Riverside, CA - Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor of public policy at the University of California, Riverside, and director of the Center for Social Innovation, received the 2021 Best Book Award on Migration and Citizenship by the American Political Science Association last week, for Citizenship Reimagined: A New Framework for State Rights in the United States (Cambridge University Press, 2021). The book is co-authored with Allan Colbern, assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University. The APSA Migration and Citizenship section also selected Lauren Duquette-Rury’s Exit and Voice: The Paradox of Cross-Border Politics in Mexico as a co-winner of its book award, among the dozens of books nominated for consideration.
In 2015, Colbern and Ramakrishnan began researching and writing on a project that ultimately yielded Citizenship Reimagined. Colbern was a graduate student at UC Riverside at the time, and continued expanding on the work after starting his faculty job at ASU. Both scholars are steeped in the study of immigration with a particular emphasis on community engagement and policy relevance.
Citizenship Reimagined was written against the backdrop of the United States entering a new era of progressive state citizenship, with California leading the way. For example, a growing number of states are providing expanded rights to undocumented immigrants that challenge conventional understandings of citizenship as binary, unidimensional, and exclusively national. A core argument Colbern and Ramakrishnan make is that American federalism has always shaped citizenship by structuring fights over the expansion and contraction of Black citizens’ rights and Immigrant rights throughout United States history.
Citizenship Reimagined provides a rights-based framework to understand regressive and progressive shifts in citizens’ rights provided at the state level, such as current efforts around policies on voting rights, reproductive rights, criminal justice, and policing. This same framework also helps make sense of expansions and contractions in undocumented immigrants’ rights at the state level. Their concept of state citizenship builds towards on the notion of progressive federalism, offering important insights for understanding why state-level investments in rights expansion are essential, even if the goal is national reform on matters ranging from voting rights and comprehensive immigration reform.
Since publishing their book, Colbern and Ramakrishnan have continued their work together, co-authoring a report forthcoming in November 2021, Immigrant Rights Everywhere: The Importance of California’s Regional Capacity and Coordination for Statewide Policy Impact. This report, to be published by the California Immigrant Policy Center and CSI-UCR, further unpacks how and why California’s immigrant rights movement has expanded the rights and protections of undocumented immigrants through committing to building capacity and power across that state’s subregions, forming what they call “intrastate federalism.” The report builds on their award-winning book, illustrating the importance of investing in regions to ensure successful passage and effective implementation of statewide policies, which then can support national agendas for the expansion of immigrant rights and civil rights.
For more information on Citizenship Reimagined, please visit: https://citizenshipreimagined.org