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"Passport, please": legal, literary, and critical fictions of identity.


(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country including his own, and to return to his country.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 13

The right to travel is a part of the 'liberty' of which the citizen cannot be deprived without the due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. ... Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country, may be necessary for a livelihood. It may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.

Mr. Justice Douglas, delivering the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Kent v. Dulles, April 1958.

Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

(Canada Act 1982), [Section]6 (1) "Mobility' Rights"

In practice, however, this right can only be exercised when one is granted the privilege of a passport - an identification document established during World War I as a temporary security measure that was soon adopted, and never abandoned, around the world. Once again, ideology and practice appear to be in opposition: the hegemonic recognition of individual freedom of movement, its prominent place in the structure of feelings of Western countries (from popular "road movies"to supreme court decisions recognizing it as "part of our heritage") is contradicted by the extensive range of government prerogatives where passports are concerned. Each state retains the authority to dispense travel documents (passports, visas, work permits) at will, simply through bureaucratic regulations, and thereby reserves the right to locate and control individuals and peoples according to the changing demands of economic, social, and political contingencies. From the late 1930s to the 1950s, for example, all American applicants were subject to the scrutiny and approval of Ruth B. Shipley, who became Chief of the Passport Division in 1938. A 1941 New York Times magazine profile highlighted the extent of her powers: "Although she has ninety assistants in the passport division,"Harold Hinton explained, "Mrs. Shipley examines each application personally. Despite this extra work she never seems hurried. The door to her office is always open, and any applicant with a grievance can see that she is there and can walk right in, and people of high and low degree do. ... She is completely immovable, however, once a decision has been reached, according to those who have watched her at work for years. She has an inexhaustible fund of patience during the negotiating period, but when she has once said 'no,' the disappointed applicant might as well save himself further conversation"(21). A 1948 news report confirmed her ongoing, "complete discretion to grant or reject [a] request"for a passport (New York Times 14). How can an unelected, unknown bureaucrat wield so much power? How can her counterparts operate in consular offices worldwide (Wildes 887-909)? What forms of rationality allow these potentially draconian administrative procedures and instruments to appear so common-sensical and benign? Why, in short, is Mrs. Shipley, or her authority, almost unimaginable and therefore largely unquestioned?

Perhaps because we are accustomed to thinking in universal terms such as the State and the People, Ideology and Practice, Truth and Falsehood - binaries which inevitably exclude the everyday exigencies of actual governmental procedures. Following the work of Michel Foucault, this paper considers power differently, by focusing on a particular instance of its exercise - the passport - and by analyzing this document as a matrix in which specific relations of power (such as control over exit and entry, determination of the individual's status within and without sovereign borders) and domains of knowledge (concerning individual and national identities, citizenship, security, territory) are articulated, and from which other relations are excluded (subjectivity, cultural hybridization). The passport is emblematic of governmentality, or the "art of government" invented by modernity and implemented as the dominant mode of power in the twentieth century. This method of government - a form of bio-power - targets the life of the one and the many, of the population as a whole and of each individual.(1) It works not only through laws and regulations securing the biological, economic, and political health of the nation, but also through the fostering of individual pleasures and passions, desires and ambitions - our very sense of who we are. The passport, as an instrument of governmentality, instantiates some of the mechanisms that subject individuals through their identification - in terms of nationality, gender, race, class, and the plethora of ever more specifying subcategories such as alienage, patriality, residency, asylum, visitorship. The passport in Western industrialized countries exemplifies one of the many governmental tactics devised to cope with the consequences of nationalism, imperialism, and decolonization in the twentieth century - tactics often justified as measured responses to an unsettling shift from cultural homogeneity to heterogeneity.

But to focus solely on legislation and bureaucratic procedures is to be confined within their realm; what seems so feasible in administrative terms (identification, control, localization) is effectively problematized elsewhere. To apprehend all that has been rendered unimaginable by the discourse of law and the techniques of governance, other discursive practices must be implicated, including debates in the British House of Commons, press reports, League of Nations' conference proceedings, state commissions of inquiry, academic journals, and most of all, for our purposes, literature. Literary texts are especially useful for a discursive critique of the problematic of identity: whereas in legal terms, individuals and nations can be identified through a limited number of fixed markers, literary fictions can display them as discursive processes of elaboration, in which conflicting forces converge, disperse, and even at times annul each other. Examining the intersections and bifurcations of the discourses of law and literature as they elaborate fictions of identity provides a new perspective on the "politics of identity," and its possibilities for resistance and transformation. Our purpose, therefore, is not to present a series of "passport scenes"in order to trace literary representations of social conflicts.(2) Instead, we consider modernist and contemporary texts which reveal, sustain, or counter the processes that make passports "make sense." Stated as broadly as possible, we want to show how the culture that produced the passport as a means to secure the nation and claim its citizens also produced The Waste Land: how discussions in the House of Lords decrying the miserable life imposed on British subjects because their neighborhoods were being invaded and disfigured by hordes of "aliens" - a political discourse lamenting the adulteration of the English way of life - must be correlated to the "revolutions" of modernist poetry, which question, parody, and fragment all forms of homogeneity, all the while lamenting its loss. T.S. Eliot's wasteland, in other words, is formed, and feels, like the modern neighborhood - an uneasy assemblage of (at times warring) factions, or, in Foucault's terms, a piecemeal fabrication of alien forms (1984:78).

Thus, our method is not to develop a causal argument, teleologically unfolding the necessary imbrications of economics, politics, legislation, and aesthetics in a cause-and-effect chain culminating in literary "expressions." Instead, we demonstrate the contiguities and divergences, the correlations and contradictions existing among different discursive practices, which together produce multiple truths and exert actual relations of force; we trace the varying reiteration of questions of essence, nation, race, homogeneity, adulteration, transformation, and hybridization to map their conditions of possibility and dissemination. Our text interrupts, cites, and enfolds others, to allow intertextual vectors to emerge and discursive remanences in the archive to come to light. Through this enfolding of legal, literary, and critical elaborations of identity, our argument, or critical fiction, takes form.(3) Its purpose is not to reimagine the probability of past historical processes, but to seek their potential for transformation in the future - or now.

The following section, "On alienage," begins a "thin history"of the modern passport, examining its emergence in World War I and its maintenance in peacetime as a particularly prized security measure to ensure (and thereby produce) the integrity of the nation and its citizens, while strengthening the state. Section III, "Who shall remember my house," interrupts this history of legal and governmental tactics to examine their traces in then-contemporary literature. It focuses on texts by Henry James and T.S. Eliot, which address questions of nationhood and citizenship, homogeneity and adulteration, from different angles: while the pre-war American Scene (1906) registers the unsettling effects, for the American identity, of immigrant settlements in New York City, the post-war Waste Land (1922) can barely contain the fragments and cacophonous voices of the Unreal City. Together, these texts expose the dangers of governmental attempts to normalize and regulate identity, yet nonetheless presuppose the latter's value. Section IV contextualizes the previous legal and literary fictions of identity within the broader theoretical framework of governmentality. Foucault's critique of this mode of power is then correlated to Virginia Woolf's inscription of its effects on the lives of Mrs. Dalloway and her circle. Together, these texts reveal the productive aspects of power relations, the ways in which they overdetermine and rarify life rather than merely protect or circumscribe identities. The problem then is not the loss of identity, but the exercise of modern power through its production, at both the individual and national levels. A brief examination of the American government's post-World War II tactical use of the passport as a means to discipline citizens and make them respect foreign policy further documents this point. The fifth section, "On communities," examines how passports are being redeployed and communities reimagined in the 1990s - in legal, economic, and political terms by the European Union (EU), and in historical, narrative terms in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. The analysis juxtaposes two strategies for building communities after the devastation of war: the top-down, governmental approach taken by member states of the EU, which has established a new legal entity with its own identity and citizenship (including a transnational passport), and the alternate, fragile, anti-national, anti-racist communal attempts delineated in Ondaatje's novel. These analyses lead us finally to "Facing governments," which suggests the possibility of an international citizenship of the governed, its rights and duties, and the necessary conditions for its emergence. Thus, rather than trace the evolution of the passport, we begin its genealogy by surveying the different scenes in which it appears in this century to play different roles.


The modern passport was variously instituted by Western governments during World War I in order to control the traffic of citizens and aliens at their borders, in the interests of national security. Prior to that, travel had been more or less unrestricted, Russia being the great exception.(4) The term "passport, "an English adaptation of the French words passer and port, referred to a range of travel documents and letters of permission which both eased travel for individuals and allowed governments to oversee mobility and control dissidence. The archive of mobility restrictions begins in 1093, when King William I forbade Anselm, a newly-appointed archbishop, to travel to Rome to visit Pope Urban II; this incident resulted in a victory of the Crown over the Vatican with the Constitutions of Clarendon (Fagen 387-388). In effect, King William was invoking the privilege of Ne Exeat Regno. The origins of the writ are obscure, but it was granted statutory basis by Richard II in 1381 (Parker 867); it commands that a man "not go beyond the seas or out of the realm without a license. . . . Because we are given to understand that you design to go privately into foreign parts and intend to prosecute there many things prejudicial to us"(Parker 867). To offset this prerogative, section 41 of the Magna Carta signed by King John in 1215 "granted merchants 'safe and secure exit from England and entry to England,'" and section 42 promised that "'It shall be lawful in the future for anyone (excepting always those imprisoned or outlawed) [t]o leave our kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water, except for a short period in time of war, on grounds of public policy - reserving always the allegiance due to us'" (Fagen 388; our emphasis). The future of section 42, however, was short-lived: it was omitted by John's successor, Henry, III, when he reissued the Magna Carta one year later in 1216. It would take almost four hundred years for the writ of Ne Exeat Regno to be repealed; Lansing credits this legal turn to the rise of "the theory of the natural rights of the individual" (16): "by 1607 the writ was no longer in general use except when used as an equity instrument to insure the whereabouts of debtors and defendants"(16; and Parker 867-68).

At the turn of the twentieth century, successive British governments enacted a series of measures to control the movements of aliens across and within their borders (Aliens Restriction Acts of 1905, 1914, and 1919, and the Aliens Order of 1920). Aliens, for example, could be required "to reside and remain within certain places or districts"; they could also be prohibited from "residing or remaining in any areas specified in the Order" (Aliens Restriction Act, 1914, [Sections]1 [d] and [e]). The general effect of such legislation was to transform everyone into a potential alien: "If any question arises on any proceedings under any such Order, or with reference to anything done or proposed to be done under any such Order, whether any person is an alien or not, or is an alien of a particular class or not, the onus of proving that that person is not an alien, or, as the case may be, is not an alien of that class, shall lie upon that person"(Aliens Restriction Act, 1914, [Section]4). One year later, passports temporarily became compulsory for anyone landing in or leaving the United Kingdom, as required by regulation 14c of the amended Defense of the Realm Act. To this day, British citizens, while not legally required to present a passport to customs officials, must satisfy the latter as to their identity and nationality. And the passport remains the most convenient means of doing so.

Mobility rights were not explicitly mentioned in the American Constitution; subsequent legal opinions have found them to be protected by the First and Fifth Amendments. The first American "passport" was issued on July 8, 1796, "as a letter of introduction to U.S. officials abroad and a request for safe conduct to foreign governments" (Fagen 392). In 1918, however, the Travel Control Act made passports compulsory for anyone either leaving or entering the U.S. (Farber 265-66), measures that went unchanged until 1921.(5) The 1926 Act to Regulate the Issue and Validity of Passports (passed by Congress two months after the League of Nations Passport Conference; see below) authorized "the Secretary of State to issue passports under such rules as the President may prescribe. No statutory standards [were] provided" (Farber 266). Title 22 of the Act, "Foreign Relations and Intercourse," included three sections crucial for the definition of power relations, established by the passport, between the government and the governed. Section 211 reaffirmed that the Secretary of State may - but need not - grant and issue passports on behalf of the President;(6) Section 212 specified that, "No passport shall be granted or issued to or verified for any other persons than those owing allegiance, whether citizens or not, to the United States"; Section 213 further insists that the passport could not and would not be issued until the applicant had sworn an oath of allegiance (c.4 S.211-227, Stat. 657). Thus travel documents served both to subjectivize individuals who had to swear allegiance to the nation ("whether citizens or not"), and to generate new and extensive discretionary powers for the government.

In both Britain and the United States, the passport is a document granted, in the name of a head of state, by an authorized agent, to a named individual. This triadic relation distributes various rights, obligations, and requests. All passports bear the state's request that its subject be granted protection and safe conduct. The passport bearer is obliged to be the person named by the document, and has the right to leave and re-enter his or her country of citizenship. The "returnability right" also applies at the governmental level: any country refusing entry to a non-national has the right to return that person to his or her country of origin. Finally, given that the individual does not own the passport, he or she is obliged to surrender it on demand: "This passport remains the property of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and may be withdrawn at any time"; "THIS PASSPORT IS THE PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IT MUST BE SURRENDERED UPON DEMAND BY AN AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE."(7)

But what does the passport identify? Individual bodies as social identities: in addition to the name (is the face presented reiterated in the standardized and counter-signed photograph?), primary physical data (sex, age, height, weight), and a history of previous travels (stamps affixed by customs and immigration agents), a series of apparently innocuous entries (photograph, stipulations as to sex and occupation) constructs individual identity according to gender, race, and class. Gender implications can only be discovered at the level of administrative and legal measures; in many countries, the privilege of obtaining a pass, port, or maintaining citizenship, is differently distributed according to sex.(8) Race must be surmised by the photograph; class, by the "occupation" entry. Class also affects the application process itself: the form must be countersigned by a member of the "respectable classes" - a lawyer, a physician, a priest, or a police officer can attest to the truthfulness of the information provided, but not a plumber. University professors qualify in North America, but not in the U.K.(9) Interestingly, the first modern passports redoubled the photograph's burden of proof with verbal descriptions resonant with phrenological and physiognomic implications. As Paul Fussell puts it, "'Forehead' had to be described ('medium' was a favorite), like nose ('straight,"normal,"hooked,' etc.), mouth ('medium,"normal'. . .), chin ('small'), complexion ('fresh,"ruddy') and face ('-square,"round,"oval')" (28-29).(10)

While these verbal markers have since been eliminated, the discriminatory processes which they implied have not. As manifested in the minutes of the 1920 and 1926 League of Nations' Passport Conferences, the passport system was always entangled with issues of labor, race, immigration, and gender. Trying to keep the issues separate was a recurring problem for the delegates. M. de Gomory-Laiml of Hungary optimistically maintained that, "If [the delegates] could reach an agreement on passport questions, the emigration questions would settle themselves" (Minutes 1926:13). The Hungarian delegation also proposed that any passport and visa restrictions warranted by "internal difficulties of an economic nature (labor market)" should "only be applied in individual cases. They [should] not be applied to whole categories of persons on account of their nationality, race, or any other quality" (Minutes 1926:158). But the Conference was warned by Mr. Jenkin that "South Africa would never agree to such a principle" (Minutes 1926: 52). Jenkin's xenophobic comments, and their racist implications, underline the fervor with which national ontological identities were being reforged - and protected - at that time. A homogenous Englishness, for example, was at stake, a uniqueness for which "race" was the most commonly used (though misapplied) marker. In his May 1924 speech "On England and the West," once and future prime minister(11) Stanley Baldwin praised "the English stock," that "great stock of which we are all members," and lauded "the gifts of that great English race"(Giles and Middleton 102).

In effect, nationalism took a governmental turn in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the passport was one of a series of ad hoc legal measures which defined and controlled aliens while delimiting the nation within. This was not a new phenomenon. In 1793, for example, the British Aliens Bill was specifically enacted to prevent the entry or immigration of certain "dangerous" or "objectionable persons" associated with the French Revolution and the massacres of Paris (Sibley 39). But these were always temporary acts responding to immediate circumstances. The 1905 Aliens Act was the first permanent law which codified the "fact" of alienage as a constitutive national problem. Although, like its predecessors, it was ostensibly targeted at "undesirable aliens" only, in practice it addressed two imperatives: the need to restrict a new influx of Russians (Sibley 14) and to limit the total number of immigrants. In their treatise on the 1905 Aliens Act, barristers N.W. Sibley and A. Elias quietly acknowledged in a footnote that

the numbers of alien immigration, possesses very serious claims to attention. . . . In the House of Lords, the Bishop of London observed that "there were 63,000 aliens in Stepney alone, and 107 streets were said to have been acquired by aliens in six years. This meant a great displacement of British residents. It was estimated that 52,000 English people had left the district during the last decade. With such large numbers of people pouring into the district and making life almost unbearable for those who lived here, he felt that their lordships were justified in passing the [law]." (39-40n)

In 1906, Sibley and Elias noted the "desuetude into which the passport system [was] falling" (44n) - yet within a decade, a new, more refined system had been instigated worldwide. It is as though the passport emerged as the acceptable face, in the midst of crisis, of the racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic voices of nationalism that had been resonating, for more than forty years, in discourses as varied as the press, then-emerging "sciences" (criminology, paleoanthropology, sociology, ethnology), literature, popular culture, as well as from segments of the revolutionary right and left (Sternhell). The passport was the instrument which gave governments an expedient administrative (as opposed to constitutional or legal) power to restrict immigration - the latter, of course, always being cited as a necessary measure for the security and integrity of national identity.(12)

Interestingly, the problematic of a nationalist essence, homogenous and pure, was contradictorily played out in the fiction of names - the last words for legal and governmental identity - in Britain and the U.S. In 1917, all German-sounding names and titles in the British royal family were expunged: "the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became the House of Windsor; their Serene Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Teck became transformed by the surname Cambridge; and Battenberg - the name of one of the most illustrious families of 19th- and 20th-century Europe - became Mountbatten"(Wier 317).(13) For the sovereign to be "at home," truly representative of his people, King George V had to change his name. But to preserve the integrity of said national home, others were expressly forbidden to do so after the war. The Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act of 1919 categorically stated: "An alien shall not for any purpose assume or use or purport to assume or use or continue after the commencement of this Act the assumption or use of any name other than that by which he was ordinarily known on the fourth day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen [the date when Britain declared war on Germany]" (7.1). The United States adopted exactly the opposite tactic - immigration officers routinely altered the names of immigrants at the border - but to the same end: to ensure the integrity of the American national identity and to protect its "exact essence." Yet, as Foucault suggests in his discussion of Nietzsche and genealogy, essence is pure fabrication:

Why does Nietzsche challenge the pursuit of the origin (Ursprtmg)[?]. . . . First, because it is an attempt to capture the exact essence of things, their purest possibilities, and their carefully protected identities; because this search assumes the existence of immobile forms that precede the external world of accident and succession. This search is directed to "that which is already there," the image of a primordial truth fully adequate to its nature. and it necessitates the removal of every mask to ultimately disclose an original identity. However, if the gencalogist refuses to extend his faith in metaphysics, if he listens to history, he finds that there is "something altogether different" behind things: not a timeless and essential secret, but the secret that they have no essence or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms. (Language 142)


In 1906, Henry James found himself in a situation that baffled him: after twenty years of being the American in Europe, he returned to New York City only to find that Europe was already there. The American Scene (a narrative of his travels from New England to Florida) is unable to understand the new relations of neighborhood being forged, and their implications for the "American" identity.(15) "A Spring Impression" of Manhattan registers "the taste of each dish in the banquet":

The whole feast affects one as eaten - that is the point - with the general queer sauce of New York. . . . I must confess, notwithstanding, to not being quite ready to point directly to the common element in the dense Italian neighborhoods of the lower East side, and in the upper reaches of Fifth and Madison Avenues; though indeed I did wonder at this inability in recollecting two or three of those charming afternoons of early summer, in Central Park, which showed the fruit of the foreign tree as shaken down there with a force that smothered everything else. The long residential vistas I have named were within a quarter of an hour's walk, but the alien was as truly in possession, under the high "aristocratic" nose, as if he had but three steps to come. If it be asked why, the alien still striking you so as an alien, the singleness of impression, throughout the place, should still be so marked, the answer, close at hand, would seem to be that the alien himself fairly makes the singleness of impression. Is not the universal sauce essentially his sauce, and do we not feel ourselves feeding, half the time, from the ladle, as greasy as he chooses to leave it for us, that he holds out?" (James 1907:114-115)(16)

If each of the incoming foreign identities claims universality, how can a single, true national identity survive and dominate?

"A Spring Impression" is trying to assimilate the effects of a scene described in the book's previous chapter: the arrival of "the million or so of immigrants annually knocking at our official door" at "terrible little Ellis Island" (James 1907:81).(17) The text is not unsympathetic to the "hundred forms and ceremonies" to which they are subjected, to the ways in which they are "marshalled, herded, divided, subdivided, sorted, sifted, searched, fumigated, for longer or shorter periods." Such passages belie any governmental claim that newcomers can be peacefully identified, categorized, and absorbed (or rejected) at the border. Yet "the effect of [this] prodigious process, an intendedly 'scientific' feeding of the mill" is never understood in terms of the immigrants themselves, but is rather limited to the consternation of the American observer: "[it gives] the earnest observer a thousand more things to think of than he can pretend to retail" (James 1907:82). Difficulties extend beyond the problem of classification, however: the place of observation is threatened, and the observer's identity transformed and marked anew (indelibly "stamped," like a passport) by the radical unsettling of established power-knowledge relations.

I think indeed that the simplest account of the action of Ellis Island on the spirit of any sensitive citizen who may have happened to "look in" is that he comes back from his visit not at all the same person that he went. He has eaten of the tree of knowledge, and the taste will be forever in his mouth. He had thought he knew before, thought he had the sense of the degree in which it is his American fate to share the sanctity of his American consciousness, the intimacy of his American patriotism, with the inconceivable alien; but the truth had never come home to him with any such force. In the lurid light projected upon it by those courts of dismay it shakes him - or I like at least to imagine it shakes him - to the depths of his being; I like to think of him, I positively have to think of him, as going about ever afterwards with a new look, for those who can see it, in his face, the outward sign of the new chill in his heart. So is stamped, for detection, the questionably privileged person who has had an apparition, seen a ghost in his supposedly safe old house. Let not the unwary, therefore, visit Ellis Island. (James 1907: 82-83)

Faced with a "houseful of foreigners, physiognomically branded as such" (James 1907: 191), the narrator cannot discern any form of collective, let alone national identity; the city - and by extension, the country - is overrun by strangers, marked by the disparate juxtapositions of "queer" differences. The integrity of national and individual identities can only be traced in the past: "There was no escape from the ubiquitous alien into the future, or even into the present; there was an escape but into the past" (James 1907:84). Who is "he" if he is not an American of the America he remembers? Henry James was "naturalized" as a British citizen in July 1915 (Edel 531).

James's "sanctified" childhood memories of a unified, stable, WASP American identity were not shared by T.S. Eliot, who derived no comfort from looking back. Even as a member of the privileged white middle class, he had felt displaced and alienated. As he later informed Herbert Read,

"Someday I want to write an essay about the point of view of an American who wasn't an American, because he was born in the south and went to school in New England as a small boy with a nigger drawl, but who wasn't a southerner in the South because his people were northerners in a border state and looked down on all southerners and Virginians, and so was never anything anywhere?" (qtd in Sigg 110)

In the summer of 1914, Eliot, then a Harvard doctoral candidate, went to Germany to pursue his studies in philosophy. Forced out of the country because of the war, he chose not to return to America, but to locate instead in Oxford to complete his degree. Within a year, the publication of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (made possible by Ezra Pound(18)) convinced Eliot that London, the center of literary life in English, was open to him. The cultural imperialism exercised by England made it advantageous for writers to become its subjects. "Anything else," as Pound maintained, was a waste of time and energy. No one in London cares a hang what is written in America. After getting an American audience a man has to begin all over again here if he plans for an international hearing. He even begins at a disadvantage. . . . The situation has been very well summed up in the sentence: "Henry James stayed in Paris and read Turgenev and Flaubert, Mr. Howells returned to America and read Henry James." (Valerie Eliot 102)

In 1927 Eliot completed the lengthy process of finding an identity by becoming a British citizen, someone who was, in his words, "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion" (For Lancelot 7).(19) Ironically, the only way for Eliot (and James) to attain an unadulterated identity was to assume a prefabricated one. Even more ironically, Eliot's poetry unceasingly decried the very processes of displacement and naturalization that had allowed him to become "himself."

"Gerontion," written in the aftermath of World War I, features an embittered speaker - "an old man in a dry month" with tears "shaken from the wrath-bearing tree" (Complete Poems 37, 38) - who inveighs against the deracination and other "supple confusions" of the epoch. The allegory of "his house" is venomous in tone, racist in detail; individual identity cannot exist outside of national identities that are becoming "fractured" even as they are cited.

My house is a decayed house, And the Jew squats on the window sill, the owner, Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp, Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London. The goat coughs at night in the field overhead;

In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering judas, To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk Among whispers; by Mr. Silvero With caressing hands, at Limoges Who walked all night in the next room; By Hakagawa, bowing among the Titians; By Madame de Tornquist, in the dark room Shifting the candles; Fraulein von Kulp Who turned in the hall, one hand on the door. (Complete Poems 37-38)

What should and once would have been a communion of citizens has become a debased, unsettling scene of isolated actions. The coherence of home has been supplanted by the squalor of a "rented house," the tenement of the modern urbanized, industrialized city. "Gerontion" asks, "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" (Complete Poems 38). Eliot's texts (like those of James) reiterate the fears expressed in the British House of Lords concerning the "unbearable life" imposed on English (or American) citizens by invading aliens; fourteen years of legislation, war, and the implementation of the passport had inadequately secured the borders and the nation(s) within.

In a very different tone, utilizing antithetical symbolic spaces, Eliot's 1943 contribution to Queen Mary's Boole for India, "To the Indians who Died in Africa," reaffirms the absolute necessity of cultural homogeneity:

A man's destination is his own village, His own fire, and his wife's cooking; To sit in front of his own door at sunset And see his grandson, and his neighbour's grandson Playing in the dust together.

Scarred but secure, he has many memories Which return at the hour of conversation, (The warm or the cool hour, according to the climate) Of foreign men, who fought in foreign places, Foreign to each other.

A man's destination is not his destiny Every country is home to one man And exile to another. . . . (Complete Poems 203)

The speaker assumes a symbiotic relation between country of origin and individual identity; cultural integrity can only be secured when everyone remains in place, at "home," through the generations. "Destiny" may necessitate commerce with "foreign men," but to be elsewhere is always to be in "exile," alienated from one's possessions ("own door," "wife's cooking") and one's being.(20)

But T.S. Eliot is not famous for having written "To the Indians who Died in Africa." Notoriety, fame, and a Nobel Prize for Literature were achieved for The Waste Land and other seminal texts characterized by innovations in spatialized form which produce meaning through a montage of disparate elements rather than their alignment in a traditional, telcological narrative. The Waste Land (1922) is a resolutely modern space in which nineteenth-century obsessions with time, development, closure, and coherence are gutted and displayed as the "heap of broken images" and "fragments" that can never fulfill the quest for meaning.(21) Temporal linearity is invoked ("April is the cruelest month," "Summer surprised us," "HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME"), and yet scenes and quotations are relentlessly juxtaposed, without causal explanation or narrative threading. In spite of these multiple efforts at dislocation, the Eliotic affirmation of singular, essential identities is reiterated throughout The Waste Land, nowhere more vividly than in the final collocation of lines, which replicates the overall techne of the poem:

I sat upon the shore Fishing, with the arid plain behind me Shall I at least set my lands in order? London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina Quando fiam uti chelidon - O swallow swallow Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih[.] (Complete Poems 74-75)

Critical discussion is generally divided into two camps: the poem is either viewed as one in which a singular questing figure, the "I," moves between symbolic landscapes,(22) or it is interpreted as a ventriloquist text which actuates a series of voices, all of them clamouring for recognition. Yet both positions assume the integral "I," whether there be one or many. Even the importation of Buddha and his admonitions (Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata; Give, Sympathize, Control) concerns self-regulation in respect to the other ("We think of the key, each in his prison/Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison" [Complete Poems 74]).

On every textual plane, the risk to the "I" in The Waste Land is self-alienation through displacement: disorders of class, race, gender relations, ethnicity - these are the threats. The difficulty, for example, rests not in being "a true German," not in recognizing the ontological truth of the German identity, but in policing all individual claims to be such: "Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch" (Complete Poems 61).(23) This problem, first presented in the twelfth line of The Waste Land, reappears most vividly in Part V, where an unknown, spectral "hooded" "third" materializes and is immediately displaced by the "swarming" of unidentified "hooded hordes":

Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or a woman - But who is that on the other side of you?

What is that sound high in the air Murmur of maternal lamentation Who are those hooded hordes swarming Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth Ringed by the fiat horizon only What is the city over the mountains Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria Vienna London Unreal[.] (Complete Poems 73)

The intimate community. of "you and I together" (not even a "we") on "the white road," menaced by a sexually indeterminate figure "wrapt in a brown mantle," is destroyed by the pressure of the unstoppable movements of peoples, a demographic cataclysm. This is not the quiet, nuanced apprehension of Henry James's "spring impression" (with a chill in his heart) but a traumatized ("April is the cruelest month") understanding of civilization's ruination. What separates Henry James and T.S. Eliot is not just a couple of decades, but the first World War - the war that produced passports and "documents on sight" (Complete Poems 68).

Despite Eliot's violent aesthetic of fracture and displacement, the possibility of locating and producing meaning remains. The singular moment of rest in The Waste Land, the only time when the City is not "Unreal" but just itself, the city, occurs dead in the middle of the poem, in Part III, when "fishmen lounge" together in homosocial exchange, free of the presence of all others:

O City city, I can sometimes hear Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, The pleasant whining of a mandolin And a clatter and a chatter from within Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls Of Magnus Martyr hold Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold. (Complete Poems 69)

Locals placed near the established church dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen stage the cultural and ontological homogeneity longed for throughout Eliot's poetry. Moreover, the contracted form of "fishmen" links them with Christ and his disciples, the Grail myth, and other ostensible origins of an essential Western civilization ("Ionian white and gold").

In 1917, Eliot argued that "the poet must become more and more comprehensive, more allusive, more indirect, in order to force, to dislocate if necessary, language into his meaning" (1950:249). The process he is describing is in many ways isomorphic to the process through which legal fictions of identity are produced by the passport, which operates by labeling, specifying, and "dislocating" persons and subjectivities into demographic data to be managed and governed. The following section further documents how the domains of knowledge produced by literary, legal, and governmental discourses are inextricably linked to actual relations of force targeted to the normalization and regulation of individual lives. And one of the most effective and least noticed instruments of enforcement is the passport, which can literally alienate one - especially those citizens who question or oppose prevailing truths - from the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and even life.


To summarize, the world-wide use of passports has had the definite effect of making all individuals potential aliens who must bear the marks of state identification in order to exercise the inalienable human right to mobility. Governmental procedures have so far invaded the practice of living that the identity tag has now become a right to fight for rather than a burden to oppose. By issuing, denying, and revoking passports, governments use their prerogatives in order to control citizens and foreigners through elaborate identification and classification methods. The passport thus emblematizes the necessary interrelations among sovereign privileges, disciplinary processes, and governmental procedures - that is, it presupposes what Foucault has described as the three major models of power relations operating since the Renaissance, while simultaneously confirming the dominance of governmentality in the twentieth century.(24)

But what distinguishes this "art of government" from other modes of power? First, it seeks to manipulate elements, events, and people in order to strengthen the positive and reduce the negative aspects of life as much as possible: "'government is the right disposition of things, arranged so as to lead to a convenient end'" (Gustave de la Perriere, Miroir Politique, 1567; qtd Foucault, Foucault Effect 93). Sovereignty is exercised over a specific territory (inhabited or no); disciplinary mechanisms of surveillance and correction are deployed in controlled spaces (prisons, schools, offices) to ensure specific kinds of conduct. Governmentality, however, manages given sets of circumstances by inserting any phenomenon to be controlled into a series of probable events and instigating security measures accordingly. The modern passport, for example, was instituted as a response to conditions of war to regulate individual mobility, which, when considered within the series of probable dangers posed by espionage and treachery, demanded identification and control. Second, governmentality develops procedures that are both pluri-functional and cost effective. The passport serves many ends; its design and administration must balance the competing interests of state security, economic exchange, immigration, and tourism, to name the most obvious. Third, security mechanisms must be able to handle future occurrences, which are in some part neither measurable nor controllable. Rather than determining an ideal function in a static environment, governmental procedures must be open to aleatory events, and capable of managing them: the visa system, residency requirements, patriality are all examples of such procedures.

Foucault argues that whereas "law and sovereignty were absolutely inseparable . . . with government it is a question not of imposing law on men, but of disposing things: that is to say, of employing tactics rather than laws, and even of using laws themselves as tactics - to arrange things in such a way that, through a certain number of means, such and such ends may be achieved" (Foucault Effect 95). This tactical deployment of laws can be discerned in the British government's switch from temporary and specific "Aliens" acts to permanent, future-oriented "Nationality" acts, designed to exclude a wide variety of changing Others. Facing the pressures of a post-imperial order, successive governments (irrespective of party) implemented a series of laws regarding immigration and nationality, beginning with the 1948 British Nationality Act and culminating in the British Nationality Act of 1981, which modified or nullified the passports held by former colonial British subjects.(25) The 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, for example,

imposed immigration controls for the first time on holders of United Kingdom passports when Asian holders of such passports began to emigrate from East Africa to the United Kingdom. The Act extended immigration controls to the holders of United Kingdom passports issued outside the British Isles unless they or one of their parents or grandparents had been born, naturalised, or adopted in the United Kingdom itself, or had been registered in the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth country already independent or self-governing in 1948. (Thornberry 5)

The 1981 British Nationality Act went even further, abolishing "the unqualified right of entry for anyone who could not claim patriality, which meant, effectively, that the majority of black Commonwealth citizens lost their rights while the majority of white Commonwealth citizens retained theirs. It also removed the ancient right of birth on British soil (jus soli) as the basis of citizenship and replaced it with that of descent (jus sanguinus)" (Baimbridge 422-23).(26) Rather than operating from the legal binary of the permissible and the forbidden, governmentality proceeds first by determining an optimal mean and then fixing the limits beyond which deviations can no longer be tolerated: immigration numbers, for example, can be set at a percentage of the population as a whole, in accordance with calculations of economic costs, and quota systems established depending on the ethnic composition of the population - and passport, visa, residency requirements, etc., can then be adjusted appropriately.

The art of government arose as a problematic in the sixteenth century, Foucault notes, at the crossroads of two great processes: the shift from feudalism to the great "territorial, administrative, and colonial states," and the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

There is a double movement, then, of state centralization on the one hand and of dispersion and religious dissidence on the other: it is, I believe, at the intersection of these two tendencies that the problem comes to pose itself with this peculiar intensity, of how to be ruled, how strictly, by whom, to what end, by what methods, etc. There is a problematic of government in general. (Foucault Effect 88)

Listing several factors which impeded the full exploration of this problematic in the seventeenth century, Foucault identifies the emergence of the "population" in the eighteenth century as a key factor in its acquiring a new prominence. We would argue that a similar conjuncture exists in the twentieth century, with the consolidation and centralization of a global capitalist system on the one hand, and the great dispersions and dissent caused by world wars, wars of national liberation, and the international movements of peoples on the other. Furthermore, the development of information technologies during and after World War II for the first time made the gathering and computation of data necessary for the government of the one and the many possible in practice to a degree unattainable in previous periods. If governmentality became an important problematic in the eighteenth century, it became a way of life in the twentieth.

First described as the "police," governmental security mechanisms target the life and happiness of the entire population (through adequate economic, social, and political infrastructures and institutions) as well as foster the desires, ambitions, securities, knowledges (connaissances) of each individual.(27) This form of bio-power works to encompass every aspect of life and claims the survival of the population, and the nation, as its field of intervention. As Foucault summarizes, "In seeing to health and supplies, it [the police] deals with the preservation of life; concerning trade, factories, workers, the poor and public order, it deals with the conveniences of life. In seeing to the theatre, literature, entertainment, its object is life's pleasures" (Omnes 2:250). The effects of this power are double-edged, as by cultivating individual lives, the state ensures its own: "the aim of the modern art of government, or state rationality . . . [is] to develop those elements constitutive of individuals' lives in such a way that their development also fosters that of the strength of the state" (Omnes 2: 252).(28) Almost half a century before Foucault's critical fictions, the literary fictions and essays of Virginia Woolf were demonstrating just that.

Mrs Dalloway (1925) shows that individual identity is actually relational: it can only be understood in terms of broader national and international forces, and the pressures of sexism, racism, and class domination. The novel purportedly tells the story of an ordinary June day when an upper-class woman prepares to host a large party. But the privileged life of Clarissa Dalloway, ostensibly undamaged by the recently-ended war, is continually juxtaposed with that of Septimus Smith, a shell-shocked World War I veteran who can only reaffirm that "life is good" (Woolf 132) by killing himself. Tied to this life-death tandem are a series of characters whose lives and positions instantiate the major institutional forces of governmentality which operate in the state: the judiciary, the army (and the Empire), the industrial middle class, the church, mental and physical health, and academia.(29) By moving from one consciousness to another, from the present to the past, from quotidian observations to daydreams and hallucinations, the narrative demonstrates the extent to which "'the utmost happiness to be enjoyed in this life'" (qtd Foucault, Omnes 2: 250) serves only to strengthen the state.

Peter Walsh, the imperial administrator, feels "hollowed out, utterly empty within" (Woolf 45), yet is so effectively subjectivized that the predictable string of failures which constitute his life (as student, socialist, lover, husband, bureaucrat) does not prevent him from maintaining his love for "the triumphs of civilization" (Woolf 165). "He was not old, or set, or dried in the least," he reassures himself,

Striding, staring, he glared at the statue of the Duke of Cambridge. He had been sent down from Oxford - true. He had been a Socialist, in some sense a failure - true. Still the future of civilization lies, he thought, in the hands of young men like that; of young men such as he was, thirty years ago. . . . A patter like the patter of leaves in a wood came from behind, and with it a rustling, regular thudding sound, which as it overtook him drummed in his thoughts, strict in step, up Whitehall, without his doing. Boys in uniform, carrying guns, marched with their eyes ahead of them, marched, their arms stiff. And on their faces an expression like the letters of a legend written round the base of a statue praising duty, gratitude, fidelity, love of England. It is, thought Peter Walsh, beginning to keep step with them, a very fine training. . . . [T]hey wore on them unmixed with sensual pleasure or daily preoccupations the solemnity of the wreath which they had fetched from Finsbury Pavement to the empty tomb. . . . As if one will worked legs and arms uniformly, and life, with its varieties, its irreticences, had been laid under a pavement of monuments and wreaths and drugged into a stiff yet staring corpse by discipline. One had to respect it; one might laugh; but one had to respect it. (Woolf 55-56)

Walsh's nostalgia for his youthful dreams of changing the world is as obligatory as the marching of soldiers, their love of England, and their well-disciplined deaths. The text relentlessly traces the narrow roads followed by all the characters: "the wild, the daring, the romantic" Sally Seton becomes the wife of the cotton manufacturer, with the big house in Manchester and the "five enormous boys" (Woolf 79, 188); Hugh Whitbread, the "perfect specimen of the public school type" ("No country but England could have produced him"), becomes the food-and power-loving bureaucrat - the "admirable Hugh" (Woolf 80, 5); and so on. The novel's plot development demonstrates how lives fostered by bio-power are rarefied, diminished, aligned along restricted pathways until their owners become normal, ordinary, perfectly understandable and predictable for everyone, and yet strange and incomprehensible to themselves: "But often now this body she wore . . ., this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing - nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more, this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway" (Woolf 11). She, whose role is now restricted to hosting parties where the richest and most powerful of her class are successfully assembled, thinks of them as "offerings" to life (Woolf 134), but can only cry when identified as the "perfect hostess" (Woolf 8, 67, 132, 133).

The loss of self is accentuated by gender, of course - as wife of a Member of Parliament and mother, Clarissa is exiled out of any individuality. Yet she is the only one who can understand, and literally feel, Septimus's death. It is through her thoughts alone that the event is inscribed in the text:

He had killed himself - but how? Always her body went through it first, when she was told, suddenly, of an accident; her dress flamed, her body burnt. He had thrown himself from a window. Up had flashed the ground; through him, blundering, bruising, went the rusty spikes. There he lay with a thud, thud, thud in his brain, and then a suffocation of blackness. So she saw it. But why had he done it? And the Bradshaws talked of it at her party! . . . Suppose he had that passion, and had gone to Sir William Bradshaw, a great doctor, yet to her obscurely evil, without sex or lust, extremely polite to women, but capable of some indescribable outrage - forcing your soul, that was it - if this young man had gone to him, and Sir William had impressed him, like that, with his power, might he not then have said (indeed she felt it now), Life is made intolerable; they make life intolerable, men like that? (Woolf 202)

Drs. Holmes and Bradshaw had been prescribing liberal closes of the English way-of-life for Smith's mental illness (porridge, soccer, outings), above all insisting that he keep his sense of "proportion, divine proportion" (Woolf 109). But Smith recognizes his current enemies only too well: "human nature, in short, was on him - the repulsive brute, with the blood-red nostrils" (Woolf 101) - and this is what finally kills him. War, for Woolf, is not a temporary aberration, but the reductio ad absurdum of her culture's way of life, as fostered by bio-power.(30) Peace is nothing but war waged by other means.(31)

Virginia Woolf's particular materialist feminism leads her to argue, in Mrs Dalloway and numerous other texts, that civilization is actually the product, and producer, of war and relations of force; civilization is the acceptable facade of patriarchy. Hence the critique of imperialism (uncommon at the time) which is also expressed in Woolfs writings. One of the most searingly ironic moments in the novel occurs as the body of Septimus Smith is carried away by ambulance:

One of the triumphs of civilization, Peter Walsh thought. It is one of the triumphs of civilization, as the light high bell of the ambulance sounded. Swiftly, cleanly, the ambulance sped to the hospital, having picked up instantly, humanely, some poor devil. . . . That was civilisation. It struck him coming back from the East - the efficiency, the organisation, the communal spirit of London. (Woolf 165)

The colonizer's tyranny abroad is inextricably connected to the patriarch's tyranny at and in his home. The narrator insists on recognizing what none of the characters understand: that any moment of Western civilization is underwritten by colonial exploitation, and class, gender, and race subjugation.

While her male modernist counterparts were lamenting the loss of essence, of coherence, and separation from an originary state of homogenous cultural grace, Woolf was insisting that origins are fabricated as the aftereffects of imperialist, racist, sexist relations of power. These beliefs lead Woolf to define the ethical, conscientious woman, whose patriarchal culture does not admit her at its origins, as a self-fashioned "outsider." As she later explains in Three Guineas (1938), an extended essay which reaffirms the necessary connections between feminism and pacifism, the "outsider" must resist any incitements to support war. Instead, she must achieve "an attitude of complete indifference":

When he says, "I am fighting to protect our country," and thus seeks to rouse her patriotic emotion, she will ask herself, "What does 'our country' mean to me an outsider?". . . . And if he says that he is fighting to protect England from foreign rule, she will reflect that for her there are no "foreigners," since by law she becomes a foreigner if she marries a foreigner. . . . She will find that she has no good reason to ask her brother to fight on her behalf to protect "our" country. "Our country," she will say, "throughout the greater part of its history has treated me as a slave; it has denied me education or any share in its possessions. 'Our' country still ceases to be mine if I marry a foreigner. . . . Therefore if you insist upon fighting to protect me, or 'our' country, let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share; but not to gratify my instincts, or to protect either myself or my country. 'For,' the outsider will say, 'in fact, as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world'." (Three Guineas 123-25)

Not only can she not conceive of fighting, she cannot conceive of fighting for a country which systematically discriminates against women - including the practice of denying every woman's citizenship immediately upon marriage to a foreigner (while recognizing its male subjects regardless of their matrimonial arrangements). Woolf's writings demonstrate that the uniform, homogeneous, national identity which states attempted to secure, and male modernists longed for ("Who shall remember my house"), never was - always was the patient, skilful, soul-forcing government by the few.

But governmentality must be understood variously. The special province of Woolf's literary discourse is to display the extent to which individual identity, one's private self-knowledge, is charted by state institutions fostering life (Clarissa Dalloway) onto death (Septimus Smith). To survey public moments of state intervention in individual lives, however, and to map the extensive relations of force wielded by governmental prerogatives, we must now turn to two stories from the archives of American passport administration. The cases of Paul Robeson and Philip Agee graphically illustrate how the State Department's power to issue identity documents at will - and the judiciary's willingness to protect this power - can significantly alter individual lives.

During the 1950s, those Americans who were members, or suspected members, of a Communist organization were not entitled to passports and were therefore imprisoned behind what one commentator called "the paper curtain." Such measures proved to be all too far-reaching and effective, as in the case of Paul Robeson.(32) From 1924 to 1939, he pursued a successful career as actor and best-selling recording artist. But Robeson was suspected of being a Communist sympathizer. During a 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearing, Richard Nixon noted that "'the surest criteria for identifying someone as a communist was applauding at a Paul Robeson concert or owning a Paul Robeson recording'" (qtd in Michaels 137). Two years later, while on tour in the Soviet Union, Robeson commented that, "'It is unthinkable that American Negroes could go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union, which in one generation has raised our people to full human dignity'" (Michaels 136). These comments, as they were publicized, were to change his life. Riots erupted at his Peekskill, New York, concerts later that fall. Subsequently, nervous promoters began to cancel engagements. Robeson responded by strengthening his ties with the USSR; the State Department upped the ante by refusing to renew his passport. He sued the government, but his case was dismissed by a district court. The Appeals Court found for the government. In 1957, the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the earlier Appeals Court decision. In his summary of the case, Michaels observes that: "In refusing a passport, the State Department denied Robeson a right to earn a living. In addition to refusing to renew his passport, the State Department also denied Robeson the right to travel to Canada, where a passport was not needed. [The President] gave orders to shoot Robeson if he attempted to cross the US-Canadian border" (138). In 1958, however, Robeson was finally issued a passport, and left immediately for a concert tour of Europe and the USSR. This change of heart, or policy, was forced upon the State Department by a series of Supreme Court rulings (for Rockwell Kent, Walter Briehl, and others) which recognized "the right to travel as a liberty guaranteed in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the American Constitution" (Kent v. Dulles 357 U.S. 116, 125). The opinion of the Court in Kent v. Dulles, delivered by Mr. Justice Douglas, held that,

We deal with beliefs, with associations, with ideological matters. We must remember that we are dealing here with citizens who have neither been accused of crimes nor found guilty. They are being denied their freedom of movement solely because of their refusal to be subjected to inquiry- into their beliefs and associations. They do not seek to escape the law nor to violate it. They may or may not be Communists. But assuming they are, the only law which Congress has passed expressly curtailing the movement of Communists across our borders has not yet become effective. It would therefore be strange to infer that pending the effectiveness of that law, the Secretary has been silently granted by Congress the larger, the more pervasive power to curtail in his discretion the free movement of citizens in order to satisfy himself about their beliefs or associations. (357 U.S. 116, 130)

However, exercising the "liberty" to travel (whatever your beliefs), only lasted until Philip Agee entered the scene in the mid-1970s. Agee, a former CIA agent, was then residing in West Germany. In 1974, he announced "'a new campaign to fight the... CIA wherever it is operating. This campaign will have two main functions: first, to expose CIA officers and agents and to take the measures necessary to drive them out of the countries where they are operating; secondly, to seek within the United States to have the CIA abolished'" (qtd in Ansbacher 763). When his passport was revoked in 1979, Agee responded with a suit in Federal Court, hoping that national security interests would be outweighed by the civil liberties involved. He was only partially right. Citing the cases of Kent and Zemel, the District Court and then the Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Agee's right to a passport - but these decisions were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1980. Citing the above quotation from Kent v. Dulles, Chief Justice Burger wrote on behalf of the Court that, "The protection accorded beliefs standing alone is very different from the protection accorded conduct. . . . Agee's conduct in foreign countries presents a serious danger to American officials abroad and serious danger to the national security" (Haig v. Agee 453 U.S. 280, 305). The Court maintained, moreover, that

the freedom to travel outside the United States must be distinguished from the right to travel within the United States; the constitutional right of interstate travel is virtually unqualified. By contrast, the right of international travel has been considered to be no more than an aspect of the liberty protected by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. As such this 'right,' the Court has held, can be regulated within the bounds of due process. (Haig v. Agee 453 U.S. 280, 306)

Only Justices Brennan and Marshall dissented because of what they perceived to be "the Court's sub silentio overruling" of the Kent and Zemel cases. In Brennan's words,

I suspect that this case is a prime example of the adage that "bad facts make bad law. "Philip Agee is hardly a model representative of our Nation. And the Executive Branch has attempted to use one of the only means at its disposal, revocation of a passport, to stop respondent's damaging statements. But just as the Constitution protects both popular and unpopular speech, it likewise protects both popular and unpopular travelers. And it is important to remember that this decision applies not only to Philip Agee, whose activities could be perceived as harming the national security, but also to other citizens who may merely disagree with government foreign policy and express their views. (Haig v. Agee 453 U.S. 280, 319) This 1980 decision of the American Supreme Court regarding Philip Agee is based on virtually the same principles as the medieval sovereign privilege of Ne Exeat Regno (described above

Agee and Robeson were high-profile people who had the money, connections, and knowledge necessary to bring the government to court. Their cases call attention to the unknown numbers who, failing to meet governmental identity requirements, remain silenced - and unable to move. Thus passports are the great "out" of democratically-elected governments: these powerful little identity documents allow governments to keep their citizens at home, at will; to restrict their movements abroad; and to discipline their conduct when out of the country. They also allow governments to close their borders to pernicious individuals, as well as to masses of people (such as the inhabitants of Hong Kong).(33) And all of this without let or hindrance from the law. Rather than introduce legislation specifically governing the administration of the passport, and thereby give citizens legal rights and judicial remedies, one national government after another has maintained that the issuance of this instrument is the state's prerogative. As Lord Wilmot wryly observed in a House of Lords debate, "the only redress open to a person aggrieved by the withdrawal of his passport is to secure the defeat of the Government in the House of Commons" (Jaconelli 320). In a more somber tone, the British Section of the International Commission of Jurists reports that "as the law stands, there is no legal safeguard against any future descent into arbitrary absolutism by the executive, even were such arbitrariness to exceed anything known by present European society, whether east or west" (Thornberry 19).(34)


From its inception, the passport system had been criticized in some quarters for its awkwardness to bearers and its negative impact on economic exchange and prosperity. The League of Nations' Passport Conferences of 1920 and 1926 looked forward to a time when past conditions would be reinstated and passports eliminated.(35) During the May 1926 Conference, delegates were reminded of the resolution adopted by the League's Sixth Assembly: "public opinion, particularly in economic circles, undoubtedly expects [us] to take at least a step towards the abolition, to the widest extent possible, of the passport system, and to mitigate considerably the disadvantages and expense which that system entails for the relations between peoples and for international trade facilities" (Minutes 44). Economic and security interests seemed at odds; by the third plenary, meeting, measures to be instituted "should the passport regime be maintained" were being refined. All-encompassing governmental interests had prevailed. The fledgling United Nations adopted an entirely different tactic: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared mobility to be an inalienable human right, leaving the question of passports to individual national governments.(36) Since the 1950s (from the Treaty of Rome to Maastricht), the European Union has emerged as the most comprehensive governmental response to the problematic of freedom of movement (the flow of goods, capital, and people). Whereas international agreements such as NAFTA and GATT focus solely on economic exchange, leaving questions of national borders and citizenship untouched, the EU implicates issues of individual and national (and transnational) identities, citizenship, and economic integration.(37)

According to the EU Commission's August 1996 Report on the Operation of the Treaty on European Union, the project was conceived primarily as a deterrent for future wars on the continent:

In the 1950s, as the principles which were to lead . . . to the Treaty of Rome [1957] were starting to take shape, the war was still in everyone's mind. The deep psychological scars it left behind helped create a consensus as to the fundamental objectives of European integration: the future would have to be different from the past. . . . It can be said that Europe, the stage for the two greatest conflicts of the century, has - in creating the Community - invented a new form of government in the service of peace. (Report)

Thus, the best way to avoid war is to create economic integration in a new Europe. The Commission's report continues:

In setting up a community designed to last indefinitely, equipped with its own institutions, enjoying legal personality, and internationally represented in its own name, the Member States . . . have pooled their sovereign rights and created a new legal order, involving not just the Member States themselves, but also their citizens in the specific fields concerned. (Report; emphasis ours)

Balibar describes "a state of this type . . . as fundamentally conceived as the state institution of a market, a kind of 'liberal' utopia in practice" (17).

The Maastricht Treaty (1992) establishes a new kind of citizenship at the European level. Passports are now issued under the generic rubric of the Union, with the nation state actually granting the identity document taking second billing. European citizens enjoy "the free movement of goods, services, labor, [and] capital" (Abbey 1332), as well as the right of residency in any member state (regardless of economic function.(38)). European integration has also meant the multiplication of opportunities for political work across national borders (an Italian national, for example, can run in municipal elections in London or represent a Swedish constituency in the European Parliament, if elected), and of judicial instances of appeal (to the European Ombudsman, Court, or Parliament).

Yet many critics have questioned the practical significance of European citizenship. Article 8a, for example, admits limits to the freedom of movement: member states can, for reasons of public policy, security, or health, restrict movement or residence within their borders. As La Torre summarizes, "The 'heavy' rights attributed through European citizenship either were already granted to member state nationals (as is the case, in great measure, of freedom of movement and residence) or are symbolic rights, that is, devoid of a real impact on the powers which constitute and direct the Union" (121).

More importantly, however, the rights and privileges of this citizenship are reserved exclusively for nationals of the member states, and each state retains the right to determine who can become a national and under what circumstances. The result of this distribution of powers is the exclusion from European citizenship of more than seven million resident aliens - some of whom are second and third generation Gastarbeiter (guest workers). As succinctly outlined by Britain's Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants:

Third country nationals settled in the member states have no right to move across intra-community borders for economic purposes. They cannot seek employment or obtain the right to establish themselves in self-employment or move across borders to use or provide a service. . . . A higher proportion of third country nationals have become subject to pre-entry visa requirements which make travel in the Community more difficult even for casual vacation trips. (Joint Council 39)

As Balibar reminds us, "until the middle of the 20th century, the principal meaning of [Europeans] referred to groups of colonizers in each of the colonized regions elsewhere in the world" (7). We would argue that it still does: European citizenship excludes the internal colonies of its ethnicized class division of labor. Once again, the granting and denial of citizenship and passports constitute the acceptable face of institutional racism.(39) The exclusion of more than seven million European residents thus reproduces the well-known process of unequal development fostered by capitalism, both at home and abroad.(40)

But economic relations alone cannot fully account for the historical link between national identities, citizenship, and racism, as the ongoing twentieth-century obsession with alienage confirms. Balibar reminds us that

there is virtually no historical example of nationalism without a racist supplement. . . . Racism is an elaboration and forward rush of the contradictions of nationalism, driven both by its historical necessity and by its practical impossibility. (I say impossibility because no nationalism can achieve in the real world its ideal of a purified, totally hegemonic community). (12-13)

But then why does nationalism necessarily need a purified, homogenous essence? Foucault's analyses of governmentality provide a critical perspective on this problematic. When nation states deploy a series of security mechanisms designed to foster the life of their population (rather than merely to secure a territory), when, in other words, the biological continuum of the life of a nation becomes the target of governmental power, there arises a vital need to establish and qualify differences. Racism is required by the exercise of power relations geared to secure the quality, the purity, and the strength of a national population, as the best means to enforce distinctions and exclusions, and to wield the ancient right to kill:

What permitted the inscription of racism in the mechanisms of the State was precisely the emergence of bio-power. . . . If the power of normalization wishes to exercise the old sovereign right to kill, it must pass through racism. . . . Let it be clear that when I speak of 'killing' I am not thinking simply of direct assassination, but rather of all that can also be indirect death: the fact of exposing to death or of multiplying, for some, the risk of death, or more simply political death, expulsion. (Foucault 1992: 263-266; our trans.)

National governments of the EU, and the European Parliament, like to maintain that economic development, sound immigration policies coupled with pro-active legislative measures, and education, will eventually eradicate racism (even as it is gaining ground at both street and political party levels). The EU might prove successful in bypassing war among its member states (though it has been so far unable either to prevent war or broker peace on the European continent at large). Despite its claims to the contrary, however, it shows no signs of altering the racist war relations necessarily established in peace time, by the very exercise of governmentality itself, between its citizens and resident aliens.

But what happens when governments are shattered? Could a third space emerge, where alternate relations of power and knowledge, of love and self-fashioning, become possible? Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (also 1992) stages two different attempts at building such novel communities, outside of nations and governments, just before and near the end of World War II. The first is created in the 1930s by a group of men who choose the Libyan desert as their site to learn life and become themselves: "We were German, English, Hungarian, African - all of us insignificant to them [the Bedouin]. Gradually we became nationless. I came to hate nations. We are deformed by nation states. Maalox died because of nations"(41) (Ondaatje 138). Unlike many modernist texts, in which the desert serves only as a figure for solitude and the arid sterility which characterizes urbanized Western society, Ondaatje's text celebrates the desert's "rambling feasts and cultures"(139) and their numerous histories. With Herodotus as his guide, Count Ladislaus de Almasy uncovers the desert's subjected knowledges and ways of life. Through their travels and writings, he and his fellow explorers transform their internal topographies:

It was as if he had walked trader the millimetre of haze just above the inked fibres of a map, that pure zone between land and chart between distances and legend between nature and storyteller. Sandford called it geomorphology. The place they had chosen to come to, to be their best selves, to be unconscious of ancestry. Here, apart from the sun compass and the odometer mileage and the book, he was alone, his own invention. He knew during these times how the mirage worked, the fata morgana, for he was within it. (Ondaatje 246)

The text reiterates that this escape from governmentality was never more than a mirage. Although they wanted to believe that "there is God only in the desert. . . . Outside of this there was just trade and power, money and war. Financial and military despots shaped the world" (Ondaatje 250), these forces were always among them. Their homosocial community is first interrupted by the arrival of Geoffrey Clifton, a British intelligence officer posing as a wealthy dilettante travelling with his new wife, Katherine. With the outbreak of World War II, their expeditions, sponsored all along by the Royal Geographical Society, are suddenly terminated. In other words, these "planetary strangers" (Ondaatje 244) were never elsewhere, were never free to be "outsiders." Moreover, the love between Katherine Clifton and Almasy reproduces the life-death struggles of the world at large; their passion produces a "list of wounds" (Ondaatje 153).(42) Ultimately, their relationship results in three horrific deaths - love as war by other means, and all of this under the careful scrutiny of government agents.(43)

The community of "desert Europeans" (Ondaatje 135) is reconstructed through the stories and memories of the novel's primary community, which gathers around the English patient from April to August 1945 in the Villa San Girolamo just north of Florence. Functioning as a palimpsest, the text writes the nomadic movement of desert cultures onto a privileged site of emergence for Western modernity, to show the latter's ruination by war. All is "in near ruins": the villa (which might have hosted "Pico and Lorenzo and Poliziano and the young Michelangelo" [Ondaatje 57]), the countryside, and the four main characters, who have been literally or figuratively defaced by war. Governmental power relations are suspended at the villa, and "now there is hardly a world around them and they are forced back on themselves" (Ondaatje 40). Before they forged this unlikely community, all had withdrawn their names and identities: Almasy, the Hungarian count turned German spy had become "the English patient"; the Canadian nurse, Hana, called herself by the same name she gave all her patients, "Buddy";(44) the Italian-Canadian thief turned British spy, David Caravaggio, never spoke and "revealed nothing, not even his name, just wrote out his serial number" while a patient in a Rome military hospital (Ondaatje 27); and the Sikh sapper (and future doctor), Kirpal Singh, went by the nickname Kip, given to him by his British military "comrades."(45) Gradually, by learning each other's stories, they reinvent their selves: "But here they were shedding skins. They could imitate nothing but what they were. There was no defence but to look for the truth in others" (Ondaatje 117). This process allows them to invent different kinds of relations, however large the difficulties: a friendship forms between the two spies; the "Englishman" and Kip "'get on so well together'" because "'both [are] international bastards'" (Ondaatje 176-177); Hana and Kip negotiate their desire despite the wounds that have been inflicted because of gender ("'I was sick of the hunger. Of just being lusted at. So I stepped away'" [Ondaatje 85]) and race ("he was accustomed to his invisibility. In England he was ignored in the various barracks. . . . being the anonymous member of another race, a part of the invisible world" [Ondaatje 196]).

For all four, "defences of character" and behaviour (Ondaatje 196) are gradually discarded. But just as they achieve and enjoy their community, when they agree that it finally does not matter who the English patient is ("'He's fine. We can let him be'" [Ondaatje 265]), Kip hears of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all becomes impossible, intolerable. For Kip, previous national identities reappear, indomitable: "'My brother told me. Never turn your back on Europe. The deal makers. The contract makers. The map drawers. Never trust Europeans, he said'" (Ondaatje 284). As he holds the English Patient in his rifle sights, Kip is told by Caravaggio that the burned man is not English: "'American, French, I don't care. When you start bombing the brown races of the world, you're an Englishman. You had King Leopold of Belgium and now you have fucking Harry Truman of the USA. You all learned it from the English'" (Ondaatje 286). Caravaggio can only agree: "He knows the soldier is right. They would never have dropped such a bomb on a white nation" (Ondaatje 286). The text explodes the mirage of "communal histories, communal books" (Ondaatje 261); when Kip closes his eyes, he "sees the streets of Asia full of fire. It rolls across cities like a burst map, the hurricane of heat withering bodies as it meets them, the shadow of humans suddenly in the air. This tremor of Western wisdom" (Ondaatje 284). This is bio-power at its most extreme, contradictory end: to foster life through mass death. And in the face of this, Hana knows that "from now on. . . the personal will forever be at war with the public" (Ondaatje 292). And Kip knows that "his name is Kirpal Singh and he does not know what he is doing here" (Ondaatje 287).

The villa community is suddenly ruined; the narrative provides few subsequent details, as if it can barely speak of an "after." Caravaggio and the English patient disappear from its lines. Both Hana and Kip return to their homes in Britain's dominions. Kip's solution is to take no further "risks": to follow instead Eliot's prescription and return to his own home, by his fire, and have a wife and playing children nearby. Ondaatje, like Eliot, uses the ancient wars between the West and the East as figures for twentieth-century conflagrations;(46) and, just as in Eliot, this rhetorical strategy seems to suggest an essentialist argument. By pasting recent wars onto Herodotus's Histories, Ondaatje's novel opens up the possibility of reading a transhistorical human nature, drawn along racial lines, into its own story. Nuclear bombs make Singh realize that he can no longer tolerate the colonizer's racism and violence in exchange for his "civilization"; he reassumes his national and racial identity, and the text barely questions the happiness which ensues: "He is a doctor, has two children and a laughing wife. . . . At this table all of their hands are brown. They move with ease in their customs and habits" (Ondaatje 299, 301). This scene of private happiness takes place in 1958: the text has elided the internecine struggles of India's post-colonial history, especially the public mass slaughters which marked India's partition.(47) Moreover, the text completely ignores the Holocaust - and these two silences suggest a simplified racial argument.

And yet there is Hana, wise and alone, whom the text cannot explain or erase: "She, at even this age, thirty-four, has not found her own company, the ones she wanted. She is a woman of honour and smartness whose wild love leaves out luck, always taking risks, and there is something in her brow now that only she can recognize in a mirror" (Ondaatje 301). Or, in the words of Virginia Woolf, "There she was" - an alien at home, as the passport has been saying all along.


This multifaceted discursive critique of the problematic of identity has focused on a crucial yet overlooked twentieth-century power-knowledge matrix - the passport - which allows an ever-more invasive exercise of governmental powers through the identification of the One and the Other. Authorizing an administrative consolidation of "the national essence," the passport emerges as a key instrument for the concomitant determination of state security and foreign policy. And yet the reverse is also true: it is because this document is constantly positioned as being essential for such vital state concerns that governments have been able to grant themselves extensive discretionary powers in the granting and withholding of passports, against all hegemonic beliefs in freedom of movement. In many respects, the passport acts as a hinge between the nineteenth-century preoccupation with history as organic evolution of the same and the twentieth-century obsession with fractured spaces: it localizes individuals and helps to secure sovereign spaces - all in the name of a nation developing throughout the centuries (or ever since the last international treaty).

The passport and its constellation of concepts (citizenship, allegiance, state protection) also extend governmental powers over the One and the Many. The stories of Shipley, Robeson, Agee, and Lord Haw-Haw make manifest the degree to which individual beliefs and conduct, indeed entire lives, can be determined or terminated with this identity document. Moreover, the ethnic, racial, and class composition of the population as a whole can be calibrated through attendant systems of visas and work permits, and the institution of various immigration policies, nationality and citizenship acts.

Foucault's critique of governmentality demonstrates that this mode of biopower fosters life and administers death through racism: the biological, economic, and political health of the nation must be secured at the expense of specified others. We have shown that this process is writ large in the EU, the greatest governmental project since World War II, for its transnational citizenship (complete with passport) can only confirm state racisms. Yet the latter, ironically, can no longer be "naturalized" so readily: as each country's particular exclusions do not correspond to the others' (the German Gastarbeiter / Auslander is not synonymous with the French immigres / etrangers), the political nature of all forms of inclusion and exclusion becomes glaringly apparent in a Fortress Europe.

The literary fictions concerned with issues of individual and national identities we have analyzed have either confirmed or countered the governmental production of homogeneity and disparity, of the One and the Other. Texts by male modernists such as James and Eliot lament the loss of unadulterated identities and formally reproduce the modern neighborhood as a fractious, threatening, incomprehensible fact. Cultural purity was so intensely valued that it made sense for both authors to reinvent themselves by assuming a prefabricated English identity - just as it did for the British monarchy itself. Alternatively, through the ineradicable presence of such characters as Clarissa Dalloway and Hana, Woolf and Ondaatje (aliens, because of gender and race, to the dominant white masculinist identity) instantiate the possibility of constructing other subject positions and performing identities differently.

But how can power relations that exceed the economic and political to include the fostering of life, of knowledges and desires, be countered and transformed? Perhaps, most immediately, by resisting specific, seemingly common-sensical practices: what should be advocated, for example, is not "an inalienable human right" to mobility, but rather an international legal right to a passport, in order to end its status as a government prerogative. Winning this fight would of course mean complying with governmental procedures operating through identification and localization. A similar situation arises when Jean-Francois Lyotard, at the end of The Postmodern Condition (a report commissioned by the government of Quebec and the Council of Quebec Universities), calls for universal access to databases in order to protect individual freedoms - a condition which, if realized, would meet the needs of both governments and businesses to have every citizen so inscribed. Much in the same way, the fight to a passport means registering everyone in governmental information systems - but only through such a fight could legislative recourse become not only possible but effective.

This problem leads to a more general consideration of the relative effectiveness of identity politics as a mode of resistance to dominant forms of power relations. What does it mean to claim an original identity determined in terms of space, gender, or race, when governments know and direct their populations precisely in those terms? The alternative might be to think of identity not as origin in space, or essence in place, but rather as a series of ongoing negotiations.(48)

Finally, there is the opportunity, and the need, to promote a new kind of conscientiously international citizenship, a transnational literacy. Addressing a 1981 press conference in Geneva to mark the creation of an International Committee Against Piracy (to defend Vietnamese boat people against armed aggression), Foucault described the emergence of such a citizenship, with its rights and obligations, committed "to rise against all abuses of power, regardless of the [identity of] their authors, regardless of their victims. After all, we are all the governed, and thus, solidary" (1994: 707; our trans.). Thus governmental biopower, as exercised worldwide, is actually producing the conditions of possibility for new forms of solidarity and common action (Amnesty International, Physicians Without Borders). One duty of this international citizenship is to "bring to the eyes and ears of governments the misery" for which they are responsible: "human misery must never be a mute leftover of politics. It establishes an absolute right to rise and address oneself to those who hold power" (Foucault 1994: 708; our trans.). In order to elaborate new practices of the self which acknowledge others, international citizens must first refuse governmental procedures that work by fixing identity.(49) Or as Foucault suggests, "Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are, but to refuse what we are. . . . The conclusion would be that the political, ethical, social, philosophical problem of our days is not to try to liberate the individual from the state, and from the state's institutions, but to liberate us both from the state and from the type of individualization which is linked to the state. We have to promote new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries"(1982: 216). But don't refuse until you have the right to have and to hold a passport.

"The Passport Officer"

This impartial dog's nose scrutinizes the lamppost. All in good order.

He sets his seal on it and moves on to the next.

(The drippings of his forerunners convey no information, barely a precedent. His actions arc reflex.)

- Basil Bunting (109)

"Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."

"The Secretary of State of the United States hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need, to give all lawful aid and protection."

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question. . . Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit.

T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock"

"The population should be homogenous; where two or more cultures exist in the same place they are likely either to be fiercely self-conscious or both to become adulterate."

T. S. Eliot, After Strange Gods

"The sole purpose of the police is to lead man to the utmost happiness to be enjoyed in this life."

Delamare, Compendium (qtd Omnes 2: 250)

"There exists a world Communist movement which, in its origins, its development, and its present practice, is a world-wide revolutionary movement whose purpose it is, by treachery, deceit, infiltration into other groups (governmental and otherwise), espionage, sabotage, terrorism, and any other means deemed necessary to establish a Communist totalitarian dictatorship in the countries throughout the world. . . . The direction and control of the world Communist movement is vested in and exercised by the Communist dictatorship of a foreign country."

U.S. Internal Security Act (also known as Subversive Activities Control Act), 1950, [Sections]2

When he testified before HUAC in July 1956, Robeson was informed by Rep. Walter, Committee chair, that the current passport regulations had been enacted because "we are trying to make it easier to get rid of your kind." When asked why he hadn't simply moved to Russia, Robeson explained: "Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you. And no Fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?" (Michaels 139, n58)

Reflecting on the staggering discretionary powers which the passport extends to the American government, Reginald Parker ironically observes: "[If they] were covered by law, then it would be proper to question whether we had forsaken the democratic way of law and life, for... this type of administrative decision is contrary to the very heart of our idea of state which guarantees freedom of association, of fact-finding, of dissenting and non-conforming, of expatriation, and of pursuing one's happiness, which indubitably includes the liberty, to take a vacation or attend meetings abroad. Fortunately, the State Department's practice is not grounded in any law." (861)

"1. Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union.

2. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby."

Article 8a, Maastricht Treaty

"Europe finds it hard enough to agree on what it means to be a European. But there seems, in some quarters at least, to be a rapidly developing consensus about who is to be excluded from any access to any definition which might emerge."

Paul Boateng, MP, British House of Commons, in the Preface to Unequal Migrants (Joint Council I)

"For me the importance of hybridity is not to be able to trace two original moments from which the third emerges, rather hybridity to me is the 'third space' which enables other positions to emerge. This third space displaces the histories that constitute it, and sets up new structures of authority, new political initiatives, which are inadequately understood through received wisdom."

Homi Bhabha ("The Third Space," in Rutherford 211)

When I landed in the republic of conscience it was so noiseless. . . .

At immigration, the clerk was an old man who produced a wallet from his homespun coat and showed me a photograph of my grandfather. . . .

No porters. No interpreter. No taxi. You carried your own burden and very soon your symptoms of creeping privilege disappeared....

At their inauguration, public leaders must swear to uphold unwritten law and weep to atone for their presumption to hold office -. . . .

I came back from that frugal republic with my two arms the one length, the customs woman having insisted my allowance was myself.

The old man rose and gazed into my face and said that was official recognition that I was now a dual citizen.

He therefore desired me when I got home to consider myself a representative and to speak on their behalf in my own tongue

Seamus Heaney, "From the Republic of Conscience"


1 As section IV details, Michel Foucault explored governmentality and bio-power in his lectures at the College de France in the 1970s and in his Introduction to The History of Sexuality. See also Burchell et al., The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality.

2 For such a discussion, see Paul Fussell (1980), especially "The Passport Nuisance'," 24-31.

3 In a 1977 interview, Lucette Finas asked Foucault to explain his writing technique, which gathered facts and discourses into its own discourse, which seemed to be disordered, flying from one point to another, and yet established abstract and far-reaching relations, achieving a dramatic, fictional form of analysis. Foucault replied, "I realize full well that I have never written anything other than fictions. I do want to say that this is outside of truth. It seems to me that it is possible to make fictions work within truth, to induce truth effects with a fictional discourse and to work in such a way that the discourse of truth elicits, fabricates, something that doesn't yet exist, and therefore 'fictionalizes.' One can 'fictionalize' history starting from a political reality that makes it true; one can fictionalize a politics that doesn't yet exist starting from a historical truth" (our trans.; 1994 3:236).

4 See note 29, below.

5 For pre-World War I studies of U.S. passport policies, see Hackworth 435-52, Hunt, and Moore 855-1022.

6 Legal historians point out that, whereas the 1856 statute (ch. 127, [section]23, 11 Stat. 52, 60) reads that the Secretary of State "shall be authorized to grant and issue passports, "an amendment of 1874 (Rev. Stat. [section]4075) changed the wording to "may," thereby reinforcing the discretionary character of the Secretary's power (Limoncelli 445).

7 Canadian legal scholars are only beginning to address the conflict between the Constitution and the country's passport regulations. The passport, instituted in 1947 when Canadian citizenship was legally established, offers an interesting conflation of sovereign and governmental prerogatives: "The Secretary of State for External Affairs of Canada requests, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary. THIS PASSPORT IS THE PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA." Yet the Constitution, cited at the beginning of the paper, guarantees its citizens mobility rights, thereby contradicting the state's prerogative to issue passports. See Arkelian, Lansing. The institution of Canadian citizenship, however, did not mean the end of internal colonialism. Thomas King's short story "Borders" vividly presents the experience of a Blackfoot woman who refuses to declare Canadian or American citizenship at the Canada-U.S. border. She eschews any passport or citizenship declaration which has been imposed on her and her people and is left stranded in the no-man's land between the two borders. Customs officers, on both sides, only let her through when the television news reporters arrive (King 129-45).

8 See Woolf below, section IV.

9 In its 1974 report, the British Section of the International Commission of Jurists commented that "the category of persons qualified to counter-sign is conceived in such a way as to cause practical problems for many applicants. Some feel, additionally, that the category of qualified countersignatories is expressed in a way strangely reminiscent of early twentieth-century middle class attitudes, omitting as it does teachers, trade union officials, university lecturers, etc" (Thornberry 21; emphasis ours).

10 The size of the forehead, for example, was believed to indicate level of intelligence, propensity for violent or criminal behaviour, and even class. "Hooked"noses, as opposed to "normal" ones, identified Jews negatively. See Gilman, Leps.

11 Baldwin (1867-1947) was British prime minister three separate times: May 1923-January 1924; November 1924-June 1929; and June 1935-1937.

12 As Balibar suggests,

In essence, modern racism is never simply a "relationship to the Other" based upon a perversion of cultural or sociological difference; it is a relationship to the Other mediated by the intervention of the state. . . . In fact it is the state qua nation-state which actually produces national or pseudo-national "minorities" (ethnic, cultural, occupational). Were it not for its juridical and political intervention, these would remain merely potential. Minorities only exist in actuality from the moment when they are codified and controlled. Similarly, it is the state which, for more than a century, has established the strictest possible correlation . . . between citizenship or nationality rights and individual or collective social rights, thereby becoming itself a "national-social state." (15)

13 As Wier observes, "It was one of the supreme ironies of history that the monarchy which led Britain and the Empire through two wars against Germany should itself be of German origin and its members closely intermarried with high-ranking supporters of Kaiser William II or Adolf Hitler. Queen Victoria herself spoke English with a strong German accent, and German at home with Albert" (317). Victoria was the last Hanoverian monarch; Edward VII was the first from the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha.

14 From Eliot's 1928 poem, "A Song for Simeon":

Grant us thy peace. I have walked many years in this city, Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor, Have given and taken honour and ease. There went never any rejected from my door. Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children's children When the time of sorrow is come? They will take to the goat's path and the fox's home, Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords. (Complete Poems 105)

15 Foucault contextualizes the notion of "neighborhood" in terms of the larger problematic of space in our century. "The haunting obsession of the nineteenth century, "Foucault suggests,

was, we know, history; themes of development and stoppage, themes of crisis and cycle, themes of the accumulation of the past, the great overburdening of the dead, the menacing cooling down of the world. . . . Perhaps the current epoch would be, rather, the epoch of space. . . . We are in a moment when the world knows itself, I believe, less like a large life which would develop through time, than like a network which connects points and which interlaces its skein. (Des espaces autres 752; our trans.)

The localization of populations is mentioned by Foucault as an instance of the twentieth-century's fixation on space:

In an even more concrete manner, the problem of placement or of position arises for men [sic] in terms of demography; and this problem of human placement is not simply the question of knowing whether or not there is enough place for man in the world - a problem which is after all very important - it is also the problem of knowing which relations of neighborhood, what type of stockpiling, of circulation, of spotting, of classification of human elements must preferably be retained in such and such a situation to arrive at such and such an end. We are in an epoch when space gives itself to us in the form of relations of place. (Des espaces autres 753-54; our trans.)

16 "The value of universality, "Jacques Derrida suggests,

capitalizes all the antinomies, for it must be linked to the value of exemplarity that inscribes the universal in the proper body of a singularity, of an idiom or a culture, whether this singularity be individual, social, national, state, federal, confederal, or not. Whether it takes a national form or not, a refined, hospitable or aggressively xenophobic form or not, the self-affirmation of an identity always claims to be responding to the call or assignation of the universal. There are no exceptions to this law. No cultural identity presents itself as the opaque body of an untranslatable idiom, but always, on the contrary, as the irreplaceable inscription of the universal in the singular, the unique testimony to the human essence and to what is proper to man. Each time, it has to do with the discourse of responsibility: I have, the unique "I" has, the responsibility of testifying for universality. Each time, the exemplarity of the example is unique. That is why it can be put into a series and formalized into a law. (72-73)

17 A similar scene is featured in E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime (1974), which, like Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion (1987), revisits and reassesses the era of massive immigration to Canada and the U.S. in the first two decades of the century.

18 Pound persuaded Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry magazine, to publish

"Prufrock" in 1915; see Paige 50. At Pound's instigation, Eliot's first volume of poetry, Prufrock and Other Observations, was published by the Egoist Press in 1917. To assess the full extent of Pound's editorial role in the production of The Waste Land, see Valerie Eliot, "The Waste Land."

19 In June 1927, Eliot was officially received into the Church of England (see Gordon 132-133); in November 1927, he became a British citizen (Ackroyd 165). Both acts were publicly announced in the Preface to his 1928 essay collection For Lancelot Andrewes.

20 The history of one's being is figured in terms of the trajectory from young child playing to the "dust" of previous generations.

21 The poem is organized into five parts, each of which is titled; the structure mimics that of a well-made play - but there is no climax, no denouement. The mythic sub-text - the quest for the Holy Grail - is displaced as rigorously as it is inscribed.

22 Eliot himself suggests as much in the footnote which explains the figure of Tiresias:

Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a "character," is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the whole poem. (Complete Poems 78)

23 At a time when anti-German sentiments remained strong in Britain, Eliot insisted on rehabilitating German culture. The text repeatedly quotes Wagner's operas, some of which deal with Arthurian figures (Parsifal, Tristan and Isolde) but others which reinscribe myths central to the construction of the "German" (as opposed to Austrian or Prussian) identity. Interestingly, Eliot's working title for the poem was "'He Do the Police in Different Voices,'" a quotation from Dickens's Our Mutual Friend; Ezra Pound insisted that it be changed to The Waste Land.

24 Rather than positing a historical evolution from one mode to another (from a sovereign regime with its juridico-legal mechanisms drawing the boundaries between the permitted and the forbidden, to a disciplinary regime with its mechanisms of surveillance and correction, and finally to a governmental regime with its mechanisms of security), Foucault recognizes a triangular system of correlations between these mechanisms, within which one mode of power relations becomes dominant for a given period of time.

25 British Nationality Act, 1948 c.56; Aliens Order, 1953; British Nationality Act, 1958, c.10; Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962, c.21; British Nationality Act, 1965, c.34; Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1968, c. 9; Immigration Act, 1971, c. 77; British Nationality Act, 1981, c.61.

26 Miles, who cogently argues that "the ideological notion of 'race' is embedded in the British political process and political culture," also comments on the "simultaneous narrowing and widening of the category of British nationality by a succession of immigration and nationalist Acts from 1962 onwards, which reinforced 'whiteness' as a central symbol of Britishness" (191, 196-197).

27 "Instead of attaining individuals as legal subjects," Foucault observes,

capable of voluntary actions, as in sovereignty, instead of attaining them as a multiplicity of organisms and bodies susceptible of performances and required performances as in discipline, [governmental procedures] will try to attain specifically a population, . . . a multiplicity of individuals who exist only as profoundly, essentially, biologically linked to a materiality within which they live. (1989; our trans.)

28 The Soviet passport was perhaps the most extreme instantiation of the principles and security mechanisms of the police, in this century. Every Soviet citizen had to bear a passport which was, as Pipko and Pucciarelli state, "a biographical capsulization of its bearer in booklet form." The document contained, in addition to the usual information as to name (and photograph), place and date of birth, nationality (based on that of the parents), marital status and children, "a record of military service, place of work, notations concerning required alimony payments, if any, where the bearer ha[d] failed to make the required payments, and, most importantly, a propiska" (Pipko 34). The latter was a stamp, akin to an internal 'visa' system, granted by the agencies of internal affairs, giving its bearer the legal right to live in an exact location (not just a region in the Soviet Union, but a city, street, building, and apartment). The propiska was thus "at the very core of the means by which the ministry controls the Soviet population." (Pipko 34). For a more complete discussion of Russian and Soviet passports, see Matthews.

29 The state (the Prime Minister; various Lords; politicians such as Richard Dalloway, M.P.; bureaucrats like Hugh Whitbread); the judiciary (Sir John Buckhurst); the industrial middle class (Sally Seton, wife of the cotton manufacturer); the army (Septimus Smith, Evans, Mrs. Foxcroft's "nice boy [who] was killed," the soldiers who continue to march in London); the empire (Peter Walsh, the administrator, and Lady Bruton, who believes in enforced emigration to Canada of the unemployed working class); immigration (Rezia Smith, the Italian war bride; the "colonial" who "insulted the House of Windsor"); the church (Miss Kilman); mental and physical health (Drs. Bradshaw and Holmes); and academia (Prof. Brierly).

30 Only when discussing Sir William Bradshaw does the narrative irrupt into personification and didacticism. The narrator does not disguise its censure; instead, it directly specifies the necessary link between Bradshaw's "Proportion" and imperialism's "Conversion":

But Proportion has a sister, less smiling, more formidable, a Goddess even now engaged - in the heat and sands of India, the mud and swamp of Africa, the purlieus of London, wherever in short the climate or the devil tempts men to fall from the true belief which is her own - even now engaged in dashing down shrines, smashing idols, and setting up in their place her own stern countenance. Conversion is her name and she feasts on the feasts of the weakly, loving to impress, to impose, adoring her own features stamped on the face of the populace. (Woolf 109)

31 In a series of lectures given at the College de France in 1975-76, Foucault proposes that we reverse Clausewitz's famous saying to consider peace as war waged through other means. In this hypothesis, "political power. . . perpetually inscribes, through a kind of silent war, relations of force in institutions, in economic inequalities, in language, and onto the bodies of the one and the many." And these effects, we would argue, are mediated through such seemingly benign governmental measures as granting or withholding passports. The lectures are available on audio cassette at the Biblioteque du Saulchoir in Paris; they have been translated into Spanish and published as Genealogia del racismo (Foucault 1992: 29; our trans.).

32 For a summary of those cases from the 1940s and early 1950s in which U.S. citizens were refused passports, see "Passport Refusals."

33 On July 1, 1997, three million Hong Kong inhabitants who hold British passports became "British Nationals (Overseas)," bearers of passports "appropriate to their status" (Hong Kong [British Nationality] Order 1986) which disallow immigration into the UK.

34 The case of William Joyce is emblematic in this regard. Although an American citizen, Joyce had lived in Britain for more than two decades, and obtained a British passport by misrepresentation. During World War II, he broadcast Nazi propaganda from Berlin using the pseudonym of "Lord Haw-Haw." He was arrested in 1945, tried for treason, convicted, and hanged (in 1946). The British government used the fact that he held a British passport, and therefore owed allegiance to the Crown, to argue that it had the right to try him. But as the British Section of the International Commission of Jurists has subsequently noted,

The judgement has been widely criticized, and it is our view that the case was wrongly decided. . . . Its illogicality bars the way to any clear understanding of the law relating to passports. It is evident that the Crown owed the alien, Joyce, no duty of protection by virtue of his having a passport. (It would have owed him no legal duty of protection even had he been a citizen.) Why, then, should Joyce have owed allegiance while in Germany? A leading authority [de Smith, Constitutional and Administrative Law, 438] comments on this case that, "It is impossible to believe that the Crown has any legal duty to afford diplomatic protection to an alien outside H.M. dominions, even if he has obtained a United Kingdom passport by misrepresenting his citizenship." (Thornberry 7-8)

Thus, the British authorities were able to use the instrument of the passport as an expedient means of executing an alien.

35 The Minutes of the 1926 Conference record that

Mr. Sperling (Great Britain) said that, in order to shorten the discussion, it would be well for him to state quite definitely that the only resolution to which his delegation would be able to agree would be one to the effect that the world should be restored to such a state of affairs that passports would be no longer necessary. Such a resolution, however, would have little practical value. (45)

36 Resistance to the elimination of the passport has always been reiterated at the UN level. At a 1963 international conference on passports and other travel policies, Ehrlich notes, a

group of experts had recommended that the conference propose "replacement of passports by national identity documents. . . ."In part because of American opposition to this proposal, however, the conference members could agree only that national passports requirements should be reduced "to the minimum that is compatible with . . . national interests and security." (U.N. Doc. No. E/Conf. 47/18, at 6 [1963]; Ehrlich 131)

37 The European Union (EU) is the most recent name given to the association of European states. It was at first often referred to as "the Europe of Rome" (after the Treaty of Rome, 1957), then as the European Economic Community, which was instituted as the European Community' with the Maastricht Treaty (signed in 1992, effective 1 November 1993). This series of name changes works to push the driving economic imperatives to the background and to foreground instead the ostensible social and political dimensions of the treaties. Extensive documentation can be obtained at:

38 The Treaty of Rome (1957) entitled workers to reside in member states only after they had secured employment there.

39 Balibar cogently discusses the racism inherent in EU structures, but conceptualizes it in terms of an absence of state power, "a decomposition or deficiency of the state" (16, 6-7). We are suggesting that Foucault's concept of governmentality effectively reconfigures the problematic in terms of actual state practices.

40 Mandel describes the process of unequal development as does Wallerstein in both The Capitalist World and Geopolitics. Etienne Balibar concurs: "It is precisely this mode of differential reproduction which the European Community officially ratifies and will probably seek to protect" (13). See also Nell Smith and Balibar and Wallerstein.

41 "'And Madox returned to the village of Marston Magna, Somerset, where he had been born,'" Almasy gradually explains,

"It was July 1939. [Madox and his wife] caught a bus from their village into Yeovil. . . . When the sermon began half an hour later, it was jingoistic and without any doubt in its support of the war. . . . Madox listened as the sermon grew more and more impassioned. He pulled out the desert pistol, bent over and shot himself in the heart. He was dead immediately. A great silence. A desert silence. . . . Yes, Madox was a man who died because of nations." (Ondaatje 260)

42 "The plate she walked across the room with, flinging its contents aside, and broke across his head, the blood rising up into the straw hair. The fork that entered the back of his shoulder, leaving its bite marks the doctor suspected were caused by a fox" (Ondaatje 153).

43 As the English patient is later informed by David Caravaggio, to his great surprise. "'I was always a private man. It is difficult to realize I was so discussed.' 'You were having an affair with someone connected with Intelligence. There were some people in Intelligence who knew you personally.' 'Bagnold probably.' 'Yes.' 'Very English Englishman. "Yes'" (Ondaatje 255).

44 Readers of Ondaatje's In the Skin of the Lion know her as Hana Gull Lewis, but no family name is given in The English Patient. Her biological parents, Alice Gull and Cato, are identified only by pseudonyms; Patrick Lewis and Clara Dickens are her stepparents.

45 "The name had attached to him curiously," the narrative explains.

In his first bomb disposal report in England some butter had marked his paper, and the officer had exclaimed, "What's this? Kipper grease?" and laughter surrounded him. He had no idea what a kipper was, but the young Sikh had been thereby translated into a salty English fish. Within a week his real name, Kirpal Singh, had been forgotten. He hadn't minded this. (Ondaatje 87)

46 The Waste Land alludes to the First Punic War fought between Rome and the Carthaginians ("'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!'" [Eliot 1969: 62]); The English Patient frequently cites Herodotus's Histories, which narrates "the struggle between Asia and Greece, substantially from the time of Croesus to that of Xerxes" (Harvey 206).

47 The only exception to this textual silence is a historical reference by Kip which Hana ironically records "into the flyleaf" of an old copy of Kipling's Kim: "[Kip] says the gun - the Zam-Zammah cannon - is still there outside the museum in Lahore. There were two guns, made up of metal cups and bowls taken from every Hindu household in the city - as jizy. a, or tax. These were melted down and made into the guns. They were used in many battles in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries against Sikhs" (Ondaatje 118).

48 What is at times referred to as "strategic essentialism" - claiming an essential identity because of the pressures of a specific political conjuncture, and only until immediate goals are achieved - is a difficult line to walk. Essentialism has always been strategic, and its history written largely in violence. Kobena Mercer discusses the limits of essentialism in "Welcome to the Jungle: Identity and Diversity in Postmodern Politics."

49 Bhabha discusses these issues in the interview "The Third Space" (see Rutherford) and at greater length in The Location of Culture.


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Higgins is associate professor of English at York University, Toronto. She has published articles on modernist literary culture, textual studies, and gender, with emphasis on the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Walter Pater. Leps is associate professor of English and Social and Political Thought at York University, and the author of Apprehending the Criminal: the Production of Deviance in Nineteenth-Century Discourse.
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