Extraterritorial DreamsEuropean Citizenship, Sephardi Jews, and the Ottoman Twentieth Century

Extraterritorial DreamsEuropean Citizenship, Sephardi Jews, and the Ottoman Twentieth Century

Sarah Abrevaya Stein

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226368191

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Crossing Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East, North Africa, south and east Asia, as well as the major conflicts of a century, this book takes shape where empires, states, and individuals meet, compete, and collide. It traces interactions between the states of Europe and Ottoman-born Jews who held, sought, or lost the legal protection of a European power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the early modern capitulatory regime gave way to a modern passport regime and the Ottoman Empire to successor states. Some Ottoman Jewish protégés remained in their birthplace as extraterritorial subjects, partaking in a transition from empire to nation-state, protectorate, or mandate regime. Others carried their status as émigrés or passed their legal identity to descendants born outside the empire. All told, protection proved a matter of negotiation and experimentation and a measure of the diffuse and unruly nature of state power: and citizenship a spectrum for individuals to navigate rather than a possession to claim. Extraterritorial Dreams demonstrates that authorities athwart Europe harboured phantasmagorical ideas about the benefits Ottoman Jews offered (or the threat they posed to) the state, particularly at times of war and imperial expansion; that Jewish protégés’ histories resonated with those of non-Jewish protégés, would-be protégés, and colonial subjects; and that Jewish holders and seekers of protection employed creative means of manipulating state law to their advantage. Even as the capitulatory regime and Ottoman Empire were crumbling, protection proved a plastic entity shaped by the competing dreams and nightmares of the parties involved.