Continuing our recap of recent ASLH honorees, we turn now to the winner of the Surrency Article Prize, awarded annually "for the best article published in the Society’s journal, the Law and History Review, in the previous year." That winner is Jessica Marglin (University of Southern California), for her article “Extraterritoriality and Legal Belonging in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean,” Law and History Review 39:4 (2021): 679-706. The citation:
Jessica Marglin’s “Extraterritoriality and Legal Belonging in the Nineteenth- Century Mediterranean” transforms historical understandings of international law, state membership, empire building, and modernity. The article upends a simple narrative that nationality law evolved wholly within national boundaries. Instead, Marglin shows that “the challenges and opportunities presented by extraterritoriality” – specifically, Middle Eastern states’ need to assert jurisdiction over their subjects and Western Empires’ desire to intervene in local affairs – shaped the evolution of legal membership that was fragmentary and differentiated among classes of people. This extraordinary article features rigorous research in multilingual archives, deep thought, careful analysis, and compelling stories. Marglin presents two case studies: the legislation of legal belonging in Tunisia, the Ottoman Empire, and Morocco and the evolution of belonging in colonial North Africa. She introduces readers to a widow living in Istanbul who sought the resolution of an estate under Greek law, Algerians living in Tripolitania and Algeria who appealed to French consular authority, and other creative legal entrepreneurs. Marglin excavates the legal entanglements of consular officers, foreign affairs ministers, and judges respecting the status of individuals living within the jurisdiction of one state while claiming the protection of another. Offering new insight into the nature and historical evolution of legal membership in the Middle East, Marglin demonstrates the exciting potential global legal history holds to illuminate trans-regional sources.
Congratulations to Professor Marglin, and thank you to the members of the prize committee, chaired by Deborah Dinner, for their service!
-- Karen Tani