Legislating Gender, Grammars of Race: Citizenship, Statelessness, and Velma Demerson’s Incorrigible

  • Ranbir K. Banwait


The violent legacies of modern citizenship continue to resurface in debates today about the values of birthright citizenship, belonging and statelessness. Velma Demerson’s Incorrigible, an autobiographical text about a young, white woman who is incarcerated and experimented on because she has a Chinese fiancé in 1939, returns us to the first half of the twentieth century, and reveals the paradoxes, and circular logic, of citizenship discourse in Canada. 

Author Biography

Ranbir K. Banwait
Ranbir K Banwait completed her PhD in English from Simon Fraser University. Her areas of specialization are in Asian Canadian literary studies and postcolonial studies. Her doctoral research draws on feminist theory, affect theory, and biopolitics to argue for the need to historicize the body through feeling in contemporary Asian Canadian literature.