Monthly Publications Update: October 2017

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Grossman-Thompson, Barbara, and Dannah Dennis.  Citizenship in the Name of the Mother: Nationalism, Social Exclusion, and Gender in Contemporary Nepal.  positions: asia critique 25:4 (2017): 795-820.

(Asia (excl. Middle East and Turkey) - South Asia, Nepal - gender and nationalism - ethnic nationalism, citizenship - ethnography - participant observation, interviews, textual analysis.) 

In 2006, the Nepali government made it feasible for women to pass citizenship onto their children. In 2015, a new constitution overrode these gains and again made it impossible to grant citizenship through the maternal line alone. Nepal's current gender-discriminatory citizenship laws are rooted in historical social and geopolitical tensions with India, especially nationalistic fears about Indian encroachment into Nepali territory and politics. This article argues that resurgent resistance to equitable citizenship laws does not simply reflect hegemonic Hindu patriarchal norms. This resistance is also a reactive stance against Indian influence as embodied by the real and potential coupling of Nepali women and Indian men whose children would further “Indianize” Nepal. This article suggests that restricting Nepali women's right to pass citizenship is a form of policing the boundaries of the state body via policing women's bodies, especially their reproductive capabilities.


Ninhos, Cláudia, Fernando Clara (eds.).  Closing the Door on Globalization: Internationalism, Nationalism, Culture and Science in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.  London: Routledge, 2018.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - Europe, Western World - Nationalism, Internationalism - Science, Culture, History.) 

This is a book about the tensions and entangled interactions between internationalism and nationalism, and about the effects both had on European scientific and cultural settings from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. From chemistry to philology the essays tackle different historical case studies exploring how the paths taken by science and culture during the period were affected by nationalism and internationalism.


Frey, David.  Jews, Nazis, and the Cinema of Hungary: The Tragedy of Success, 1929-1944.  Londion: IB Tauris, 2017.

(Europe (excl. Russia and the former Soviet Union) - Eastern Europe, Nazi Germany - Transnationalism - Antisemitism, Cultural Nationalism - History - Film Studies.) 

Between 1929 and 1942, Hungary's motion picture industry experienced meteoric growth. It leapt into Europe's top echelon, trailing only Nazi Germany and Italy in feature output. Yet by 1944, Hungary's cinema was in shambles, internal and external forces having destroyed its unification experiments and productive capacity. This original cultural and political history examines the birth, unexpected ascendance, and wartime collapse of Hungary's early sound cinema by placing it within a complex international nexus. Detailing the interplay of Hungarian cultural and political elites, Jewish film professionals and financiers, Nazi officials, and global film moguls, David Frey demonstrates how the transnational process of forging an industry designed to define a national culture proved particularly contentious and surprisingly contradictory in the heyday of racial nationalism and antisemitism.{51A6F587-FDE7-4FB6-876A-D0E957B93869}


Mills, Amy.  The Cultural Geopolitics of Ethnic Nationalism: Turkish Urbanism in Occupied Istanbul (1918-1923).  Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107:5 (2017): 1179-1193.

(The Middle East and Turkey (excl. North Africa) - Ottoman Empire - ethnic nationalism - urban geography - textual analysis of urban satire.) 

What are the roles of history and memory in geopolitics? How does urban experience influence geopolitical understandings of one’s place in the world? This article brings these questions to a study of how Ottoman Turkish citizens of Istanbul came to link ethnicity with nationalism and to view their Greek Orthodox neighbors as national betrayers. I propose an explicitly cultural geopolitics: an affective, embodied critical geopolitics contextually dependent on experience, encounter, and memory in place. My sources are postwar Ottoman humor gazettes published in Istanbul, the waning capital of the Ottoman Empire, while it was occupied by Allied

forces immediately after World War I. The future sovereignty of the city was unknown, and there was no coherent state structure. As normative (and also subversive) popular media, humor gazettes illustrate the reverberation of postwar geopolitics with the lived and remembered processes of urban place. Ethno-nationalist Turkish belonging in Istanbul was a form of urbanism, composed of place-based norms for behavior and a commonly understood cultural geography of the city. Satirical depictions of urban Turkish and Greek encounters during the armistice era betray a Turkish anxiety surrounding territorial and historical claims to the city and also a simultaneous questioning and hardening of the imagined geographies that demarcated Turkish and Greek identities as nationally distinct. This research illuminates the topological and relational dimensions of ethnonationalist identity formation and the role of urban cultural processes in political belonging in the contemporary Middle East. Key Words: critical geopolitics, memory, nationalism, Ottoman Empire, urbanism.


Shneiderman, Sara.  Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India.  Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017 (Paperback); 2015 (Hardback).

(Asia (excl. Middle East and Turkey) - Nepal, India, Himalaya - Ethnicity - Mobility, Borders - Ethnography - textual analysis, media analysis.) 

Rituals of Ethnicity is a transnational study of the relationships between mobility, ethnicity, and ritual action. Through an ethnography of the Thangmi, a marginalized community who migrate between Himalayan border zones of Nepal, India, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, Shneiderman offers a new explanation for the persistence of enduring ethnic identities today despite the increasing realities of mobile, hybrid lives. She shows that ethnicization may be understood as a process of ritualization, which brings people together around the shared sacred object of identity.

The first comprehensive ethnography of the Thangmi, Rituals of Ethnicity is framed by the Maoist-state civil conflict in Nepal and the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland in India. The histories of individual nation-states in this geopolitical hotspot—as well as the cross-border flows of people and ideas between them—reveal the far-reaching and mutually entangled discourses of democracy, communism, development, and indigeneity that have transformed the region over the past half century. Attentive to the competing claims of diverse members of the Thangmi community, from shamans to political activists, Shneiderman shows how Thangmi ethnic identity is produced collaboratively by individuals through ritual actions embedded in local, national, and transnational contexts. She builds upon the specificity of Thangmi experiences to tell a larger story about the complexities of ethnic consciousness: the challenges of belonging and citizenship under conditions of mobility, the desire to both lay claim to and remain apart from the civil society of multiple states, and the paradox of self-identification as a group with cultural traditions in need of both preservation and development. Through deep engagement with a diverse, cross-border community that yearns to be understood as a distinctive, coherent whole, Rituals of Ethnicity presents an argument for the continued value of locally situated ethnography in a multisited world.