Current Series


'Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag' 


...tweeted Donald Trump as President-Elect; ‘if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship’. His administration has also suggested repealing the 14th amendment allowing birthright citizenship. Some even want to strip citizenship from US-born children of undocumented immigrants. Citizenship, and how it designed and regulated, is the critical issue in America today. This series seeks to engage the campus community with elements of the national conversation. We look to understand the nuances of contemporary US citizenship, the challenges it faces, and the strategies we might advocate in seeking to strengthen its promise. We aim also to excavate its heritage, from antiquity, through the founding, the Civil War, the women’s suffrage movement, and the Welfare State, to discover how earlier experiences have shaped the contours of what we see as “natural” today. The Changing Faces of U.S. Citizenship series will join faculty from the Departments of Political Science, History, Black Studies, Classics, and English, and the Carsey-Wolf Center in a collaborative program of undergraduate and graduate course offerings, panel discussions, a research colloquium, public lectures, film screenings, and workshops with local schools throughout the academic year 2017-18, and Fall 2018. 


Upcoming Events

Spring Quarter 2018


Thursday, April 5th at 7pm at Pollock Theater

The Problem with Apu

with writer/comedian Hari Kondabolu

In the comedic documentary The Problem with Apu (2017), South Asian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu confronts his long-standing “nemesis” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – better known as the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons. Kondabolu discusses how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans, and continues to exist – intact – nearly three decades later. Featuring interviews with Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Whoopi Goldberg, W. Kamau Bell, Aasif Mandvi, Hasan Minhaj, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aparna Nancherla and more, the film is currently streaming on

Writer and comedian Hari Kondabolu will join moderator Kum-Kum Bhavnani (Sociology, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion. This event is free and open to the public. A reservation is recommended in order to guarantee seating. 

Monday, April 9th 2-4pm, at the Multicultural Center

US Immigration Policy in 2018: Evolving Notions of Citizenship

Julie Chávez Rodriguez

The current state Director for California, Chávez Rodriguez, granddaughter of civil rights icon Cesar Chávez, developed and organized support for President Obama's immigration reform efforts and DACA when she served as Principal Deputy Director of Public Engagement, Senior Policy Advisor and Special Assistant to President Obama.


Monday, April 23rd, time and place TBD

Citzenship's Insular Cases: From Greece and Rome to Puerto Rico

by Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Professor of Classics at Princeton University

Author of Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League.

The title for this lecture references a series of court opinions in 1901 that marked a decisive turn in the United States' practice of what has since become known as 'differentiated citizenship.' Working backwards from this historical conjecture, Dan-el Padilla Peralta examines the appearance of systems of differentiated citizenship in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean and comments on their reception in several modern colonial (and postcolonial) contexts.


Thursday, April 26th

Conference at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center


Friday, May 11th, time and place TBD

Professor Johanna Hanink - Workshop on the civics test for US citizenship

Brown University, and volunteer civics teacher


Fall Quarter 2018

Events planned include lectures by Professor Bonnie Honig (Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media, and Political Science at Brown University) and Professor Simon Goldhill (Director of the Cambridge University Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities).

Highlighted Events

The Problem with Apu - with writer/comedian Hari Kondabolu

Thursday, April 5th @7pm in Pollock Theater

US Immigration Policy in 2018: Evolving Notions of Citizenship - Julia Chávez Rodriguez

Monday, April 9th @2-4pm in the Multicultural Center


Courses Offerings