Working Paper 73
Diaspora, Ethnic Internationalism and Higher Education Internationalization: the Korean and Jewish cases as stateless nations in the early 20th century
Published September 2021

Universities and internationalization have largely been portrayed in the literature as extensions of state building and ethnic nationalism, focusing on the state as primary actor. This article challenges such presuppositions by separating ‘nation’ and ‘state’ and with a critical appropriation of diasporic subjectivity and institutions from a comparative historical perspective. The article has four themes: ‘diaspora’, ‘ethnic internationalism’, ‘stateless nations’ and ‘internationalization’ in higher education (IHE). It illustrates these themes and their interrelationships by looking at Koreans and Jews in the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) and during the British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1948) respectively and construing them as stateless nations. These two historical cases illustrate how new forms of higher education were linked to a new state-in-the-making. The paradox is that ethnic nationalism was not only compatible with but often overlapped with ethnic internationalism in higher education. The conclusion of this comparative study suggests the implications for the 21st century and the important role of diaspora in processes of HE internationalization then and now.

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