Race, Citizenship and the State

Race, Citizenship and the State explores the complex and ever-changing dynamics between racial formation, national state apparatuses and migration. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we hope to complicate how we understand, theorize and research the junction of race, state power and movement, considering questions such as the following: In what ways does restricting the movement and controlling the citizenship of certain bodies contribute to racialization? How are state systems across time and space that confine and racialize bodies (for example, Jim Crow-era convict leasing and the modern prison industrial complex) interconnected? Finally, how might studying them alongside one another shed light on the historical functions of the U.S. nation-state?
The selected readings span disciplinary fields, time periods (from the Atlantic slave trade to modern immigration) and geographies. Meeting monthly, we will focus on a different theme related to the triad of race, citizenship and state during each session, from land to labor to surveillance. We’ll read academic works from sociology, history, religious studies and various ethnic studies fields, discussing scholars’ innovative methodologies, theoretical interpretations and archival sources. Although many readings focus on the United States, we will also interrogate the boundaries and borders of the nation-state, grappling with spaces and ideas that transcend the state. For more information please contact [email protected]
SCHEDULE ( all readings will be provided in advance for participants)
See Zoom details at the bottom of this page
February 25th, 2021 at 5pm - The Carceral State
  • Robin D. Kelley, “On Violence and Carcerality,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42:3 (2017): 590-600.
  • Angela Y. Davis, “Abolitionist Alternatives” in Are Prisons Obsolete?
 March 18th, 2021 at 5pm - Special Guest: Professor Verónica Martínez-Matsuda
Selections TBD from Migrant Citizenship: Race, Rights, and Reform in the U.S. Farm Labor Camp Program 
 April 1st, 2021 at 5pm  - Migration 
  • María De La Luz Ibarra, "Buscando La Vida: Mexican Immigrant Women's Memories of Home, Yearning, and Border Crossings." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 24, no. 2/3 (2003): 261-81, www.jstor.org/stable/3347362.
  • Kelly Lytle Hernandez, ‘Persecuted Like Criminals’: The Politics of Labor Emigration and Mexican Migration Controls in the 1920s and 1930s." Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies v 34, n 1 (Spring 2009), 219-239.
September 24 at 5 PM - Racial Formations
  • Molina, Natalia. How Race is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. (Intro-Ch. 1) 
  • Elliott West, “Reconstructing Race,” Western Historical Quarterly 34, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 6-26
 October 22 at 5 PM - Borders 
  • Lim, Julian. Porous Borders: Multiracial Migration and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2017. (Intro-Ch. 1) 
  • Nayan Shah, "‘Between Oriental Depravity’ and Natural Degenerates’: Spatial Borderlands and the Making of Ordinary Americans,” American Quarterly 3 (2005), pp. 703-725
November 19 at 5 PM - Slavery and the Transition to Freedom 
  • Jennifer Morgan, “Partus sequitur ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery,” Small Axe, Volume 22, Number 1, March 2018 (No. 55)
  • Hannah Rosen, Terror in the Heart of Freedom (Ch. 1-2)


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