Questions of national (be)longing – critical and theoretical engagements with citizenship

Date & time
9am–5pm Friday 19 May 2023

Moot Court, ANU College of Law


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Presented by ANU Gender Institute, ANU Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities

Australia desert landscape
Image: Monika Nuemann/Pixabay

In Australia, a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament is set to be held during this parliamentary term. This moment follows the recent Love/Thoms High Court decision which raises legal questions of constitutional belonging. In this context, questions of citizenship are currently at the forefront of Australia’s national consciousness.

This Symposium invites interdisciplinary imaginings of citizenship’s stakes in Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region, but potentially more widely. Citizenship is an abstract concept with a concrete history and a capacity to affect individual, national, regional and global imaginings of belonging. The legal status of citizenship operates at the intersection of law, culture, and politics, and is marked by a tension between individualism and membership of a political community.

This Symposium is generously supported by ANU College of Law, the ANU Gender Institute and the ANU Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities.


Download program and abstracts.

8.45-9am Registration
9-9.10am Welcome and Acknowledgment of Country
9.10-10.15am Panel 1: Citizenship on Indigenous land: belonging, place and sovereignty
Speaker 1: Asmi Wood, “Arrogating the power to decide over Aboriginal people’s place on this continent: the Executive’s position in Love v Thoms”
Speaker 2:  Elisa Arcioni (online), “Territoriality at the heart of membership: insights into community”
10.15-10.30am Break: morning tea
10.30-11.45am Panel 2: Imperialism, citizenship and crisis
Speaker 1: Adil Hasan Khan (online), “An imperial genealogy of the practices of minority management and protection: the making of a citizenship crisis in South Asia”
Speaker 2: Christoph Sperfeldt, “Citizenship and statelessness: reflections from Cambodia”
Speaker 3: South Asian Research and Advocacy Hub (SARAH), “Identity in the Australian Colonial-State and the ‘ongoing struggle for [Australian] Indians’ souls’”
11.45am-1pm Panel 3: Constructing the good citizen
Speaker 1: Gianmaria Lenti (online), “Burden or benefit? How Australian Federal Policy stigmatises aspiring residents living with HIV”
Speaker 2: Anne Macduff, “Constructing the ideal citizen: good character, citizenship values and the Australian national identity”
Speaker 3: Melany Toombs, “The National Subject: the acquisition and removal of citizenship from a gendered perspective”
1-1.30pm Lunch
1.30-2.50pm Panel 4: Citizenship: exclusions and agency
Speaker 1: Kate Ogg and Olivera Simic, “Broken bonds: Australia’s COVID-19 border policies and transformations of conceptualisations of citizenship”
Speaker 2: Jaskiran Kaur Rekhraj, “Citizenship and statelessness: the issue of belonging and place in the world”
Speaker 3: Makiko Nishitani, “‘Innocent illegal’ migrants: exploring ‘citizenship’ and belonging through the migration of Pacific children to Australia”
Speaker 4: Kim Rubenstein, “Overcoming the ‘migration integrity’ paradigm — moving from citizenship as exclusion to citizenship as nation-building”
2.50-3.05pm Break: afternoon tea
3.05-3.50pm Panel 5:  Emotions of Citizenship
Speaker 1: Amy Hamilton, “Metaphors of citizenship: tethered/severed bonds and ties in Love and Benang”
Speaker 2: Jordana Silverstein, "The emotions of statelessness and citizenship"

Panel 6: Citizenship’s past
Speaker 1: Peter Prince (online), “How did Australia’s High Court get the history of Indigenous belonging so wrong?”
Speaker 2: Susan Hutchinson


  • Asmi Wood »

    Asmi Wood’s current research and publications have centred around two main topics; firstly, Constitutional recognition of Indigenous people in Australia and secondly, Indigenous Participation in Higher Education. The Australian Parliament, both Committees and individuals, Government agencies, community organisations, schools and Indigenous groups have all used Asmi’s research to clarify key issues among staff, invited Asmi to speak at their public events and make contributions to their literature. His research has included policy papers, law reform submissions and articles or chapters in journals and books.

  • Elisa Arcioni »

    Elisa Arcioni is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Law School. Her teaching and research is in public law. She focuses on constitutional law – in particular questions of membership and exclusion. Elisa is the leading scholar of ‘the people’ in Australia and has published domestically and internationally. Her most recent work has focused on the relationship between First Nations and the Constitution, as seen in ‘Montgomery’ (2022) 44 Sydney Law Review 137 (with K Gover), ‘Membership of the Voice’ (March/April 2023) Public Law Review and ‘Competing visions of the people’ (2023 forthcoming) 1 Comparative Constitutional Law.

  • Amy Hamilton »

    Amy Hamilton is a PhD candidate at the ANU College of Law. Her thesis examines representations of Australian citizenship in law and literature. She is interested in exploring the broader questions of identity, belonging and attachment that Australian citizenship evokes.

  • Dr Adil Hasan Khan »

    Dr Adil Hasan Khan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Laureate Research Program on Global Corporations and International Law at the Melbourne Law School in Australia. He is currently a Visitor at the School of Social Studies in the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton. He researches in the fields of human rights, jurisprudence, and international legal histories.

  • Gianmaria Lenti »

    Gianmaria Lenti is a PhD in Social Anthropology from the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, and he is currently appointed as Honorary Affiliate Researcher at the Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe University in Melbourne. His primary research explores the subjectivities, experiences and emotions of migrants in Mexico and Turkey. He completed a MSc. in Development and International Relations - Global Refugee Studies at Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark, after finalizing a BA. in Languages and Cultural Mediation at the University of Roma Tre, Italy. He is currently a tutor in Sociology at La Trobe University.

  • Dr Anne Macduff »

    Dr Anne Macduff is a Senior Lecturer at the ANU College of Law. Drawing upon a range of critical theories, including feminist, postcolonial and queer theories, Anne Macduff's research explores how law devalues difference. 
She has a particular interest in exploring issues of law and identity, including race, gender and sexuality. Anne's PhD thesis challenged the claim that Australian citizenship law is neutral and inclusive, and argues that the current laws construct a particular racialized and gendered citizen subject. Anne's interest in critically examining the way law excludes certain identities includes other areas of law, including tenancy, public law and family law.
 Anne's research also explores the way that legal education devalues difference. Anne has published on critical thinking, reflection (with Marlene Le Brun) and portfolios (with Dr Chris Trevitt). She has also published on student workload (with Lynn Du Moulin).

  • Makiko Nishitani »

    Makiko Nishitani is a lecturer in anthropology in the Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe University. She has worked with various Pacific Islander migrants across generations, ethnicities and migration statuses in Australia on multiple research projects and her research informed the public hearing of the Inquiry into Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia and a United Nations consultation on business and human rights. Her latest work produced a website containing film narratives of education and career trajectories of Pacific youth ( The project has resulted in her latest partnership with Microsoft and Mildura Senior College in 2023.

  • Dr Kate Ogg »

    Dr Kate Ogg is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Higher Degree Research) at the ANU College of Law. Her areas of research are refugee law, human rights, litigation, and feminist legal theory and method. Kate is the author of ‘Protection from Refuge: From Refugee Rights to Migration Management’ (Cambridge University Press, 2022). The monograph is the first global and comparative examination of the role courts play in refugee journeys. In 2021, Kate was part of a team that was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant to conduct a study on private refugee sponsorship.

  • Peter Prince »

    Peter Prince has been writing for two decades about legal identity and belonging in 19th and 20th century Australia. He has published articles, papers and blogs on the implications of this history for the right to belong in modern Australia. His work has been cited by the High Court of Australia in critical 'aliens' cases including Singh (2004), Love&Thoms (2020) and Chetcuti (2021). He is co-editor with Kate Bagnall of Subjects and Aliens: Histories of Nationality, Law and Belonging in Australia and New Zealand (ANU Press 2023, forthcoming). He is an affiliate of the University of Sydney Law School.

  • Jaskiran Kaur Rekhraj »

    Jaskiran Kaur Rekhraj, Lawyer (Immigration), Legal Aid ACT. I have been a practising lawyer for seven years specialising in migration and refugee law. I was previously employed in Nauru in international refugee law for asylum seekers detained in offshore detention. I worked in private immigration practise for four years working matters across the immigration portfolio including primary applications including protection, family, humanitarian and skilled migration, character and discretionary visa cancellations, ministerial intervention requests, merits review and judicial review applications. I also completed a Masters of Laws in International Security Law from ANU in 2020.

  • South Asian Research and Advocacy Hub (SARAH) »

    The South Asian Research and Advocacy Hub (SARAH) is a legal research group run by and for the South Asian diasporas. We operate as part of the ANU College of Law’s, Law Reform & Social Justice Program. The aim of our work is to explore and advocate for the condition, identity, and future of the Australian South-Asian diaspora.

  • And many more »

    View full list of speakers here



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