Representing the Nation

This paper explores the differing photographic representations of the Liberation of Paris at the end of World War II in France, England, and the United States during the fall of 1944. It looks at how the myth of the Liberation as a populist, unified French victory crossed national borders and how, even as the US and English press celebrated the restoration of the French capital’s freedom they reinterpreted the events and France’s history of revolution.

Migration of People, Migration of Borders

Can an Armenian be a Turk? My paper will tell the story of why the answer is “no.” My main intellectual project is to detect the borders –discursive and legal—that differentiate Turk-ness from Armenianness. Operating with the basic assumption that Armenianness and Turkness are social constructions (that there is no “race” or “ethnicity” outside of imagination), my goal is to analyze the historical processes that rendered these identities mutually exclusive.

Transnationalization, Law, and Commodification

My current research puts the French Republic to the test by looking at its promotion of parity, diversity and the controversial discussion on “gender theory” reactivated by the law of May 2013 on same-sex marriage. Within this framework, the challenge of this presentation is to grasp what contemporary uses of parity and diversity say about how topical the equality principle is in 21st Century French society.

Imagined Borders, Sexuality, and Religion

This paper examines the mobilization of national references in same-sex marriage debates in France between 2011 and 2014. Unlike Bruno Perreau, Camille Robcis or Eric Fassin, it does not look at the interactions between the regulation of kinship and the production of the French nation, but analyzes the role of the nation as a central symbolic and discursive repertoire in recent French debates about marriage equality. Indeed, both the nation and national symbols were invoked by all the actors involved. However, these actors were not pursuing the same goals, and they did not use national references to serve the same purposes.

Citizenship in a Global Era

Citizenship has multiple different definitions, but three are most often distinguished. The first is legal —linking an individual to a nation-state. The second definition is political and civic. In a democracy, adult citizens elect their representatives, while foreign residents and minors participate in civil and political society in other ways. Finally there is the psychological dimension: “the feeling that one belongs, is connected through one’s sense of emotional attachment, identification and loyalty.”

Border Crossing: Citizenship, Race, and Gender Symposium, MIT, October 12-13, 2012

Issues of border-crossing and citizenship, which intersect in complex ways with gender, sexuality, family, race, and religion, have taken on pressing importance in our contemporary world, affecting people around the globe, though often in very different ways based on local context. This symposium brings together scholars working in diverse disciplines, as well as experts from outside the academy (including immigration lawyers, activists, and artists) in order to examine these issues from multiple and complementary perspectives.