Citizen gain

The term “denizen” is used to describe an inhabitant who is not a formal citizen, but not necessarily an undocumented immigrant either. It’s a word that fits more than 60 million refugees who have fled their homelands, according to UN Refugee Agency data.

“What does it mean to be a denizen in a world that is organized around, and by, nation-states?” asked Catherine Ramírez, associate professor of Latin American and Latino studies and director of the Chicano/ Latino Research Center at UC Santa Cruz.

Such questions will be explored during a year-long “Non-citizenship” seminar, planned by Ramírez and four other UC Santa Cruz professors: Juan Poblete, literature; Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, feminist studies; Sylvanna Falcón, Latin American and Latino studies; and Steven McKay, sociology. The seminar is funded by a $175,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures.

Ramírez hopes to foster conversations across the borders of academic disciplines, geographical regions, and even time periods—by including historical perspectives as well as current events.