University of London Institute in Paris

9-11 rue de Constantine
75007 Paris

This panel will present research on deprivation of citizenship under various labels such as denaturalisation, revocation, or annulment of citizenship where citizens are stripped of their citizenship. Marie Beauchamps critiques the debate on denaturalisation for neglecting affective aspects of citizenship that motivate states to strip citizenship. Amanda Frost shows how the Trump administration revived denaturalisation in effect to redefine American identity.

Abstracts & Speakers

The event will be chaired by Professor Engin Isin.

“Governing Through Affect: Denaturalization, Belonging and Repression” Marie Beauchamps, Marie Currie Postdoctoral Fellow, Queen Mary University of London

If indeed the state is understood as a rational enterprise, its rationality is commonly identified in the bureaucratic pursuit of neutrality: rules must be impersonal, they must apply equally across the citizenry, based on abstract principles. The state’s rationality is further supported by the rule of law, whose task is to secure an impartial application of the law following constitutional principles, such as the principle of equality before the law. The practice of denaturalization, however, raises questions about the rational premise of the state, introducing an affective element to the ways in which norms of inclusion and exclusion are instituted. While denaturalization is often justified for maintaining the security of the state, its effect is not security as such. Instead, denaturalization turns nationality and citizenship into affective technologies of government and inclusion and exclusion into matters of belonging and repression. This presentation will explore the debate on denaturalization with the aim to highlight those elements that make of denaturalization an affective technology of government. The presentation will be an invitation to use the concept of affective citizenship as an analytical tool to look differently at military responses to terrorist attacks and political responses to immigration crises.

“Alienating citizens” Amanda Frost, Professor of Law, American University Washington

Denaturalization is back. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that denaturalization for any reason other than fraud or mistake in the naturalization process is unconstitutional, forcing the government to abandon its aggressive denaturalization campaigns. For the last half century, the U.S. government denaturalized no more than a handful of people every year, some years none. Over the past year, however, the Trump Administration has revived denaturalization. The administration has targeted over 700,000 naturalized American citizens for investigation and has hired dozens of lawyers and staff members to work in a newly-created office devoted to investigating and prosecuting denaturalization cases. Using information gathered from responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, legal filings, and interviews, this presentation will describe the Trump administration’s denaturalization campaign in detail in the context of the administration’s broader approach to immigration. Under a policy known as “attrition through enforcement”, the Trump administration has sought to discourage immigration and encourage “self deportation”. Although attrition through enforcement is typically described as a method of persuading unauthorized immigrants to leave the United States, the denaturalization campaign and other Trump administration initiatives suggest that the same approach is now being applied to those with legal status. The presentation will draw connections between immigration enforcement, denaturalization, and recent efforts to undermine birthright citizenship, which taken together suggest that the ultimate goal is to redefine American identity.

Agenda and Registration

6-8 PM: introductions, presentations, and Q&A