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Introducing a Minority Institutions Database at a Time of Increasing Nationalism, Migration, and Conflict

March 20, 2023 @ 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

The Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs invites you on Monday, March 20 from 1:00 until 2:00 pm to a hybrid event on “Introducing a Minority Institutions Database at a Time of Increasing Nationalism, Migration, and Conflict.” The event will feature as speakers Zsuzsa Csergő, Professor of Political Studies at Queen’s University and Olga Talal Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity at Queen’s University and will be moderated by Harris Mylonas, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University.

For those wishing to attend in person, the event will take place at the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Lindner Commons Room 602 located at 1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC. To join the event on line please click here.

Large numbers of people around the world live as persistent ethnic minorities in states where dominant groups pursue majoritarian nation-building. In such environments, members of minority populations pursuing distinct cultural, linguistic, religious, or other interests do so from a structurally disadvantaged position as they navigate majoritarian institutions in the design of which they have little say. Global migration induced by conflicts, environmental changes, and economic crises is likely to make this “minority condition” even more prevalent. Presently, we have insufficient comparative knowledge about how members of persistent minority populations fare in such environments and how they pursue various forms of agency (individually and collectively) to improve their lives. Although a rich body of theoretical and empirical scholarship has explored the tensions between majoritarian nation-building and ethnic minority populations, there is a lack of a minority-centered comparative understanding of who minority actors are, what common goals they are after, and how they pursue them. We introduce a novel comparative database about ethnic minority life encompassing individual- and group-level indicators of institutional access, participation, and agency across various public domains. We present data on six minorities from five majoritarian Central and Eastern European states, but the database is designed to accommodate comparative data about minorities in other regions.

Zsuzsa Csergő is Professor of Political Studies at Queen’s University, Canada. Her work contributes to the understanding of nationalism and interethnic conflict in non-violent contexts. She is the author of Talk of the Nation: Language and Conflict in Romania and Slovakia (Cornell University Press, 2007) and is currently writing a book about the sources of minority democratic agency in majoritarian states, based on comparative research on six linguistic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe (Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia, Poles in Lithuania, and Russophones in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). Her articles about nationalism, majority-minority relations, kin-state politics, and minority democratic agency in the EU context have appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Foreign Policy, Publius, Nations and Nationalism, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, East European Politics and Societies, and other venues. She was President of the Association for the Study of Nationalism (ASN) from 2013-2020 and has been Director of “Virtual ASN” since 2020.

Olga Talal is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity at Queen’s University, Canada. Her research examines how states regulate ethnic diversity and provide public goods to ethnic minorities. She integrates comparative nationalism studies and public administration approaches focusing on institutions, parliamentary politics, bureaucratic politics, and policy-making. Currently, she is collaborating on an innovative comparative database on ethnic minority institutions in majoritarian states in Central and Eastern Europe. Dr. Talal is a founding member of the Russian and East European Studies Network (REES) at Queen’s University and a research associate on a collaborative research project on ethnic minorities in diverse states: “Divided Cities” (Queen’s-McGill). Dr. Talal’s research has appeared in Comparative Political Studies and Politics & Policy journals.

Harris Mylonas is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University and editor-in-chief of Nationalities Papers. He is a the author of The Politics of Nation-Building(Cambridge University Press, 2012), and co-editor of Enemies Within: Fifth Column Politics in Comparative Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2022; w/ Scott Radnitz) and The Microfoundations of Diaspora Politics (Routledge, 2022; w/ Alexandra Délano Alonso). Mylonas has co-authored Varieties of Nationalism: Communities, Narratives, Identities (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press; w/ Maya Tudor) and is working on another single-authored book tentatively entitled Diaspora Management Logics. His work has also been published in the Annual Review of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Security Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Territory, Politics, Governance, Nations and Nationalism, Social Science Quarterly, Nationalities Papers, Ethnopolitics, as well as various edited volumes.

This event is on the record and open to the media. Please RSVP here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5afMNUcz1V3mgX-VOTNWwlCLUBDRYQTkCH9OqcbRdLijBIQ/viewform