Call for Submissions: On Populism, Imperialism, and Nationalism in Southeast Asia

Balangiga Press Manila 04

Mouffe on For a Left Populism (2018) calls the rise of the far-right in Western Europe as a ‘populist moment’, the crisis of neo-liberalism’s encroachment of liberal democracy since the Thatcherite Britain in the 80’s. The ‘populist moment’ is both a threat and an opportunity for the Left and other progressive groups: a threat to democracy and an opportunity to build a hegemonic political front to reverse status quo. In several countries outside Western Europe, the ‘populist moment’ creative regimes that lead to the massive destruction of forests and ancestral lands of the various indigenous peoples, deaths due to extra-judicial killings, and debt traps for several emerging economies. The success of ERPs (extreme right parties) in Europe since the mid-80’s to present and the rise of populist leaders such as Bolsonaro and Duterte in Brazil and the Philippines, respectively, invite a thorough discussions on populism, on the failure of liberal democracy, and future of democratic institutions outside and within liberal democratic regimes.

Colonialism has ended officially after World War II when Western imperial powers released their colonies across the globe from the bondage of colonial capitalist system. Nation-states were born since then and when USSR collapsed in the late 80’s, a post-Cold War world designed the international political arena: ethnic and nationalist tensions across the globe that created or dissolved nation-states, economies collapsed due to sanctions and unequal access to capital for the developing countries in the disadvantaged position in the competition, the continuous widening of gaps between the rich and poor, and the crises brought by migration and refugees. Is imperialism a thing of the past? Or it reinvented itself so domination and subjugation are now are attuned with the demands of the ‘globalized’ world?

Southeast Asia is a region of various nations that are not necessarily nation-states, and boundaries between nation-states are porous and overlapping. The region is also the site of violent and protracted ethnic conflicts and nationalist tensions. Ethnic identities are sometimes in conflict with the more dominant civic nationalism within a nation-state. Ethnosymbolist School of nationalism will argue that national identity was present in the region even before the 19th century; the Modernist School on the other hand will locate the birth of nationalism at the end of the colonial period and on the ride if independent Southeast Asian nation-states in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, postcolonial discourses, coming from the post-structuralist tradition, would argue that identities, histories, narratives of struggles, even the ‘homeland’ are power structures of negotiated spaces, site for/of resistance against the Empire.  Can we talk about nationalism in Southeast Asia outside the nation-building project of the dominant economic and political elites and within the class analysis and in the society’s way of material production and consumption? What are limits of the dominant schools of nationalism when Southeast Asia is the object of discourse and analysis?

On its inaugural issue, Balangiga Press Manila is inviting scholars, critics, students, activists, cultural workers, and writers to join the critical conversations and debates on populism and imperialism across the globe and on nationalism in Southeast Asia. Balangiga Press is an independent and small press based in Manila, the Philippines. Balangiga Press Manila is open for creative works, academic papers, and feature articles that navigate around populism, imperialism, and nationalism in Southeast Asia. We welcome texts in English and in other major languages in Southeast Asia. The deadline is extended on the 5th of April 2019.

Read here for the submission guidelines.

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