U.S. Citizenship: History, Meaning, and Conflict

November 20-22, 2015

Due to a full roster, this course is now closed for applications. Please see our other course offerings for 2016!


What does it mean to be and to become an American citizen? What combination of political principles, cultural identity, and historical experience does and should constitute U.S. citizenship? This seminar explores the meaning of citizenship and nationhood in different historical contexts, amidst competing constitutional interpretations, and at the center of contemporary policy debates. The seminar begins by examining the debates at the nation's founding over diversity and homogeneity and asks whether and how the bonds of citizenship can be maintained while remaining open and flexible. The seminar then explores the ways in which immigration and religion have shaped the nature of citizenship and, in turn, been shaped by constitutional interpretation and American history. We conclude by focusing on recent policy debates as lenses through which to assess the meaning of citizenship in a more global and mobile world. 


Seminar Scholar

Noah M. Pickus is Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and Associate Research Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke University. He co-directs the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable and is the author of True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism, Becoming American/America Becoming, and Immigration and Citizenship in the 21st Century. Prior to joining the Kenan Institute for Ethics, he was the founding director of the Institute for Emerging Issues and taught at Duke and at Middlebury College. He is currently working on immigration policy, academic integrity, and global ethical challenges.