The Nation and its Peoples: Citizens, Denizens, Migrants
-- Research Focus 2010-2011
In the past, the commonsense view of "the nation" was inflected by race (and to some extent by gender as well). Old herrenvolk ideas still operate around the world, invoking familiar intersectional tropes. Yet counter-tendencies are also apparent, as shown not only by the recent US election, but also by the emergence of immigrants’ rights and sans papieres movements, and by the linkage between racial inclusion and human rights established by the long civil rights movement in the US, by anti- and postcolonial movements in the global South and East, and by anti-fascist and democratic movements in Europe. Both nationally and globally, the popular nationalisms that derived from the supposedly "ethnic origins" of modern nations are facing new challenges, often demographic as well as democratic.
We will encourage research that explores the tensions -- demographic, political, and cultural -- that exist within racial/ethnic notions of "peoplehood." We will also invite exploration of critical and democratic approaches to nationalism as a political project, for example studies grounded in such concepts as "fictive universalism," "usable past," or "invented tradition." Here we are particularly attuned to problems of integration and differentiation of the nation-state along racial lines, as well as the cultural bases of nationhood.