October 27, 2020: a new book chapter I wrote for a volume on the Ottoman Empire in international law comes out this month! Titled, ““Claimed by Turkey as Subjects”: Ottoman Migrants, Foreign Passports, and Syrian Nationality in the Americas, 1915–1925,” the chapter appears in a new book, The Subjects of Ottoman International Law (Indiana University Press, 2020).
In Arab American studies, it’s long been understood that Syrian immigrants became “legally white” in 1915’s George Dow v United States. This access to whiteness was critical in getting access to US citizenship. However, US laws governing Syrian racial status also bore implications beyond the US context. Starting with Dow (1915), this chapter examines the implications of wartime laws governing Syrian and Lebanese ethnicity in the United States on emerging nationality codes post-1918. It argues that a “Syrian American legal exceptionalism” in US law divided Arabic-speaking Ottoman immigrants from other Ottoman groups for the purposes of wartime mobilization. US laws set a precedent for the first post-Ottoman laws governing national origins as France asserted itself as Syria and Lebanon’s administration. In sum, the chapter considers the intrinsic link between the assertion of post-Ottoman nationalities by Syrians in the mahjar (diaspora) and the arrival of practical nationalities in the eastern Mediterranean.
The book can be viewed in its entirety here: https://iupress.org/9780253056610/the-subjects-of-ottoman-international-law/