History of the Passport by R. Mongia
(Some of these points are taken out straight from the professors PowerPoint)
Three main concepts/topics are nation, race and state in relation to the history of the modern
Analysis: passport is not only a technology reflecting certain understandings of race, nationality
and state but was central to organizing and securing the modern definitions of these categories.
1 premise (argument):
• What we understand as the nation-state (as a geopolitical body, ideology, and material
reality) comes into existence, not before, but during the process of ‘raced migration’
– Raced migration: “non-state-assisted, ‘free’migration to Europe or to white settler
colonies originating outside Europe”
Raced-migration that generates a state monopoly over migration practices and the
passport gives us the modern overlap of the state, the nation and race.An overlap that
produces “race” as a national attribute codified in the state document of the passport.
2 premise (argument):
• In order to trace the history/genealogy of the modern nation-state (in the context of
empire) we need to take into account the “global context of colonialism and racism”
– Passport emerges in this context not just as a document, but as a mechanism to
– The term nationalize captures the intimate articulation between the terms “nation”
and “state” even as it brings the unpredictability of this articulation into stark
Why focus on the passport?
– the passport emerges as a key technology
• “to secure and organize the modern definition” of nation, state, race
• the idea of “raced migration” effects the state monopoly over migration
(freedom of movement)