Drawing National Boundaries: Citizenship on the Margins

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
College Hall, Room 209
1 College Hall
Philadephia, PA 19104



The Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism is hosting a talk with Dannah Dennis, PhD candidate in anthropology at University of Virginia, and Beth Wellman, PhD candidate in political science at Yale. Dannah Dennis will be discussing her dissertation in political anthropology entitled In the Name of the Mother: Gendered and Regional Exclusions in Nepali Citizenship. The paper documents the efforts of activists to ensure Nepali women's right to pass their citizenship to their children in the 2015 Constitution. The paper shows this project was ultimately unsuccessful because political leaders framed the activists’ demands as a threat to national security, asserting that giving citizenship to children of Nepali mothers and Indian fathers could result in Nepal being overrun by people who are ‘really’ Indian.  This equation of nationality with paternity has consequences that are not only gendered, but also regional and ethnic, as it disproportionately affects the marginalized Madheshi people who live on the Nepal-India border.  Thus, demands for women’s rights to pass on citizenship were subordinated to a logic of nationalism that regards some citizens (men from the central hills) as more inherently more Nepali than others (women, Madheshis). 


Lunch will be provided.