Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands engages with the evolving historiography around the concept of belonging in the Russian and Ottoman empires. The contributors to this book argue that the popular notion that empires do not care about belonging is simplistic and wrong.
Chapters address numerous and varied dimensions of belonging in multiethnic territories of the Ottoman Empire, Imperial Russia, and the Soviet Union, from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries. They illustrate both the mutability and the durability of imperial belonging in Eurasian borderlands.
Contributors to this volume pay attention to state authorities but also to the voices and experiences of teachers, linguists, humanitarian officials, refugees, deportees, soldiers, nomads, and those left behind. Through those voices the authors interrogate the mutual shaping of empire and nation, noting the persistence and frequency of coercive measures that imposed belonging or denied it to specific populations deemed inconvenient or incapable of fitting in. The collective conclusion that editors Krista A. Goff and Lewis H. Siegelbaum provide is that nations must take ownership of their behaviors, irrespective of whether they emerged from disintegrating empires or enjoyed autonomy and power within them.