What does it mean to be a citizen of the world in the twenty-first century? Robin Hemley wrestles with this question in Borderline Citizen as he takes the reader on a singular journey through the hinterlands of national identity.
Part reportage, part memoir, part meditation, the hybridity of Borderline Citizen... befits its subject ... Borderline Citizen makes not only for interesting historical reading, but an absorbing vantage on our contemporary crises of belonging ... These case studies reveal a necessary part of the angst of globalization: it is not that the nation has been invaded, but that its myth has begun to expire.
Robin Hemley’s erudite essay collection...probes the meaning of nationality ... Profiling enclaves and exclaves, overseas territories, and displaced people, the essays reveal the human and environmental costs of fighting for something which cannot be truly owned or defined ... incongruous details infuse a playful humor into serious situations ... As a whole, the collection acknowledges human beings’ yearning to be part of a collective, but also illuminates the unforeseen, tragic, and sometimes hilarious consequences of belonging ... a thought-provoking work that troubles the complexities of nationhood.
Because many of the chapters were previously published...the narrative doesn’t always cohere, and some of the complexities of border rivalries and histories can be difficult to apprehend quickly. However, this may be an element of Hemley’s overall theme about how lands can change allegiances and alliances many times without the natives themselves changing ... Engaging bits about intriguing lands, all in service of trying to 'understand the complexities of the world.'