Cover: Statelessness: A Modern History, from Harvard University PressCover: Statelessness in HARDCOVER


A Modern History

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$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674976313

Publication Date: 10/06/2020


328 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Siegelberg’s book is the first to consider the evolution of statelessness as a legal, humanitarian, and philosophical matter. It’s an essential contribution to scholarship on the subject, and it could not appear at a more fitting time.—Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, New York Review of Books

Illuminating and rich… Over 10 million people are stateless today, and governments seem hell-bent on increasing their numbers… Siegelberg’s account offers a sober corrective to dewy-eyed stories in which the formation of postwar international institutions like the U.N. curtailed state-inflicted cruelties.—Udi Greenberg, New Republic

Demonstrate[s] just how late the conceptual and legal borders of our political world map were drawn… Statelessness concerns the ways in which international lawyers and political scientists have responded to the modern phenomenon of exclusion and displacement that characterized much of the twentieth century and that forced new ways of thinking about the role of borders and boundaries of membership.—Ruth Balint, Australian Book Review

Compelling… This is an impressive work that shows the impact of legal thought on social reality and the significance of possessing a (legal) identity—both at the beginning of the twentieth century and today… Siegelberg’s text is an important contribution, as she makes the understudied topic of statelessness intelligible and, on top of that, demonstrates how it intertwines with other foundational political concepts, such as sovereignty, citizenship, and human rights.—Isadora Dullaert, LSE Review of Books

[An] important study.—Francis Wade, The Baffler

A necessary exploration of the development of statelessness as a Western philosophical and jurisprudential concept in the early and mid-twentieth century… A must-read for scholars and legal professionals studying citizenship and/or working on immigration, political theory, and human rights as it provides a needed engagement with statelessness as a contentious concept… A fascinating and important read.—Brittany Lehman, EuropeNow

A fine-grained history of statelessness.—James H. McDonald, New York Journal of Books

Drawing on a wide variety of archival sources…she documents how the problem of statelessness informed theories of human rights and sovereignty… A comprehensive overview of international perspectives and experiences concerning statelessness and the modern state’s power to exclude.—Laura van Waas and Natalie Brinham, Project Syndicate

Mira Siegelberg demonstrates that the question of statelessness, now a relatively minor aspect of a larger refugee crisis, in fact lies at the heart of the transformations in legal consciousness that produced the fragile and often ambiguous postwar international rights regime. Statelessness is an important book and a magnificent achievement.—Mark Mazower, author of Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century

A book equal parts compelling and sobering, Statelessness lives up to the importance of its topic. Siegelberg writes conceptual history for our twenty-first-century world.—Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, University of California, Berkeley

Mira Siegelberg’s relentless and imaginative exploration of statelessness in the twentieth century ranges across several disciplines, languages, and legal traditions. Along the way, she manages to recast core episodes in the history of modern political and legal thought. And, even more, she models an ambitious approach to a critical history of international law.—Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University

This insightful and well-written work opens up a new perspective on the formation of our present international order and the place of individuals within it. With mass migration caused by wars and, in the future, by climate change, the problem of statelessness is not going to go away. In a moment when we need to think again about the relationship between states and individuals, this book is a good place from which to start.—Martti Koskenniemi, author of The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law, 1870–1960

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