Religious Minorities and Democracy in Southeast Asia: New Trajectories and New Approaches

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Abstract

Newly emerging democracies in Southeast Asia have grappled with the deep-seated questions and predicaments that pertain to the legal status and living conditions of religious minority communities. This panel seeks to explore the causes, processes, and consequences of various ways in which a respective regime – both secular and religious authorities – attempt to exclude and/or include religious minorities in the context of political transition and social transformation. The primary country cases to be examined include: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Singapore. Through anthropological, historical and political analysis, the case studies intend to offer not only new empirical findings from the region, but also new analytical approaches, methods, and theories to gain a deeper understanding of the broad questions of minority and civil rights, nation-building, and democracy and religion.