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


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. Of particular interest to the conference planning committee was how these issues play out differently in various national contexts, including, for example, the US, France, China, Japan, India and Turkey. We also sought to understand these issues in historical perspective, in order to examine how concepts of citizenship, identity, and gender have evolved over time, and to gain clarity on the contemporary manifestations of these issues.


Free and open to the public. 


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9:30 am - Opening Remarks: John Tirman (MIT, Center for International Studies)


10:00 am - panel one

Hiromu Nagahara (MIT, History) “Imagining Women as Borders and Border-Crossers: Gender, Race, and Mass Culture in Japan under the Allied Occupation”

Lerna Ekmekcioglu (MIT, History) “In the Land of the Oppressor, Still: Armenians in the New Turkey”

Margery Resnick (MIT, Literature) “Moors and Christians: The Second Wave”

Manduhai Buyandelger (MIT, Anthropology) “One Thousand Border-Crossings: Women’s Strategies in Running for Parliament in Neoliberal Post-Socialist Mongolia”

Discussant: Franziska Seraphim (Boston College, History)


1:30 pm - panel two

Bruno Perreau (MIT, Foreign Languages and Literatures) “Is Nature French? Adoption and the Imaginary of Border Crossing in Contemporary France”

Frédérique Donovan (MIT, Foreign Languages and Literatures) “Literary Migrations and Border Crossings in Marie NDiaye’s Latest Work”

Tess Wise (Harvard, Department of Government) “Do Naturalizations Cause Right-Wing Backlash?”

Romain Cames (Northeastern University, Anthropology) “Perpetual Migrants: Romanies, Contested Boundaries, and the Remaking of Citizenship”

Discussant: Emmanuelle Saada (Columbia University, French and History)


4:00 pm - Keynote:

Nayan Shah, USC, American Studies and Ethnicity

“Border Intimacies”



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10:00 am - panel three

Emma Teng (MIT, Foreign Languages and Literatures/History) “Dependent Citizenship and Chinese Exclusion: Race, Gender, and Class on Two Ends of the U.S.-China Migration Corridor”

Sarah Song (Berkeley Law, University of California) “Rethinking Family in Immigration Law: Beyond Marriage and Blood Ties” 

Christopher Capozzola (MIT, History). “Gendering the DREAM Act: Men, Women, and Their Paths to Citizenship”

Sasha Costanza-Chock (MIT, Comparative Media Studies) “Dreaming Out Loud: Media Activism by Undocumented Youth”

Discussant: Malick Ghachem (University of Maine School of Law)


1:30 pm - panel four

Chuong-Dai Vo (MIT, Women’s and Gender Studies) “Post–9/11 U.S. Policy and Southeast Asia”

Vivek Bald (MIT, Comparative Media Studies) “From Bellingham to Oak Creek: Considerations on Race, Immigration, and Empire”

Azra Akšamija (MIT, Art, Culture and Technology) “Convertible Veils: Negotiating Muslim Identities in the West”

Diana Henderson (MIT, Literature) “Magic in the Chain: ‘Othello,’ ‘Omkara,’ and the Materiality of Gender in Cross-Cultural Adaptation”

Discussant: To be announced


4:00 - Keynote

Rachel Rosenbloom, Northeastern University, Law

“Citizenship’s Borderlands”


Sponsored by the MIT Program in Women’s and Gender Studies, Foreign Language and Literatures’ French Studies, Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies, and the Committee on Race and Diversity.