Law And The Borders Of Belonging By Barbara Young Welke Analysis

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Barbara Young Welke, a professor of history and law at the University of Minnesota, in her book, Law and the Borders of Belonging in the Long Nineteenth Century United States, discusses how law constructs borders through creating a legal place for the other. The author primarily studies and writes within the areas of 19th and 20th century legal history, as she continues to present in this book. Barbara’s purpose for this book is to provide an educational foundation of historical policies and legal practices for why racism and discrimination is so present in the United States today. Welke particularly focuses on the groups of racialized others, women, and disabled persons by providing the legal precedence for those groups along with personal narratives from those individuals. The author produces her argument over the construction of law and borders of belonging by identifying concepts of citizenship, …show more content…
These ideals, according to the author, shape the foundation for the borders of belonging. The author defines personhood as, “legal recognition and protection of self-ownership, that is, of a right to one’s person, one’s body, and one’s labor” (Welke, 3). Essentially, the author works to convey the essence of individuality under the law, including the accessibility that certain groups have to legal recognition and self protection. Therefore, the author, through introducing her analysis of personhood, reveals how personhood and citizenship are interdependent. Welke then introduces her understanding of citizenship as she states, “citizenship is often defined in terms of a set of formal rights and obligations, for example, the right to sue in national courts, the right to the protection of the state when traveling abroad, and so on. But what such definition fails to capture is the reflexive relationship in the liberal state between personhood and citizenship” (Welke,

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