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The Shamama Case: Contesting Citizenship across the Modern Mediterranean Hardcover – November 15, 2022

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Editorial Reviews


The Shamama Case is a riveting international thriller on a human scale, raising pressing and timely questions about the nature of legal identity in the modern Mediterranean and offering a model of a life lived across borders, cultures, languages, and the law. Jessica Marglin has applied her characteristic rigor as a researcher and flair as a narrator to produce an essential book of Mediterranean, Jewish, and legal history.”―Sarah Abrevaya Stein, author of Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey through the Twentieth Century

“Marglin takes readers on a thrilling ride through the nineteenth-century Mediterranean, combining the energy of operatic drama and mystery with crucial, substantive analysis of law, sovereignty, and the meanings and experiences of Jewishness. We come out with a vivid understanding not just of a complicated life and its material legacy but of the unity and diversity of a Mediterranean in flux.”
―Christine M. Philliou, author of Turkey: A Past against History

“Marglin takes us to a universe that is as fabulous as it is true. She skillfully unpacks what it means to inhabit a Mediterranean world where identities and borders are still in flux and where multiple communities, practices, rules, and experts coexist. She brilliantly shows how larger changes can allow individuals to refashion who they were, who they are, and what they would like to be.”
―Tamar Herzog, author of A Short History of European Law

“A masterpiece of microhistory, this absorbing narrative sits atop a vast reservoir of sources from five countries and in a half-dozen languages. Strikingly original, the book’s accessible presentation and meticulous attention to context will make it appealing to students of colonial history, Middle Eastern history, and Jewish history as well as legal history."
―Derek Penslar, Harvard University

The Shamama Case is an astonishing piece of research, analysis, and writing that delves into competing and intersecting notions of nationality and belonging of various stripes and types. Unfailingly elegant throughout, this compelling book is unusually rich in archival material culled from an equally astonishing number of collections in many languages.”―Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona

About the Author

Jessica M. Marglin is associate professor of religion, history, and law and the Ruth Ziegler Early Career Chair in Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Across Legal Lines.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Princeton University Press (November 15, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0691235872
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0691235875
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.8 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 1.25 x 9.25 inches

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