What does it mean to talk about citizenship on the edge? In a recent book of the same title, Deborah A. Thomas, the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, and Nancy J. Hirschmann, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought, compiled contributed essays examining the topic from multiple disciplines, including Africana studies, anthropology, disability studies, film studies, gender studies, history, law, political science, and sociology.
The project grew out of a yearlong series of seminars and workshops for what is now called the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy in cooperation with Penn’s program on Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election season, marriage equality, voting rights, and police violence, participants discussed citizenship in the 21st century. Who counts as a citizen? What are the ways in which citizenship and its rights are controlled or denied to different groups?
Thomas and Hirschman spoke with Penn Today about these ideas and their 2022 book, “Citizenship on the Edge: Sex/Gender/Race.”
Deborah A. Thomas is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology and director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania. She is core faculty in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies in the School of Arts & Science and holds a secondary appointment with the Graduate School of Education.
Nancy J. Hirschmann is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought and core faculty in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Penn.