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TALK | Passports and the Production of Post-Ottoman Syrian Nationality, 1918-21
TALK | Passports and the Production of Post-Ottoman Syrian Nationality, 1918-21
WhenTuesday, May 29, 2018, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Campus locationThomson Hall (THO)
Campus room317
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSponsored by the Middle East Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. Part of the 2018 Spring Quarter "Voices in Middle East Studies" series. Contact:

Presenter: Stacy D. Fahrenthold, Assistant Professor of History, California State University Stanislaus

With the end of the First World War in 1918, a half million Syrian and Lebanese migrants living in diaspora confronted a new question: stay in America or return home? Representing a fifth of Syria’s total population, the emigrants had departed the Middle East as Ottoman subjects, carrying Ottoman passports, and claiming Ottoman nationality. During the war, all that had changed: as Ottomans living in a pro-Entente hemisphere, Syrian migrants participated in the war against Istanbul, and were granted foreign passports along the way. Passports were more than a means of travel control: the United States, France, and émigré nationalists alike used them to claim Syrian migrants living abroad for the purposes of Middle Eastern state-building. Fahrenthold considers the ways that passport regimes invented new nationalities among Ottoman subjects abroad after 1918, refitting the mahjar into the cartographic mold of the territorial nation-state. In a world of multiplying borders, papers are powerful indeed.

Stacy Fahrenthold is a historian of the Middle East, with research specializations on modern Syria and Lebanon, migration, displacement, and the First World War in the Ottoman Empire. She received her Ph.D. at Northeastern University in 2014 and is now an Assistant Professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus.…
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