English Seminar: ‘Daniel Defoe on Naturalization’ – School of Art Communication and English English Seminar: ‘Daniel Defoe on Naturalization’ – School of Art Communication and English

English Seminar: ‘Daniel Defoe on Naturalization’

‘Daniel Defoe on Naturalization’

Presenter: Marc Mierowsky (UMelb)


In this paper I examine the importance of naturalization to Daniel Defoe’s political thinking in his poetry, journalism and novels. I argue that Defoe’s efforts to encourage immigration by broadening access to legal citizenship not only provide crucial insight into his view of ‘the people’ as a national political community but also point to the role he envisioned his writing played in bringing subjects together in its formation. I begin by tracing Defoe’s approach to naturalization to The True-born Englishman (1700), the poem that established his reputation as an advocate for immigration reform. I then track Defoe’s activism in favour of The Foreign Protestants Naturalization Act (7 Anne c. 5) before its passage in March 1709 and after its repeal in 1711 (10 Anne c. 9), as debate turned to the fate of successive alien populations: Huguenot and Palatine refugees and England’s Jews. Attention to the ways Defoe deployed poetry and prose fiction during these debates allows us to reach a better understanding of how extra-legal modes of affiliation informed early arguments on immigration law. What emerges in Defoe’s case is that naturalization was both a civic concept and a literary-critical process: how a piece of writing was assimilated to the broader culture had a direct bearing on how readers felt their obligations to each other and to the state.

 Marc Mierowsky is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow in English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is one of the editors of The Correspondence of Daniel Defoe (Cambridge UP, 2022) and co-editor with Nicholas Seager of Defoe’s Roxana; or the Fortunate Mistress for Oxford World’s Classics (Oxford UP, 2022). His first book, A Spy Amongst Us: Defoe’s Secret Service and the Campaign to End Scottish Independence, is forthcoming with Yale University Press.


This particular event will be held online via Zoom only.

Contact: Liam Semler (liam.semler@sydney.edu.au).


English Research Seminars in Semester 1

18 May

Zoom only

Claire Hansen (ANU) and Bríd Phillips (ECU), ‘“Wilt break my heart?” Manifestations of Broken Heart Syndrome in Shakespeare and Early Modern England.’
25 May

Zoom only


Tom Sykes (University of Portsmouth, UK), ‘Pearl of the Orientalists: Western Writers and Reporters on Manila from the Spanish Colonial Era to the Contemporary “Drug War.”’


Co-hosted by Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and the English Department.

1 June

Woolley Common Room and Zoom

Julia Cooper Clark, ‘Porous Bodies and Fluid Subjectivity in the Poetry of Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Natalie Diaz.’
15 June

Woolley Common Room and Zoom

Marc Mierowsky, ‘Daniel Defoe on Naturalization’
29 June

Woolley Common Room and Zoom

Freya MacDonald, ‘Species extinction, vanishing limbs, Instagram, and Bushfires: an ecocritical reading of existentialism in the Anthropocene in Richard Flanagan’s The Living Sea of Waking Dreams.’


Kira Legaan, ‘The Body and the Page: The Challenge of Adaptation.’


Jun 15 2022


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

More Info

Join via Zoom


Via Zoom

Comments are closed.