Documented processes that are prescribed and enforced by official and state methods can limit, if not erase, who we are, and, in doing so, they lend insight into how we render persons as subjects and as legible. A broader concept of documentary membership complicates the notion that status is essentially vested in documents, rather than in the activities and lived experiences of persons. Membership and rights need not be predicated on access or possession of state documents, but can materialize in numerous more meaningful ways, in more grounded and active engagement in political and social activities. As a result, we can extend the bounded meanings of papers and documents and reject the simplistic and normative narratives that all too often conflate status with identity. The possibilities to center our ways of documenting lived experiences capture the dynamism of documentation, which can expand the concept of citizenship, thereby cultivating legitimacy, membership, and rights to those denied and excluded from its institution.
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Black and white photo of Nicole Fleetwood
Nicole Fleetwood
American Studies/Art History, Rutgers University
Black and white photo of Maria Gaspar
Maria Gaspar
Black and white photo of Dan Berger
Dan Berger
Associate Professor, Comparative Ethnic Studies
Black and white photo of Alec Fisher
Alec Fisher
Graduate Student, English
Black and white photo of Dan Paz
Dan Paz
Lecturer, Comparative History of Ideas; School of Art + Art History + Design
Black and white photo of Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky
Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky
Associate Professor, American Ethnic Studies