In the United States and in several European Nation-States, understandings of citizenship have shifted rapidly. In the midst of the so called “global refugee crisis”, and the ensuing backlash against immigration, the notion of citizenship has been destabilized as a right and a privilege. Politicians and policymakers have proposed ending birthright citizenship and establishing citizenship tests, thereby transforming, de facto and de jure, the classic understanding of the principles of Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis. Especially in the Western context, the new populist discourse has led to the refusal to accept the return of the children of citizens who joined terrorist organizations; to the accelerated deportation of undocumented and documented immigrants; to the detention of children and other vulnerable groups; to the arrest of citizens who have chosen to help immigrants and refugees; and to an increase in tensions between local, regional, and national governments. A new type of nationalism is now challenging our traditional understanding of who is a citizen, or deserving of citizenship, and, as a consequence, is directly threatening political, religious, and individual rights. Thus, even the infamous slogan of the French National Front of 1995, “being French is inherited or merited”, already shocking at that time, now seems outdated; for those who “inherit” their citizenship from their parents are now suspect if they have an immigrant background.
The right to vote, long a hallmark of citizenship, has been implemented and defended unevenly across democratic countries, and has become more vulnerable to manipulation, disillusion, and apathy. In 2020, the United States will recognize the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, one part of the long and ongoing struggle for equal citizenship for women around the world, but it comes at a time when voter identification laws, gerrymandering, and outright cheating have compromised these hard won rights.
Our conference will propose an examination of citizenship that transcends disciplinary and national borders. The conference will be held at the University of Strasbourg in cooperation with the Syracuse University Centre in Strasbourg (France), a geographic and intellectual crossroads for discussions of citizenship. The city of Strasbourg is an international nexus, and home to the University of Strasbourg, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights. Since 1975, Syracuse University has offered a study abroad program in the city, enabling students to explore European and transnational politics, diplomacy, history and human rights. On the main campus, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University has been teaching and studying citizenship since its founding in 1924. At this crucial and transitional moment in the history of citizenship, our conference will bring together scholars to consider the history, politics, and laws of citizenship within and across borders, as well as the national, social, and cultural crises prompted by the movement of people. The goal of this conference will be to produce an edited volume that offers new directions in the scholarship on citizenship.
This two-day conference will be inaugurated by a keynote address by Professor Elizabeth Cohen of Syracuse University, the author of Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and The Political Value of Time (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Six sessions over two days will focus on different themes related to the new forms of citizenship.
The conference language is English. Proposals including the title and an abstract of 200 words will be sent to Professor Akgönül (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Professor Faulkner (email@example.com) by January 30th 2020. Selected papers will be published in an edited book.
Samim Akgӧnül : (firstname.lastname@example.org)
University of Strasbourg
Carol Faulkner : (email@example.com)