Kinship communities during the long 19th century in the Balkans, Asia, Africa, and the Americas and the state are separate and mutually exclusive entities. This is one of the most persistent academic claims regarding kinship communities. Hence, they have exclusively been analyzed within a national context and as the product of specific ethnic culture and circumstance. However, new studies have demonstrated how these fabrics and the (colonial) state existed within each other. This led to their mutual empowerment, interrelation, and cultural exchange. These communities should not be seen as monolithic blocks but given the process of communal genesis have included and molded non-kinship population. They also possessed their vision of imperialism, law, and sovereignty which the governments tended to confine. Various state-backed policies were meant to create new forms of social, confessional, and spatial hierarchies.

In our seminar, we will challenge this idea of kinship communities as isolated and traditional and call for a careful re-examination of the mutual interrelations between various actors. Featuring certain case studies from the Balkans, Asia, and Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries, we will question and illustrate inner dynamics, variations, possible transnational influence, actors, new political practices, and constellations of governance.

Semester: WiSe 2021/22