2018 Spring Semester Theme: Citizen / Refugee

Citizenship indicates a legally constituted set of rights, privileges, and duties afforded to people born in or naturalized by a nation-state.  To claim one’s citizenship is to express a sense of belonging within a polity; to seek citizen status is to aspire to such belonging. Refugees are historical subjects who, displaced by war, persecution, economic crisis, or natural disaster, are compelled to seek citizenship anew. The precariousness of their political status often calls into question definitions of citizenship and the professed ideals of nation-states.

This seminar will explore the categories of citizen and refugee from several disciplinary perspectives, examining how these categories have been constructed amid specific historical, political, economic, cultural, and environmental dynamics. How do the conditions of global capital bear on values and practices of citizenship? How have cultural producers, academics, policy-makers, and activists envisioned citizens, immigrants, and displaced persons—whether in contrast or complement to their legal definitions? What are our obligations, as “citizens” of an institution of higher learning, to contribute to critical understandings of the lived experiences of citizens and displaced communities? Questions of citizenship status are always pressing, yet this seminar could not be timelier, prompted as it is by current global crises, national debates about immigration, and local events.

Programs Related to the Theme

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.
Pink Precariat: LGBT Workers in the Shadow of Civil Rights
Margot Canaday, Princeton University

Thursday, March 1,  2018
Rubendall Recital Hall, Weiss Center for the Arts,
Opening Reception – 5 p.m.,  Lecture – 6 p.m.
Trout Gallery Exhibition
Lalla Essaydi
, artist

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium,
7 p.m.
An Evening with Yoko Tawada

Yoko Tawada, award-winning writer

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Latinx: The Future is Now
Nicole Guidotti-Hernández, University of Texas at Austin

Monday, April 16, 2018
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Violent Borders: The State vs. the Right to Move
Reece Jones, University of Hawaii

For information on submitting proposals for future themes /faculty seminars, click here.