Charlie Piot discusses his paper on Togolese who apply for the US Diversity Lottery Visa, and its "cat-and-mouse game between street and embassy."
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 ad ding "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 of their moral worth as citizens – tests that immediately circulate to those on the street.
Charlie Piot explores the cat-and-mouse game between street and embassy, situating it within the post-Cold War conjuncture – of ongoing crisis, of an eviscerated though-still-dictatorial state, of social death and the emptiness of citizenship under such conditions, of a sprawling transnational diaspora and the desires and longings it creates, of informationalism and its new technologies, of surveillance regimes and their travails.
Location -- Building 50, Room 51a