Date of Award

2012

First Advisor

Katie Boswell

Second Advisor

Asma Abbas

Abstract

Every action requires a motivation, a way for the completion of the action to be useful or meaningful to the person performing it. As such, the person adapts citizenship to his or her life so as to enact the role of a citizen. However, although people grant American citizenship meaning through action this does not equate to an understanding that action or its meaning. Therefore I propose that in order to understand American citizenship a person must undergo a process of separation from their individual contextualized manifestations of citizenship. The exposure to a different setting inserts a foreign presence or alternative perspective into the relationship between the person and American citizenship, resulting in an imbalanced relationship between the person, their local setting and the larger context causing citizenship to only gain meaning through separating the person from their citizenship. To prove this thesis the text will present how my relationship with American citizenship has transformed throughout my coursework at Bard College at Simon's Rock. Thus, by reflecting upon specific instances between American citizenship and myself, whilst in conversation with various thinkers, I will demonstrate how the most insightful moments I experience with citizenship was when it separated me from others.

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