With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CLRC awarded two outstanding UC Santa Cruz graduate students year-long fellowships and hired a postdoctoral scholar as part of our 2016-17 Sawyer Seminar on non-citizenship. In this free, public forum, our three Mellon fellows will discuss their research and tell us a bit about what their awards allowed them to achieve and their plans for the future.
Geographies of Imperial Citizenship
Emily Mitchell-Eaton, Postdoctoral Scholar, Chicano Latino Research Center
This talk addresses the modes of imperial citizenship and non-citizenship that have emerged for subjects of non-sovereign U.S. territories. An examination of the legal statuses held by these subjects reveals the margins of formal legal citizenship to be quite blurry. As imperial subjects attempt to cross U.S. borders, pursue employment, access public benefits and services, and resist deportation, these practices often result in precarious mobility and different forms of exclusion. Drawing on a case study of Marshall Islanders who have migrated to Arkansas, Dr. Mitchell-Eaton explores how Marshallese immigrants’ unique legal status is produced through their encounters with three groups: law enforcement and legal actors; social service providers; and activists.
The Life-Cycle of Forced Migration: Partial Citizenship and Internally Displaced Peasants in Medellín, Colombia
Claudia Lopez, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology
In this presentation, Claudia discusses the dynamics of internal and forced migration of rural peasant farmers, focusing on their urban resettlement and integration into the city of Medellín, Colombia. Using this case study of conflict-induced displacement in Colombia—which has the largest population of internally displaced persons in the world—her research brings new attention to internal and forced migration, viewing the resulting displacement as a serial process that constitutes what she calls the lifecycle of forced migration. She draws from ethnographic interviews and surveys with rural internally displaced persons, as well as interviews with representatives of government agencies and NGOs, to argue that, across the lifecycle, the state marginalizes displaced peasants and does not consider them capable urban citizens due to their rural origin and inability to contribute through formal labor practices in the city, thereby rendering them Partial Citizens. Ultimately, Claudia contends that this research demonstrates the limits of integration and national citizenship, offers a more nuanced lens for examining citizenship as a spectrum, and prompts us to examine belonging beyond the binary categories of citizen/non-citizen and included/excluded.
Belonging in Exile: The Exclusionary Agenda of Unity
Tsering Wangmo, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Literature
Tsering Wangmo’s dissertation, “From the Margins of Exile: Democracy and Dissent within the Tibetan Diaspora,” juxtaposes the external struggle for international recognition of the Tibetan government-in-exile with the internal struggle to command Tibetan unity since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950. It presents a nuanced understanding of how the project of nation building within the conditions of exile must be seen as a constant negotiation between deference and dissent and between unity and difference. In her talk, Tsering argues that unity was presented simultaneously as the moral and political responsibility of the modern Tibetan “refugee-citizen,” as well as the traditional duty of a Tibetan Buddhist, and that, ultimately, unity was an exclusionary discourse.
This free, public forum is co-sponsored by the Chicano Latino Research Center and Institute for Humanities Research, with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.