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Sunday, March 11, 2012

AAA Call for Abstracts: Citizenship Against the Grain

Please circulate this call for abstracts to anyone you know who may be
interested in participating in the panel,' Citizenship Against the
Grain,' for the upcoming AAA:

Migration studies is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from
disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, history, political
science, geography, and law, each bringing a new perspective on
immigration and integration. Anthropology draws from these
disciplines, but is unique in its ability to bring together multiple
viewpoints, weaving together unique and local perspectives on single
issues while staying mindful of larger political and social dynamics.
One interesting and increasingly important site where the disciplines
of migration and anthropology meet is in studies about everyday
citizenship and citizenship education.

In the Canadian and American context, there has been an increase in
citizenship education that attempts to integrate immigrants and
refugees into the larger Canadian or American fabric, that is, to
become legally, politically, economically, and socially accepted
citizens. Yet it is through such integrating processes that immigrants
and refugees are often dehistoricized and depoliticized. Canada, for
example, uses a multicultural model which would appear to highlight an
affinity toward cultural difference as part of a national character,
however Mackey (2002) has argued that these official discourses of
multiculturalism actually discriminate against minority cultural
groupings due to the representation of Canada's white, Anglo-Canadian
majority as being at the core of this character and subsuming all
other cultural distinctions under an umbrella of 'the multicultural
other' (see also Bannerji 2000). Similarly, integration in the U.S. is
characterized by "benevolent assimilation" whereby immigrants and
refugees are cleansed of their ethnicities in order to be transformed
into 'worthy' citizens (Ong 2003). It is within these contexts that
immigrants and refugees are settling in North America and are under
pressure to take part in various forms of citizenship education.

From an anthropological perspective, what is interesting about sites
of citizenship education are the different ways that government
officials, citizenship educators, immigrants, refugees, social
workers, or settlement workers define citizenship, in addition to
their unique perspectives of what the process of citizenship entails.
This panel takes citizenship classrooms and everyday citizenship
situations as a site of discussion for anthropology's role,
limitations, and unique contributions to understanding how the
processes of citizenship education define who belongs and who does not
belong to the nation. This panel asks for contributions from those
interested in exploring the borders and boundaries of anthropology's
role in citizenship education. Topics may include: perceptions of
citizenship education, the role(s) of citizenship education in
everyday lives, educational spaces, the ways neo-colonialism inform
citizenship education, anthropology's contributions to citizenship
studies, and the juxtaposition of national identity and citizenship

If you are interested in taking part in this panel please send
abstracts and your affiliation by April 1, 2012 to:

Jennifer Long, PhD, Department of Anthropology, The University of
Western Ontario, or

Melissa Stachel, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, The
University of Western Ontario, or

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