When refugees are terrorists : conceptualizing the racial logic of statelessness
Dennis Michael Young
May 11, 2017
Department or Program
With 11 million Syrians forcibly evicted from their homes, the image of brown bodies begging for entrance into other countries is ubiquitous. At the same time, the racial bodies of Syrian refugees are assigned specific meanings: terrorist, national security threat, barbarian, antithetical to the West. This discursive construction is visible at the level of state formation; the conversations around the United States Security Against Foreign Enemies Act worked to further amplify security measures brought to bear against these "potential terrorists." The racialized stateless person represents a site at which the United States, as a racial state, operates in a specific way. My presentation explores how understanding the racial logic of statelessness informs our conceptualization of the racial state. The question of racialized statelessness provides a unique lens for addressing how racial states constitute themselves in relation to those outside a system of states.