Demetra Kasimis F'09

Demetra  Kasimis
Assistant Professor
Political Science
University of Chicago

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
Political Science
Northwestern University
Drawing the Boundaries of Democracy: Immigrants, Citizens, and the Polis in Ancient Greek Contexts

The study of classical democratic citizenship has been dominated by two approaches. One sees the Athenian citizen in terms of his juridical privileges; the other, within a series of stable binary oppositions: citizen-slave, male-female, native-barbarian, elite-mass. This dissertation troubles these categorizations by arguing that the fraught, neglected category of standing of the city’s foreign residents, a third of Athens’ population, illuminates that citizenship was a way of life whose contours were in fact shifting. These free, non-citizen men and women called “metics” were not the antithesis of citizens. They were economically diverse, integrated, but disenfranchised. This study argues that ancient critics used figurations of metics to ruminate membership, explore democracy's limits, and imagine its alternatives.