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Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA)

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KITA Discourse Series No. 3/2018: Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism and Rising Islamophobia in Sri Lanka

May 14, 2018 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Title: Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism and Rising Islamophobia in Sri Lanka

Tentative Programme:

  • 10.15am – 10.30am: Registration
  • 10.30am – 10.40am: Welcoming Remarks by Md Khaldun Munip Abd Malek, Senior Fellow, KITA
  • 10.40am – 11.15am: Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism and Rising Islamophobia in Sri Lanka by Neil DeVotta
  • 11.15am – 12.00pm: Q & A and End

Sri Lanka’s civil war was rooted in Sinhalese Buddhist majoritarianism and lasted from 1983 to 2009. Post-civil war, Buddhism has gone from being a privileged religion in Sri Lanka to a hegemonic religion. If the ethnic conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam calcified Sinhalese Buddhist sensibilities, the comprehensive victory over the group has emboldened Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists who are now more emboldened than ever. The presentation will discuss how the nationalist ideology undergirding Sinhalese Buddhist majoritarianism has exacerbated religious intolerance especially towards the island’s Muslims (and Christian Evangelicals) and what this means for both the island its Muslim community going forward.

Presenter's Profile

Neil DeVotta is a Professor in Politics and International Affairs at the Wake Forest University. His research interests include South Asian security and politics, ethnoreligious nationalism, ethnic conflict resolution, and democratic transition and consolidation. He is the author of Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka and editor of An Introduction to South Asian Politics, among other publications.


May 14, 2018
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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KITA Meeting Room
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
Bangi, Selangor 43600 Malaysia


Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA)
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