Statelessness has been recognized as one of the major maladies of the 20th century. Historians, lawyers, political philosophers and others took a critical aim at the the exclusionary power of the nation state and decried the position of those stripped of their passport and rights. A stateless refugee, without state protection and possibly relying on a “Nansen passport”, become the symbol of exclusion from polity. The revocation of citizenship was no inconsequential step and could equal to decision about life and death.
Yet the processes and decision making behind becoming stateless were mostly studied on a national level, for instance for refugees from Nazi Germany or the denaturalizations by Vichy France. Moreover, the scholarship leaned towards European and – with the troubled exceptions of the Soviet or Romanian denationalization – mostly “Western” nation states with only a limited amount of comparative research exploring the phenomenon globally, in its colonial dimensions, and over a longer temporal span. The workshop will bring together scholars to discuss mass denationalization in the 20th century from a comparative and transnational perspective, combining macro- as well as microhistorical approaches.
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