I am immensely fortunate to have the opportunity to respond to this group
of probing and sympathetic comments on The Citizen and the Alien. The
responding authors are all intellectual heroes of mine, and it’s a privilege to
exchange ideas with them here about my book. The Symposium’s pairing of The
Citizen and the Alien with Professor Ayelet Shachar’s brilliant volume, The
Birthright Lottery, gives an intellectual ballast and depth to the discussion that it
could not otherwise have had. Special thanks to Professor Leti Volpp for
conceiving of the publication of these books as an occasion for interdisciplinary
reflection on the state of legal and political theory on citizenship, and for
painstakingly shepherding this project to completion.
These ten essays raise a confluence of questions about the book’s substance, method, and normative stance. In light of length constraints, and in the interests of synthesizing, my approach here is to address three broad categories of questions presented: one concerning the book’s purpose, scope and method; a second, concerning issues of nationalism and territoriality; and a third concerning the possibilities and limitations of the concept of citizenship. Proceeding this way permits reflections on themes arising across the comments. I am truly grateful to be pressed to clarify and further develop my thinking on these issues.