Alternative Geographies of Citizenship: Race, Rights, and Belonging in Transnational History

AHA Session 243
Conference on Latin American History 68
Sunday, January 8, 2012: 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
Michigan Room A (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Paul Kramer, Vanderbilt University
Paul Kramer, Vanderbilt University

Session Abstract

In the wake of the Second World War, political theorists such as Hannah Arendt and the British sociologist T.H. Marshall engaged in a series of debates regarding the relationship between the citizen and the state, and between statelessness and rightlessness.

While the post-war considerations of citizenship that entered the scholarly cannon took place amongst European intellectuals, many of the questions at issue were being confronted at the same time by a variety of writers and activists in the colonial periphery.  Indeed, in the colonized world the relationship between sovereignty, territory, rights, and race had been subject of a crescendo of debate over the previous decades.

By focusing on the writings of lesser known thinkers in the Caribbean, Central America, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere, this panel will compare and contrast the intellectual history of citizenship that developed within the Anglo-European context with alternative proposals regarding citizenship and the state that developed in the imperial periphery in the years just before, during, and after the Second World War.  How did thinkers in the colonial world conceive differently the possibilities of citizenship—and the barriers to it?  To what degree did these different imaginaries survive the transition from colony to independent nation state?

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