.
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