Introduction: Two Euromodern Phenomena
The introduction contends that rather than radical exceptions, statelessness and contemporary enslavement are two discrete but predictable outcomes of similar processes of the racialized debasement of citizenship. Gordon illuminates this claim by delineating three distinct modes through which people are rendered stateless and three moments—the pre-transatlantic period, which divides into non-imperial and imperial regimes; the transatlantic moment, which fundamentally and permanently racialized enslavement; and what has been called contemporary slavery—in the global history of the institution of enslavement. While exploring the arguments against involving governments and political institutions in responding to both statelessness and enslavement, Gordon closes by offering a response to this anti-statism that draws on Jacqueline Stevens’s (2010) proposal for how we might pursue a thorough separation of states from nations. Gordon ultimately concludes that, while generative, Stevens’s analysis collapses all nations and nationalisms into the same, failing to consider the manifold and sometimes constructive ways the language of the nation was employed throughout the long 20th century.