Lecture: Elizabeth Hanna Rubio (RESCHEDULED)

Mar 27, 2023, 4:30 pm6:00 pm



Event Description
Elizabeth Hanna Rubio

Both Asian Americanists and social scientists writing in the era of the post-9/11 securitization hysteria and neoliberal state withdrawal have interrogated the liberal assumption of continuity between legal citizenship, rights, and state protection. They have also demonstrated how in its very facilitation of the nation-state’s legitimacy and its attendant naturalization of border and deportation regimes, the immigrant’s pursuit of citizenship is ultimately a conservative investment as much as it is a seemingly inescapable one. And yet there is a latent presumption — expressed in scholarship about U.S.-based immigrant justice organizing and liberal political discourse more broadly — that the outermost limits of immigrant liberatory aspirations find their beginning and end in the expansion of citizenship rather than its demise. The result has been a stifling of dominant imaginative horizons of immigrant justice work into a narrow negotiation over how to pursue citizenship as “cleanly” as possible — that is, how to get citizenship for the greatest number of people in exchange for the least number of deportations. In this talk, Rubio demonstrates that this narrowing engages activists in a false negotiation with the state and that said activists experience it as such. Moreover, through ethnography with undocumented Asian American activists across the United States who frame citizenship as a conduit of harm rather than liberation, Rubio explores abolitionist experiments in enacting citizenship-less immigrant justice and the temporal, political, and material indeterminacies that attend to this work.

Elizabeth Hanna Rubio is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Program in Asian American Studies at the Effron Center for the Study of America of Princeton University. Prior to arriving to Princeton, she served as a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute of American Cultures and Asian American Studies Center at UCLA. In June 2021, she received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at UC Irvine. Based on six years of ethnographic research with undocumented Korean American organizers in Southern California, Washington D.C., and Chicago, her current book manuscript examines the fraught politics of multiracial coalition- building in immigrant justice spaces and the complexities of enacting immigrant justice through an abolitionist lens. Elizabeth builds on her work as a community organizer to conduct research that responds to emergent questions and practices in leftist social justice spaces. You can find her work published in Amerasia Journal, The Journal for the Anthropology of North America, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other mediums.

  • Effron Center for the Study of America
  • Program in Asian American Studies