Prof. Arun Kundnani analyzes the relationship between Western imperialism and Muslim culture and the perception of extremism.

Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer

Prof. Arun Kundnani analyzes the relationship between Western imperialism and Muslim culture and the perception of extremism.

September 10, 2017

Panel Discusses Causes of Rising Global Xenophobia

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Months after Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and the election of President Donald Trump, guest lecturers from around the world discussed explanations for the global rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia and the proliferation of racial discourse in the United States during a symposium on Friday.

Hosted by the Minority, Indigenous and Third World Studies Research Group, the event included short presentations by international scholars on racial politics in the United Kingdom, Italy and India.

Contemporary attitudes toward Muslim culture and the perception of extremism are products of Western imperialism, said Prof. Arun Kundnani, media, culture and communication, New York University.

The imperialist lens is not limited to foreign or domestic Islamophobic policy but plays a role in shaping progressive calls to integrate Muslim culture into Western society, Kundnani said.

Prof. Miguel Mollino, University of Naples, focused on understanding the nuances of racism engendered by local pride in Italy to emphasize the overlooked complexities in issues regarding islamophobia and xenophobia.

Italy’s lack of self-awareness has made it difficult for the country to address pressing issues regarding treatment and abuse of European refugees and migrants, Mollino explained.

“[It is] difficult to struggle against [racial issues] when you cannot name things by what they are,” he said.

Prof. Priyamvada Gopal, English, University of Cambridge, spoke about the predictive power of comparative politics, alluding to several salient similarities between Indian and American politics.

Gopal drew comparisons to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion of “Hindu supremacy” and “white supremacy” and Modi and Trump’s rise to power through a majoritarian wave.

Trump and Modi’s rhetoric of economic inequality, identity politics, targeting of journalists and chauvinism share similarities, she said.

Gopal concluded her lecture urging people to resist and confront the rising islamophobia and xenophobia by reciting a verse by Turkish poet Nâzım Hikmet.

“Being captured is beside the point, the point is not to surrender,” she quoted.

  • George Glass

    Strange how Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh are celebrated for their efforts to expel Whites from India and Vietnam and achieve national autonomy while White nations are told they aren’t allowed to be White anymore. Kind of a double standard don’t you think?

    India for the Indians, Vietnam for the Vietnamese, White nations for EVERYONE. Come on in, the water’s fine!

  • George Glass

    Prof. Priyamvada Gopal, English, University of Cambridge LOL

    Funny how on the Cornell Sun’s website an Asian author laments how Americanized the food at a Chinese restaurant in Ithaca tastes to her palate.

    So it’s totally alright for yellow and brown people to complain about cultural appropriation but not the other way around? If Americans can’t make a sound “jianbing,” I doubt Priyamvada can truly appreciate the nuances of classic English literature like Shakespeare or Chaucer.

  • George Glass

    “Gopal concluded her lecture urging people to resist and confront the
    rising islamophobia and xenophobia”

    Didn’t India expel several millions of Muslims to Pakistan in 1947???

  • Pingback: Cornell University panel: Rise in global xenophobia due to Western imperialism, Trump - The College Fix()

  • Arafat

    Islamophobia? Does this mean fear of people (Muslims) who have been waging a 1,400 year long violent jihad against non-Muslims in their quest to build a worldwide caliphate in which non-Muslims are to be subjugated?

    Since Cornell is an elitist Leftist institution I know what I am writing is likely to be deleted but let’s get real. Islam spread across Asia and Africa through violent jihad. It is doing so even today, yet somehow the geniuses at Cornell cannot see this or connect the dots.

    While Muslims ethnically cleanse what little remains of the Christians in the Middle East and Northern Africa, the geniuses at Cornell prevaricate. While Muslims ethnically cleanse Buddhists and Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh the geniuses of Cornell prevaricate. While Muslims ethnically cleanse the Animists from Sudan the geniuses of Cornell look the other way.

    What me an Islamophobe? No. Not at all. I just refuse to pretend reality is a lie in an effort to be accepted by this PC Leftist institution.

  • Ezra Tank

    Why isn’t Professor Gopal over in Saudi Arabia preaching this? Where women are subjugated daily under Islam?

    Nope Professor Gopal is more concerned that we as a people want to preserve OUR culture.