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Partner Spotlight: Wayne State University’s 9th Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies

Wayne State University’s Center for the Study of Citizenship — ADP’s partner in our eCitizenship Civic Engagement in Action Series initiative — is hosting its 9th annual Conference in Citizenship Studies March 29-31, 2012. Below you’ll find the Call for Papers for the conference. The theme of the conference is “Generations: Rethinking Age and Citizenship” and proposals are due by Tuesday, November 1, 2011. I hope you’ll consider submitting a proposal!

— Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Center for the Study of Citizenship:

9th Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies

Date: March 29 – 31, 2012

Wayne State University


Call for Papers: “Generations: Rethinking Age and Citizenship”

Deadline — Nov. 1, 2011

Conference dates are March 29 – 31, 2012

Age is a primary marker of citizenship. It is crucial to obtaining full political citizenship in a community and in shaping political, civil, and property rights.  Yet the intersection between age and citizenship (or lack thereof) has varied across time and space.  This is especially the case when thinking of how to define and identify citizens by “generation.” The Center for the Study of Citizenship’s 2012 Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies will examine the relationship of generations and citizenship in the past, present, and future.  It will explore how citizenship—membership in communities—is experienced temporally by age and how membership in a particular generation influences the experience and identity of citizenship.

In some cases and places, age seems to be redefining citizenship. The revolutions of the contemporary Middle East have largely been youth movements. The same might be said of immigrant youth in the Paris Banlieues. Meanwhile, the youthful unemployed of Western countries may represent a disengaged, though not disfranchised, citizen group. More broadly, how are (and were) youth politically socialized? Is there citizenship within youth communities? Do children or minors who have not yet reached the age of full political participation problematize what is meant by citizenship? Are generational images, created by marketing efforts (Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers), truly splitting points for citizenship involvement? Or are there meta-groups that transcend these easy boundary markers? And then there is the online “citizen.” How are Twitter, Facebook, blogging sites, various other social media, and interest groups subtly changing generational “belonging” and/or enfranchising or disfranchising citizen personas? Might it be useful to rethink the notion of the digital divide in the context of contemporary everyday practice of citizenship? Is there a difference in the ways that digital natives and immigrants (telling terms themselves) experience citizenship?

Other proposals might consider the other end of the age spectrum: the relationship of gerontology and citizenship studies; community engagement by elder citizens who are living longer than ever before; the meaning of “senior citizen.” How does the generational divide shape citizenship in diasporic communities? Are there differences in the ways that older and newer generations of immigrants perceive membership in the community or the way that second or third generation immigrant families view their relationship to the public sphere? How does citizenship change over the life course? How important is age as a variable in civic community-building and how does it affect a sense of belonging? Plenary speakers will be Peter Levine, Director of the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, Tufts University, and Lawrence Cohen from the University of California, Berkeley.

The ideas presented here are intended to stimulate thinking by potential participants about how their own work might relate to the theme of the conference. They are suggestive only. The perspective of the conference, as always, is global, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary and proposals on any aspect of citizenship studies are welcome from scholars working in any discipline or interdisciplinary field. Proposals should be submitted online on the Center’s website: no later than November 1, 2011, or addressed to Helen Callow,  Both panel proposals and individual submissions are welcome. Those interested in submitting panel proposals can use H-Citizenship ( to locate scholars with compatible interests. Some money will be available for international scholars to help defray their travel costs. These funds will be distributed on a competitive basis.  Remote presentation of papers and remote participation will also be available. Questions should be directed to Marc W. Kruman,

The best papers will be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed volume in the Wayne State University Press book series, “Citizenship Studies,” edited by the Center’s director, Marc Kruman.

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