Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stein on Citizenship & the Jewish Diaspora

Sarah Abrevaya Stein (UCLA) has published Extraterritorial Dreams: European Citizenship, Sephardi Jews, and the Ottoman Twentieth Century with the University of Chicago Press. From the publisher:
Product DetailsWe tend to think of citizenship as something that is either offered or denied by state. Modern history teaches otherwise. Reimagining citizenship as a legal spectrum along which individuals can travel, Extraterritorial Dreams explores the history of Ottoman Jews who sought, acquired, were denied or stripped of citizenship in Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—as the Ottoman Empire retracted and new states were born—in order to ask larger questions about the nature of citizenship itself. 
Sarah Abrevaya Stein traces the experiences of Mediterranean Jewish women, men, and families who lived through a tumultuous series of wars, border changes, genocides, and mass migrations, all in the shadow of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the ascendance of the modern passport regime. Moving across vast stretches of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas, she tells the intimate stories of people struggling to find a legal place in a world ever more divided by political boundaries and competing nationalist sentiments. From a poor youth who reached France as a stowaway only to be hunted by the Parisian police as a spy to a wealthy Baghdadi-born man in Shanghai who willed his fortune to his Eurasian Buddhist wife, Stein tells stories that illuminate the intertwined nature of minority histories and global politics through the turbulence of the modern era.
Praise for the book:

“A scintillating study of the various moments and places in which numerous empires met, overlapped, and competed, as well as the individuals who moved between these empires, both physically and through the papers they carried and lost, Extraterritorial Dreamsis incredibly rich, evocative, and persuasive in its exposition of the broad and diverse landscapes in which the author’s story unfolds.” –Julia Philips Cohen

“From the stunningly diverse histories of Ottoman Jews who held (or lost) the protection of European powers during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Stein weaves a powerful and compelling tale of the shifting parameters of citizenship that evinces the human dramas not always evident in passports and legal documents. She brilliantly charts the ways in which ‘protection’ could be the stuff of both dreams and nightmares, offering new freedoms as well as imposing new dangers. In this deeply moving history, the human costs of being a legal misfit or anomaly are made visceral, along with the messiness of modern citizenship itself. This story of the complex range of citizenships held (and imagined) by Ottoman Jews prompts a larger rethinking of histories of belonging and exclusion that is urgently relevant to—and revelatory for—our contemporary world.” –Jordanna Bailkin

“From Salonika to Alexandria, from London to Baghdad to Shanghai and many places in between, Stein takes her readers on an unforgettable journey through the complex legal landscape traversed in the twentieth century by ‘protected persons’ as war, unrest, and changing imperial or national agendas transformed the legal and geopolitical stakes of a centuries-old rights regime. Stein’s vivid storytelling and incisive analysis leave no doubt that the study of ‘protection’ has much to tell us about the power and limits of modern citizenship.” –Mary Dewhurst Lewis

You can listen to the author’s New Books Network interview on Extraterritorial Dreams. Here is further information on the book.