Fall 2019 HC 231H: Citizenship and Belonging

Fall 2019-2020

Professor: Noah Eber-Schmid

4.00 credits

  • CRN 12760: Wednesday & Friday, 10:00 - 11:20 @ CHA 202

Over the past decade a variety of charged political issues and developments have placed questions about citizenship at the center of public conversations in the United States. Sharp disagreements over the construction of a southern border wall, undocumented immigration, asylum policies, refugee resettlement, voter ID requirements, welfare reform, and national security have highlighted questions about who is and is not an American citizen, who can become an American citizen, and the status of those that live in the United States but are not citizens. Renewed popular interest and participation in politics, evident in the higher than usual voter turnout for the 2018 midterm elections, has prompted many Americans to think about their responsibilities and obligations to participate politically as the citizens of a democratic republic. For many, citizenship is a birthright, something they are entitled to simply by virtue of where or to whom they were born. For others, citizenship is something earned, granted to them after a lengthy period of residency and an exhausting process of naturalization. In this course, students will engage grand questions about the nature of citizenship, interrogating the boundaries that help define membership within a political community. To do this, we will examine a variety of historical and contemporary ideas about what it means to be a citizen and use these theories to analyze the ongoing development of American citizenship, focusing on issues raised by efforts to define who is included in and excluded from membership in the political community of the United States.