In her book, Statelessness: A Modern History
(Harvard University Press, 2020), Mira L. Siegelberg traces the history of the concept of statelessness in the years following the First and Second World Wars. At its core, this thoughtful monograph is an intellectual history of an idea that jurists in the United States and Europe struggled to agree upon after the fall of traditional imperial ways of structuring belonging. Siegelberg’s book examines how debates regarding statelessness redefined many of the core concepts that structured modern politics, such as sovereignty, citizenship, and the broad spectrum of terms in English, French, and German that described the state of not having a national affiliation. The book’s methodologically pluralist approach also brings many other aspects of the problem of statelessness into focus, such its implications on the global humanitarian crisis that followed these two conflicts, its resonance in particular ethnic communities, and the way it redefined many ideas about citizenship. This book will be of interest to scholars of the history of empire and law, international history, the history of migration, and a range of other topics in global history.
Steven P. Rodriguez is a PhD candidate in history at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on the history of Latin American student migration to the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his twitter at @SPatrickRod.