KITA Discourse Series 03/2018: Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism and Rising Islamophobia in Sri Lanka, 14 May 2018

On 14 May 2018 (Monday), KITA Discourse Series No. 3/2018 was held with the following particulars:

Title: Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism and Rising Islamophobia in Sri Lanka
Speaker: Neil DeVotta, Politics and International Affairs,Wake Forest University
Venue: KITA Meeting Room

Abstract: 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.

About the Speaker: 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.