Birthplace and the Myth of Liberal Citizenship

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Wilson 101

Join the Janus Fellows on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:00 for a conversation on birthright citizenship. History Professor Michael Vorenberg will trace the roots and consider the stakes of birthright citizenship in a 15 minute lecture followed by a Q&A period. As always, free Nice Slice!

From the quest for President Obama’s “true” birth certificate to the recent Alabama laws rounding up those born outside the country, evidence abounds that Americans have become a people obsessed with birthplace. Being born in the United States is the surest guarantee of acquiring American citizenship. That was not always the case, and if some reformers have their way, it may not be the case for much longer. How did place of birth become the primary determinant of one’s citizenship, and what are the consequences of such a system? What is the fate of democracy or liberalism in a world in which the game is stacked from the beginning by the arbitrary results of the birthright lottery?