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Populism and Ethnicity: The Tortuous Road towards the Grand Mosque in Buenos Aires

Ranaan Rein, Tel Aviv University

There is a great difference between the statist policies of populist president Juan Domingo Perón in the 1940s and 1950s, and the neo-liberal policies of neo-populist president Carlos Menem in the 1990s. However, the two leaders did have several traits in common. These included, among others, their endeavors to better integrate various ethnic communities, especially Jews and Arabs, into Argentine society. This talk traces the efforts to establish a mosque in the Argentine capital from the mid-1940s, during Juan Peron’s first presidency, and up to the revival and grandiose materialization of the project during the so-called Menemato. While most West European populist movements, and the current U.S. administration, have been distinguished by xenophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric, Latin American populism, broadly speaking, has been characterized by an inclusive approach. The prime example for this kind of policies was the Peronist regime. The efforts to include previously excluded groups went beyond the working class and targeted also women, children, indigenous peoples and immigrant groups. Most studies have focused on the principal beneficiaries newly integrated into the national polity, i.e. the working class. My own research highlights that immigrant groups, including Jews, Arabs, or Japanese, also made important gains.


October 10, 2018


Universität zu Köln
Historisches Institut, Raum 0.012
50931 Köln