Ilandari Dewa, Geethika Dharmasinghe: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

College of Arts and Sciences
Asian Studies
Project Title: 
Militant Buddhism and Attacks on Muslims: a comparative study between Sri Lanka and Burma
Project Abstract: 
Xenophobic populist politics are on the rise in both the global North and South. Vocally and physically violent movements against Muslims in Sri Lanka and Burma, two Buddhist majority countries, are examples of how this nationalist populism presents itself to the rest of the world. Further, while these groups are often against free trade agreements, they largely support privatizing education and health care that are currently promoted by the neoliberal state. Although it is the contemporary state that has contributed to neoliberal globalisation, these groups still appeal to the state power to address their populist grievances. By investigating the dynamics of xenophobic discourses and their dissemination as well as how the new nationalist Buddhism relates to national and transnational developments, this study explores contradictions of, and the relationship between the neoliberal state and militant Buddhist populist politics in Sri Lanka, as well as, for comparative purposes, in Burma.