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Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities

Neither Settler Nor Native

The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities

(Harvard University Press, 2020)

Mahmood Mamdani

(Political Science, Columbia University)

In case after case around the globe―from Israel to Sudan―the colonial state and the nation-state have been constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority. The model emerged in America, where genocide and internment on reservations created a permanent native minority. In Europe, this template would be used both by the Nazis and the Allies. Neither Settler nor Native offers a vision for arresting this process. Mahmood Mamdani points to inherent limitations in the legal solution attempted at Nuremberg. Political violence demands political solutions: not criminal justice but a rethinking of the political community to include victims and perpetrators, bystanders and beneficiaries. Making the radical argument that the nation-state was born of colonialism, he calls on us to delink the nation from the state so as to ensure equal political rights for all who live within its boundaries.


Craig Calhoun

(Sociology, Arizona State University)

Linford Fisher 

(History, Brown University)

Nandita Sharma

(Sociology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)


Friday, September 29, 2023

10 am to 12 pm CST