2017, FRONT/SPACE, KANSAS CITY, MO
All Allegiance is a workshop and exhibition that is part of my ongoing investigation into the legal history surrounding American citizenship and non-western immigration in the United States. The aim of the project was to show how the concept of ‘citizenship’—socially and legally—has depended on exclusionary premises for its meaning. My research ultimately shows how the notion of the “American citizen” has been constructed in reaction to a racialized notion of the “immigrant” in ways that (partly) shaped contemporary forms of white supremacy. In the exhibition, I attempted to convey this historical reality through the use of printed materials, poetic reflection, and visual interpretations of my research.
The workshop titled, Re-Imagining (Denationalized) Citizenship, involved a discussion of the materials in the exhibition, where I showed examples of moments where the legal definition of whiteness was refined in the 20th century through trials which excluded ‘non-white’ aliens from citizenship. But, drawing on Hannah Arendt’s work, the workshop also proposed an alternative to our understanding of citizenship. According to the alternative, one defining feature of citizenship could include a form of social and personal accountability within the public sphere. Following a discussion, we drafted a document that expressed our alternative vision of a denationalized, accountability-based citizenship.