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CISSM Global Forum | The Lies that Bind Us: Right-Wing Nationalism and History Education

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Dr. Ahsan Butt

Ahsan I. Butt is an Associate Professor of International Relations at George Mason University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Registration for this event is not required but is appreciated (for planning purposes). 

Event Description

This book project, currently in progress, examines the politics of history education in primary schools in South Asia, Latin America, and North America. The book's main focus is explaining nationalist narratives, or the lack thereof, in history textbooks. It explores the structural and proximate causes of right-wing nationalist "takeovers" of history education and traces how such actors change the direction of historical narratives on each of boundaries of membership (which define in-groups and out-groups), boundaries of space (which define territory and borders), and boundaries of time (which define eras and dates). In this talk, I will share some preliminary findings from fieldwork in, and text analysis of history textbooks from, South Asia and South America.

Speaker Bio

Ahsan I. Butt is an Associate Professor of International Relations at George Mason University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. His main interests lie in nationalism, political violence, climate change, and South Asia. His first book, Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy Against Separatists, was published by Cornell University Press in 2017 and won the 2019 International Studies Association award for best book in international security studies. His writing has appeared in journals such as International Organization, Journal of Global Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Politics and Religion, and Security Studies, as well as popular outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, the National Interest, Foreign Policy, and the Diplomat. His research has received generous support from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Mellon Foundation, the Stanton Foundation, and the United States Institute of Peace. He is currently writing his second book, which focuses on the construction of nationalism in schools and in history textbooks.

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