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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Event Archive

“Geographies and Genealogies of Citizenship”

3rd June 2015, 18:00, Palace Green Library Learning Centre, Professor Lynn Staeheli (Durham)

followed by a drinks reception at the Cafe, Palace Green Library.

This event is part of the "From Subjects to Citizens? 800 Years of Citizen Politics" Seminar Series in conjuntion with the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt Exhibition. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book click here.

Lynn Staeheli is a Professor of Human Geography at Durham University, and is the Principal Investigator for YouCitizen. She has degrees from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Washington. Before moving to Durham University in 2010, she worked at the University of Colorado and was Ogilvie Professor of Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh.

Substantively, Lynn's research is concerned with the paradoxical nature of citizenship: it is a legal standing, but is also constructed through interactions in daily life; it emphasises a shared identity for those within a community, even as it is used to exclude some people from the community; it imparts certain rights - including the right to challenge the state and governments - even as it can be used to discipline people so that they behave in ways that reinforce state power. She has explored these issues through examinations of public space, protest and disruption, community activism, immigration, feminist organising, and youth politics.

Abstract: This paper begins from the assumption that citizenship is – or at least should be – a contested concept, category, and practice. While liberal conceptualisations of citizenship are often presented as both a universal norm and unquestioned goal, the paper takes a genealogical and spatial approach to trace the ways in which citizenship is defined and located. Focusing on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon and South Africa, the paper explores the ways in which particular normative ideals are circulated by international efforts to promote democracy and reconciliation in post-conflict settings. Recognizing the ways in which citizenship is translated and performed, it also attends to the historical, linguistic and spatial contexts in which citizenship is produced. Through the tensions between the ways in which normative ideals are promoted and the ways citizenship is practiced and experienced in daily life, the politics – and political potential – of citizenship become evident. 

Contact admin.imems@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.