Forum for Other Citizenships

A series of conversations about citizenship and other forms of belonging and kinship


Fields of Knowledge
  • Memory
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Politics / Economics
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions



Aaron Levy

Opens to public



4017 Walnut
Philadelphia, PA 19104


0% Formal - 100% Informal

  • Citizenship

Ten years ago, Slought initiated Cities Without Citizens, an inaugural project which explored the limits and conditions of citizenship. The project began with a series of questions, foremost amongst them the question of what citizenship is and how it is established or lost, asserted or taken away. Other questions included the relation between a city and its citizens, or between a city and all the people from which it withholds its protections.

During the first term of George W. Bush's presidency, these questions seemed to us more urgent than ever. Their urgency has not subsided. Today's city continues to be marked by the violence, the laws of denaturalization and denationalization, the deprivation of civil rights, and the strategies of profiling, surveillance, incarceration, forced deportation, and refusal of the rights of asylum that has so often punctuated and defined the modern history of cities.

Ten years later, Slought returns to the questions first raised in Cities Without Citizens through an ongoing series of events entitled "Forum for Other Citizenships." The conversations in this series challenge us to broadly consider other citizenships and other forms of belonging and kinship—whether to a family, geography, country, community, or institution. What rights and responsibilities does belonging entail, and will they call us to action?

The forum necessarily begins from the understanding that any definition of citizenship simultaneously defines the limits and conditions of citizenship — by defining, that is, the non-citizen, the foreigner, the alien, the stranger, the immigrant, the refugee, the criminal, the prisoner, or the outsider. There can be no concept of citizenship without laws of segregation and exclusion—without borders, barriers, interdictions, displacements, censorships, racisms, and the marginalization and eviction of languages and peoples. By beginning the conversation here, this forum seeks to construct a viable framework for discussing the rights, responsibilities, and obligations that citizenship entails.

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1. Sergio Fajardo and the "civic"

In conversation with Oscar Romo, Teddy Cruz
June 3rd, 2011; 12pm
Don Felix Cafe, San Ysidro, California

What role should trust play in reconnecting public policy, social justice, and civic imagination? As cultural practitioners and concerned citizens, what can we learn from Latin American experiments in participatory politics? What is the responsibility of the creative practitioner in initiating a larger, more inclusive dialogue in the public domain?

Sergio Fajardo is a mathematician, former mayor of Medellin, and now governor of Antioquia. Oscar Romo is an ecologist and director of the Tijuana river estuary. Teddy Cruz is an architect and urban thinker based in San Diego. Presented in conjunction with Political Equator 3, and in partnership with the Center for Urban Ecologies at UCSD and Casa Familiar

2. Krzysztof Wodiczko and the "uncommunity"

In conversation with Orkan Telhan, Aaron Levy
Friday April 20th, 2012; 6:30pm, Slought

Who enables the "uncommunity"? How does one design relationships with the marginalized, and advocate for and work with them? How can the voice of the marginalized be embodied in public space and through transformative processes? Can the aesthetic, political, and psychological be negotiated in relation?

Krzysztof Wodiczko lives and works in New York and Boston. He is Professor of Art, Design and the Public Domain at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, Cambridge, and has exhibited internationally over the past five decades. Orkan Telhan is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Emerging Design Practices, at PennDesign. Aaron Levy is the Executive Director of Slought Foundation. Presented in partnership with the PennDesign Fine Arts Department and in solidarity with Penn for Immigrant Rights

3. Clarissa Martínez De Castro and "immigration reform"

Saturday October 6th, 2012; 5:30pm, Slought

What is the future of immigration reform? Is comprehensive immigration reform possible? What role do youth have in shaping this reform, and advocating for the 11 million people in the United States that are currently living undocumented? How can we expand citizenship to include a discussion of marginalization and immigrant rights?

Clarissa Martínez De Castro is the Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Presented in partnership with Penn for Immigrant Rights, and the second annual Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform.

4. Kirk James and "Mass Incarceration"

In conversation with undergraduate students and Aaron Levy
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013; 12:00pm, Slought

How can we address the societal factors that have contributed to mass incarceration and systemic disenfranchisement? As students, educators, and concerned citizens, what role can we play in the successful reentry of the formerly incarcerated into our communities?

Kirk James is the Director of the Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI) in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. The student participants - Skylar Butler, Forrest Clancy, Gionni Ponce, Juliette Reiss, and Isabelle Sun - explored questions around citizenship, statelessness, and denaturalization in an undergraduate Spring 2013 course entitled "Cities Without Citizens" offered at the University of Pennsylvania and taught by Aaron Levy. Presented in partnership with the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania

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Scholars Eduardo Cadava and Aaron Levy join archival materials from the Rosenbach Museum with essays by Giorgio Agamben, Eyal Weizman and others in order to raise questions about citizenship, human rights, and the architecture of cities.

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Begins May 11, 2009

A conversation with Peter Alexander Meyers and others on citizenship, violence, and the continuation of the Cold War

Begins Apr 23, 2015

A conversation with Danielle Allen about social trust, citizenship, and institution building

Begins Jul 9, 2003

Drawing from Rosenbach Museum archives, this exhibition explores the limits and conditions of citizenship in early and modern times