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Migration Working Group – Scholars of Excellence Edition: Multiculturalism at a crossroads

May 30, 2023
10:00 AM EDT - 4:45 PM EDT
Hybrid (In person at CERC Migration office / online via Zoom)
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The Migration Working Group is a series of monthly sessions to discuss innovative research being done on migration and integration by emerging and established scholars. The series gives researchers an opportunity to present their ongoing projects, learn about each other’s work and share feedback.

In spring 2023, our visiting Scholars of Excellence will lead workshops. This workshop is co-convened by Gurpreet Mahajan, formerly Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Anna Triandafyllidou, Chair CERC Migration.

Diversity remains a social fact and an unavoidable feature of the globalized world. Yet, multiculturalism is under attack almost everywhere. Some allude to the ‘crisis’ of multiculturalism and many more to its ‘failure’: failure to deal with the issue of immigration and the questions it poses; failure to protect a national way of life; failure to speak for all citizens. In recent times, populist rhetoric has appropriated the conceptual language of recognition and protection for a cultural way of life, only to subvert the multicultural agenda of inclusion and accommodation.

Under attack from multiple sites, multiculturalism today stands at the crossroads. Its future, and more appropriately, the future of progressive and inclusive democratic politics, depends upon its ability to overcome the divide  between the majority and the minorities created by populist regimes. The question is: Does multiculturalism have a language to address the anxieties of the minorities and the majority community? Can it make a legitimate distinction between the vulnerabilities faced by minorities and the concerns of the majority? Can it offer an alternative idea of civic integration and a common way of life? Do we need a conceptual language that can mediate the idea of recognition with dialogue between cultures, between the majority and the minorities, and between the minorities?

Workshop Agenda
10-10:30 AM EDT Welcome reception
10:30 AM EDT Welcome: Gurpreet Mahajan formerly Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Anna Triandafyllidou, CERC Migration, Toronto Metropolitan University
10:40 AM-1:00 PM EDT

Panel 1: Competing claims and the (im)possibility of multiculturalism in the era of globalization 

Chair: Gurpreet Mahajan

  • Why minority protections are not privileges: on minority rights, equal citizenship and immigrant ‘integration’ | Tamar de Waal, University of Amsterdam  (PDF file) Abstract
  • The status of foundational cultures in political thought on diversity | Geoffrey Brahm Levey, University of New South Wales  (PDF file) Abstract
  • Multiculturalism and transnationalism Riva Kastoryano, Research Director, CNRS  (PDF file) Abstract
  • The questionable empirical and political-normative basis of superdiversity | Jan Willem Duyvendak, University of Amsterdam  (PDF file) Abstract
1:00-2:00 PM EDT Lunch break
2:00-4:30 PM EDT

Panel 2: Political polarisation and multicultural responses

Chair: Anna Triandafyllidou

  • Can multiculturalism contribute to de-polarising the current political polarisation? | Tariq Modood, University of Bristol  (PDF file) Abstract
  • The politics of difference in the United States | Jeff Spinner-Halev, University of North Carolina  (PDF file) Abstract
  • Multiculturalism as an Integrative Process | Avigail Eisenberg, University of Victoria  (PDF file) Abstract
  • Multicultural values’? Equality, diversity and inclusion | Lori Beaman, University of Ottawa  (PDF file) Abstract
4:30-4:45 PM EDT Reflections and concluding remarks