JEFCAS Seminar Series: Birthplace, bloodline and beyond

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date: Wed 12 October 2016

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey, University of Oxford

 Birthplace, bloodline and beyond: how ‘Liberian citizenship’ is currently constructed in Liberia and abroad.

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Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey

As a twenty-first century post-war, emigrant-sending country, Liberia reflects global citizenship norms while simultaneously departing from them, and this unique positioning offers new opportunity to theorise citizenship across spatial and temporal landscapes. I examine ‘Liberian citizenship’ construction through a historical prism, arguing that as Liberia transformed from a country of immigration to one of emigration, so too did conceptualisations of citizenship – moving from passive, identity-based citizenship emphasising rights and entitlements to more active, practice-based citizenship privileging duties and responsibilities.

About Dr Robtel Pailey: Robtel is a Liberian academic, activist and author with over a decade of combined professional experiences in Africa, Europe and North America. Her areas of research expertise include migration, citizenship, Diasporas, development, transnationalism, conflict, post-war recovery, governance, and the political economy of aid, trade and remittances.

Robtel’s research and writing have appeared in the 2016 book The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles; the 2014 book Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence; the 2010 African literature reader Tales, Tellers and Talemaking: Critical Studies on Literary Stylistics and Narrative Styles in Contemporary African Literature; the 2007 book From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa; as well as scholarly journals including Citizenship Studies, the Liberian Studies Journal (LSJ) and Humanitas.

Dr Pailey currently serves as a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute (IMI).

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