Migration & Sovereignty: Aihwa Ong and Charles Piot

Migration & Sovereignty: Aihwa Ong and Charles Piot


October 20, 2016    
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


CUNY Graduate Center, Skylight Room
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10016

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October 20th
2–4 pm
Skylight Room


Aihwa Ong “Liberal Enclaves: de- and re- territorializing immigrants”
Some have noted that the Brexit vote represents the re-territorialization of British citizenship by limiting the influx of foreigners. But even as liberal democracies place limits on poor aliens, they welcome the inflows of rich actors. In a world of global flows, both processes of de- and re-territorialization are in play in shaping the national milieu.  Liberal states favor the political exception in order to differentiate among national zones, overseas flows, and categories of (would-be) citizens. Such neoliberal policies of manifold representations have made London and New York de facto global havens for re-territorializing wealth and talent from emerging Asia.

Charles Piot: “Migration Stories: The US Visa Lottery and Global Citizenship” 
More Togolese per capita apply for the U.S. Diversity (Green Card) lottery than those from any other African country, with winners attempting to game the system by adding “spouses” and dependents to their dossiers.  The U.S. consulate in Lomé knows this gaming is going on and constructs ever-more elaborate tests to attempt to decipher the authenticity of winners’ marriages and job profiles – and of their moral worth as citizens – tests that immediately circulate to those on the street.  This presentation explores the cat-and-mouse game between street and embassy, situating it within the post-Cold War conjuncture – of ongoing crisis, of an eviscerated though still dictatorial state, of social death and the emptiness of citizenship under such conditions, of a sprawling transnational diaspora and the desires and longings it creates, of informationalism and its new technologies, of surveillance regimes and their travails, and of the way in which mobility/immobility and sovereignty are newly entangled and co-constitutive in the contemporary moment.

Aihwa Ong holds the Robert H. Lowie Distinguished Chair in Anthropology, and is Chair of the Group in Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty (2006) and Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life (2016).

Charles Piot is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, where he has a joint appointment in African and African American Studies. He is the author of Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa (1999) and Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War (2010).

Migration & Sovereignty: Aihwa Ong and Charles Piot
Date: October 20, 2016
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Location: CUNY Graduate Center, Skylight Room
Address: 365 Fifth Avenue, New York 10016 (View Map)