"A highly original and well-studied work which fills several lacunas in Ottoman history."—Iris Agmon, author of Family and Court: Legal Culture and Modernity in Late Ottoman Palestine
"This expertly constructed, tightly argued, and pellucidly written study helps us to understand not only a significant case of Ottoman legal exceptionalism, but also the tension between the homogenizing reforms on the one hand and the vital political interests of the state, the attempts at nation formation, and the sectarian strife that marked the late Ottoman Empire on the other."—M. Sükrü Hanioglu, author of A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire
"An important and innovative study of marriage prohibitions that defined the heavily contested frontier between Iraq and Iran in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Drawing on a wealth of previously unused Ottoman sources, Kern traces the pressures of nationalism and citizenship in restricting intermarriage between Persian Shiites and Ottoman Sunni Muslims in Baghdad and Basra."—Eugene L. Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History
Imperial Citizen examines the intersection between Ottoman imperialism, control of the Iraqi frontier through centralization policies, and the impact of those policies on Ottoman citizenship laws and on the institution of marriage. In an effort to maintain control of the Iraqi provinces, the Ottomans adapted their 1869 citizenship law to prohibit marriage between Ottoman women and Iranian men. This prohibition was an attempt to contain the threat that the Iranian Shi‘a population represented to Ottoman control of these provinces.
In Imperial Citizen, Kern establishes this 1869 law as a point of departure for an illuminating exploration of an emerging concept of modern citizenship. She unfolds the historical context of the law and systematically analyzes the various modifications it underwent, pointing to its far-reaching implications throughout society, particularly on landowners, the military, and Sunni women and their children. Kern’s fascinating account offers an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the Ottoman Iraqi frontier and its passage to modernity.
Karen M. Kern is associate professor of history at Hunter College. She specializes in Ottoman and Middle East history, and law and legal institutions. She has published articles in Turkish Studies Association Journal and the Arab Studies Journal.
6 x 9, 204 pages