Media, Migration and the Rise of Nationalism. Comparing European and Asian Experiences and Perspectives.


Across Europe and Asia, migration and the media are increasingly problematized in academic, political and popular debate and policy making. The growth of migration and digital media are unprecedented and the two increasingly affect one another in various ways. Teasing open the relationship between migration and media reveals several paradoxes. Across the world, we are witnessing the rise of nationalism motivating populist opposition as a result of the Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump and the so-called ‘European Refugee Crisis’. This is illustrated by hoaxes and fake news messages on these themes spread by groups like ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West’ (Pegida) that serve as popular clickbait on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Japan has witnessed a similar recent uprising, where the ultra-right group Zaitokukai (‘Citizens against the Special Privileges of Koreans in Japan’) started with spreading of racist content online, and in recent years they have begun protests in cities across Japan.

This joint, bi-literal seminar has three main purposes:
1). The seminar seeks to make an intervention in the field of media and migration studies.
The bi-literal seminar seeks to move beyond the Euro-American focus in the study of media and migration studies.
The predominant scholarly focus in studies on migration and nationalism focus on experiences and perspectives in the North-American and European Context. How can we re-conceptualize our understanding of the role of media in migration and nationalism drawing from situated contexts in Japan, and countries like China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines in the context of East and South-East Asia?

2). The seminar seeks to explore what the Netherlands and Europe can learn from the partly overlapping and partly diverging context of migration and the rise of nationalism in Japan and Asia, and vice versa. The focus is on the contradictory role technologies play in migration management, control, integration and community formation, transnational communication but also conflict and extremism. The seminar is highly interdisciplinary, invited speakers come from disciplines including media, communication, gender, migration, geography, sociology and anthropology. The organizers seek to disseminate findings by publishing an open access journal special issue in Comparative Migration Studies, by offering policy recommendations as well as by distributing artistic impressions of main debates and findings.

3). The seminar is designed to exchange scholarship but a strong training component is central to our aims. For this purpose, one day of masterclasses is dedicated to training a selection of 6 talented students (MA/PhD level) from the Netherlands and Japan. Furthermore, alongside inviting a core group of established senior scholars, we are balancing the programme to ensure the participation of young emerging scholars.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. K.H.A. Leurs

Affiliated with

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen, Letteren


19/09/2018 to 22/09/2018