Reflection on Dr. Somerville's Lecture


Dr. Siobhan Somerville's lecture was titled "Queering Like A State: Naturalized Citizenship and U.S. Empire." Her lecture was broken into two parts: first, Staging the Immigrant Romance, where she described the history of the naturalization process from a "dreary courtroom transaction" into an overly theatrical "ceremony" designed to heighten emotions, and second, Naturalization without Immigration, in which she discussed the naturalization of Native Americans, which included the transformation of these people into people of white society and culture. I found it particularly interesting how she used the example of immigrants arriving in nuclear families, and how the naturalization process reinforced the heteronormativity of children because children function as the future. Not until I attended this lecture had I ever really thought twice about the naturalization process and the naturalization ceremony because I have never had a personal connection to this topic. Something that really struck me was the idea of resistance to naturalization and the idea that although many people entered this country to flee from political turmoil or other reasons, they are still being stripped of their cultures and in turn lose some of their cultural heritage in the process.

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