Migration Stories: The US Visa Lottery and Global Citizenship

A book about Togolese who apply for the US Diversity Visa lottery will be completed.  More Togolese per capita apply for the Green Card lottery than those from any other African country, with winners attempting to game the system by adding “spouses” and dependents to their dossiers. The US consulate in Lomé knows this gaming is going on and constructs ever-more-elaborate tests to attempt to decipher the authenticity of winners’ marriages and job profiles – and their moral worth as citizens – tests that immediately circulate to those on the street. The cat-and-mouse game between street and embassy is explored, situating it within the post-Cold War conjuncture – of ongoing crisis, of a sprawling transnational diaspora and the desires and longings it creates, of informationalism and its new technologies, of surveillance regimes and their travails.  It is suggested that the DV lottery constitutes a generative fantasy about exile and citizenship and global membership today.

Project leader(s):
  • Charles Piot (Duke)

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