Virtual Event: Mira L. Siegelberg
A Modern History
in conversation with KATRINA FORRESTER
October 26, 2020
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes MIRA L. SIEGELBERG—University Lecturer in the History of International Political Thought at the University of Cambridge—for a discussion of her book Statelessness: A Modern History. She will be joined in conversation by KATRINA FORRESTER, Assistant Professor of Government and Social Studies at Harvard University and author of In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy.
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Two world wars left millions stranded in Europe. The collapse of empires and the rise of independent states in the twentieth century produced an unprecedented number of people without national belonging and with nowhere to go. Mira Siegelberg’s innovative history weaves together ideas about law and politics, rights and citizenship, with the intimate plight of stateless persons, to explore how and why the problem of statelessness compelled a new understanding of the international order in the twentieth century and beyond.
In the years following the First World War, the legal category of statelessness generated novel visions of cosmopolitan political and legal organization and challenged efforts to limit the boundaries of national membership and international authority. Yet, as Siegelberg shows, the emergence of mass statelessness ultimately gave rise to the rights regime created after World War II, which empowered the territorial state as the fundamental source of protection and rights, against alternative political configurations.
Today we live with the results: more than twelve million people are stateless and millions more belong to categories of recent invention, including refugees and asylum seekers. By uncovering the ideological origins of the international agreements that define categories of citizenship and non-citizenship, Statelessness better equips us to confront current dilemmas of political organization and authority at the global level.
Praise for Statelessness
"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
"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
"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
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