Friday, November 25, 2016

Ponsa on Munshi, “'You Will See My Family Became So American': Toward a Minor Comparativism"

More from JOTWELL's legal history section. Christina Duffy Ponsa (Columbia University) has posted an admiring review of Sherally Munshi's article “'You Will See My Family Became So American': Toward a Minor Comparativism," which appeared in Volume 63 of the American Journal of Comparative Law (2015). Here's the first paragraph of Ponsa's review:
Sherally Munshi has written a thoughtful and moving article about the relationship among race, citizenship, immigration, and the visual imagery of assimilation and difference. In “You Will See My Family Became So American,” she tells the story of Dinshah Ghadiali, a Parsi Zoroastrian born and raised in India who immigrated to the United States in 1911, became a U.S. citizen in 1917, and prevailed over the federal government’s effort to strip him of that citizenship in 1932. Along with Ghadiali himself—proud American, soldier, erstwhile inventor, political activist, and all in all memorable character with a larger-than-life personality—the protagonists in the story are a striking series of photographs Ghadiali submitted into evidence in his denaturalization trial. Munshi’s bold and ranging exploration of a variety of themes in the legal history of race, citizenship, and immigration culminates in a close reading of these photographs, in which she shows how the images reveal the tension between the “effortful displays of Americanization… and unwitting disclosures of racial identity.” (P. 693.)
Read on here.