Cover: Civic Longing: The Speculative Origins of U.S. Citizenship, from Harvard University PressCover: Civic Longing in HARDCOVER

Civic Longing

The Speculative Origins of U.S. Citizenship

Add to Cart

Product Details


$46.50 • £37.95 • €42.00

ISBN 9780674976153

Publication Date: 01/11/2018


320 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

4 halftones, 1 table


Hyde makes a persuasive case for the importance of literature to the development of American understandings of citizenship… Hyde’s book is one that historians will need to ponder.—Andrew Diemer, American Historical Review

Impressive… Traces the retroactive and fluctuating ways in which citizenship has been defined in the United States since the days of the Founding Fathers.—Paul Giles, Australian Book Review

Hyde’s excellent book makes a strong case for the role of culture and literature in shaping American understandings of what it meant to be a member of the nation in the era before the 14th amendment asserted law’s authority.—Johann N. Neem, Civil War Book Review

Civic Longing is extremely valuable for its exploration of genres that legal scholars would not traditionally turn to when tracing the ancestry of our modern conception of citizenship. These alternative sources offer some important insights into how imagined citizenship affects the development of legal constructs… Hyde’s analysis is sophisticated and detailed. Her mastery of her selected sources is impressive, and the conclusions she draws from these sources are persuasive.—D. Carolina Núñez, Tulsa Law Review

Civic Longing provides an exciting new framework for evaluating the political influence of literature in the antebellum nation… Conceptualizing citizenship through literary renderings of displacement marks this book’s most significant contribution to the field. By shifting our understanding of citizenship from an experience of collective belonging to an imaginative experience of longing, Hyde’s work provides a new way to think about the political influence of literature and the sentimental dynamics of national affiliation.—Keri Holt, William & Mary Quarterly

Hyde takes the reader on an intellectual grand tour of citizenship as it has applied to the American context. That tour includes references to Western ‘contract’ theorists, the founders, the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and anti-slavery writers.Choice

In this provocative interdisciplinary study, Carrie Hyde explores the various ways that U.S. citizenship was imagined and reimagined prior to the Fourteenth Amendment. One of her great contributions is to show how writings by Hawthorne, Douglass, Stowe, and many others played a fundamental role in shaping pre-1868 notions of U.S. citizenship. Beautifully written and brilliantly argued, Civic Longing offers fresh insights into the nineteenth century while speaking to vexing issues in our own time.—Robert S. Levine, University of Maryland

How did Americans imagine citizenship before the Fourteenth Amendment? By attending to philosophy, religion, law, literature, and education, Carrie Hyde’s smart, sharp, and unique book provides a new history (perhaps even a prehistory) for a central but often undefined term in American political life.—Eric Slauter, University of Chicago

Civic Longing is a meticulously researched, elegantly written, and timely study of the early American conception of citizenship. Carrie Hyde shows persuasively how literature and literary analysis help to fashion the categories through which we imagine our affiliations. At a time when the humanities are under attack from a variety of sources, these carefully articulated and demonstrated claims are especially salient.—Priscilla Wald, Duke University

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, from Harvard University Press

“Predictive Policing” and Racial Profiling

While technology used in policing has improved, it hasn’t progressed, says Khalil Gibran Muhammad, if racial biases are built into those new technologies. This excerpt from his book, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, shows that for the reform called for by the current protests against systemic racism and racially-biased policing to be fulfilled, the police—especially those at the top—will need to change their pre-programmed views on race and the way they see the Black citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect.”