Unsettled Citizens


Friday, March 29, 2019, 9:00am


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge MA

Populism, global crisis, and modernity have rendered citizenship a fluid and troubled concept.

Even as millions of migrants from poorer countries struggle for citizenship in places like Canada, Europe, and the United States, wealthy families and individuals often have the means to purchase legal citizenship rights in a new country. In the United States, prominent court cases have granted the legal rights of citizens to corporations, which are themselves created by the government. Meanwhile, indigenous peoples frequently find their citizenship regulated by nation-states as well as tribal governments. In country after country, ethnic majorities are seeking laws to define citizenship based on race, language, and religion. In other settings, nations seek an ideal of citizenship that potentially erases biological, racial, and religious difference.

This conference will explore all of these themes. In the first panel, we will debate the concept of economic citizenship, asking to what extent citizenship can be bought, constituted, or even lost by means of variation in wealth. Our second panel will explore how states, tribes, and other communities regulate belonging. And in the third panel, we will examine how migration and cross-border identity challenge the concept of citizenship.


  • Jacqueline Bhabha, professor of the practice of health and human rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; director of research, Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights; Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer in Law, Harvard Law School; and adjunct lecturer in public policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Daniel Carpenter, faculty director of the Social Sciences Program, Radcliffe Institute; Allied S. Freed Professor of Government, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Philip J. Deloria, professor of history and chair of the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Jill Doerfler, department head and professor, Department of American Indian Studies, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Gabriela Soto Laveaga, professor of the history of science, Harvard University
  • Kenneth W. Mack, Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Theresa McCarthy, associate professor, Department of Transnational Studies, University at Buffalo
  • Pap Ndiaye, professor of history, Sciences Po (France)
  • K. Sabeel Rahman, associate professor of law, Brooklyn Law School
  • Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, mayor, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Alexandra Minna Stern, professor and chair in the Department of American Culture and professor in history, women’s studies, and obstetrics and gynecology, University of Michigan
  • Lyndsey Stonebridge, interdisciplinary chair and professor of humanities and human rights, Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham (UK)
  • Zephyr Teachout, associate professor of law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Chia Youyee Vang, professor of history, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Rosita Kaaháni Worl, president, Sealaska Heritage Institute

For additional information and to register, visit www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/event/2019-unsettled-citizens-conference.

The event is free and open to the public. We encourage you to share this invitation with friends.