CFP - Society for 21st Century Thomism: On Citizenship

Society for 21st Century Thomism: Call for Papers

On Citizenship

Deadline for Submission: May 6th, 2019

The proper nature of “citizenship” has been a topic of discussion in the history of political philosophy since the beginning, and one of practical importance to any political regime. Citizens are the basic, material foundation of any state, and so it is important to ask: What makes one a citizen? What rights and privileges do citizens enjoy over non-citizens? What responsibilities should the citizen have in particular? When asking these questions, immediately we see a dichotomy between citizen and non-citizen residents of the state.

Historically, immigration in the United States is tied to citizenship as a telos. That is, the immigrant is encouraged to assimilate, to participate in the existing community and culture. Today, immigration is seen by many as an end in itself, wherein there is no further expectation to assimilate into the community. Here, it is more important to speak of immigrant rights and multicultural cosmopolitanism (i.e., being a “citizen of the world”). For those who adhere strictly to these ideals, it is an affront against the personal dignity of the immigrant to expect assimilation.

This is a difficult problem. On the one hand, we can affirm that immigrants have inherent rights consequent to their dignity as human persons. However, on the other hand, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Without assimilation, there is a real danger in loosening the bonds that keep the nation together, such that our neighbor is now closer to a stranger. Yet, as Catholics, we also have a Christian duty to help those who are needy and oppressed, which tends to be the prime motivator for those who leave their home country.

The Society for 21st Century Thomism is asking for papers in light of these questions above from an Aristotelian-Thomistic foundation. Papers should address these questions in a Neo-Thomistic fashion, that is, not merely by summarizing St. Thomas’ own comments on citizenship or his replies to similar matters in his own time, but by examining the thought of St. Thomas and later Thomists on these issues to draw conclusions that teach us, in our own time, how to address the particular issues we face now.

We are interested in papers addressing the following questions:

• What is a citizen? What separates a citizen from a non-citizen resident?
• What duties do we have as citizens? What rights are we given as citizens?
• What expectations do immigrants, as non-citizen residents, have to meet within the community or state?
• What rights do immigrants have from the state?
• How are citizens and non-citizens justly represented under our democracy?
• Who is our “neighbor” in a community? What ties the community together?

Papers on related topics will also be considered. We invite you to submit an abstract by May 6th, 2019. Each paper presentation at the session will be 25 minutes, and an additional 10 minutes for Q&A. We will respond to each submission in mid-to-late May. Please address inquiries and abstracts (the latter as a Microsoft Word file attachment) to this year’s session organizer, Francisco E. Plaza, at plazaf@stthom.edu.



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