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Fetal citizens? Birthright citizenship, reproductive futurism, and the "panic" over Chinese birth tourism in southern California

Wang, Sean H

Environment and planning. D. Society & space. Volume 35:Number 2 (2017); pp 263-280 -- SAGE Publications Ltd

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  • Title:
    Fetal citizens? Birthright citizenship, reproductive futurism, and the "panic" over Chinese birth tourism in southern California
  • Author: Wang, Sean H
  • Found In: Environment and planning. D. Society & space. Volume 35:Number 2 (2017); pp 263-280
  • Journal Title: Environment and planning. D. Society & space
  • Subjects: Sciences sociales--Périodiques; Human ecology--Periodicals; Human geography--Periodicals; Social sciences--Periodicals; Spatial behavior--Periodicals; Ruimtelijke ordening; Periodicals; Social sciences; Birthright citizenship--reproductive futurism--birth tourism--immigration--temporality--critical media studies; Dewey: 304.2305
  • Rights: legaldeposit
  • Publication Details: SAGE Publications Ltd
  • Abstract:

    In September 2012, residents of Chino Hills, California—a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles—exposed a maternity hotel in their city. Subsequently, controversy erupted as protesting residents argued that Chinese birth tourism is an immigration loophole, where foreigners took advantage of jus soli birthright citizenship guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This paper uses this controversy as a springboard to explore how temporalities—both the past and the future—come to shape politics in the present. Considering reproductive futurism in the contexts of citizenship and migrations, this paper argues that the figure of the fetal citizen emerges as the defining site of struggle between preserving, or exposing, the fantasy of a national future. Reports of panic over Chinese birth tourism, then, show how "backwards" racialized citizenship is continually brought to this present struggle, especially vis-a-vis discourses of the "worthy immigrant" and "anchor babies", to determine who may give birth to citizens in the U.S.


  • Identifier: System Number: LDEAvdc_100068893466.0x000001; Journal ISSN: 0263-7758; 10.1177/0263775816679832
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): ELD Digital store

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