Citizenship remains one of the most pervasive and contested terms in literary and cultural studies. It has been both idealized as the remedy for the struggles of the disenfranchised and challenged as an exclusionary model of belonging built on structural inequalities and subjection. In reassessments of citizenship beginning in the 1990s, Lauren Berlant, Michael Warner, David Kazanjian, and others show how the abstractness of universalist formulations of citizenship masks the nation-state’s grounding in white heteropatriarchy. Work by Saidiya Hartman, Edlie Wong, and others has unsettled the association between citizenship and freedom by excavating the afterlives of enslavement, the failures of Reconstruction, and the forms of subjection that fetter formally free individuals, often through the mechanisms of citizenship and the language of rights. This disenchantment with formal citizenship has led some critics to abandon the concept as irredeemable, but it also has opened up new ways of theorizing citizenship. In the...
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Announcement| December 01 2021
American Literature (2021) 93 (4): 726–729.
Announcements. American Literature 1 December 2021; 93 (4): 726–729. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-9529026
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