- Associate Professor
- Willamette University
"Acts of Naturalization" recovers an alternative account of national belonging in legal and literary developments in support of immigration in the eighteenth century. This project reveals how early “English” novels were profoundly entangled with the incipient legal framework of naturalization, which understood nationality as an identity that could be created by the secular power of law. Together, the law and the novel experimented with a new idea of nationality as an endlessly modifiable exterior identity, separate from both biological and cultural life. Literary and legal writers developed crucial naturalizing techniques for expanding conceptions of national community that are distinct from the categories of assimilation and ideological acculturation that are used to conceptualize nationality today.