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2022 Rothschild Prize

Emily Grebel Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe

(Oxford U Press, 2022)

The winning book explores the responses of European Muslims to the emergence of
predominantly Christian nation states in Southeastern Europe from the last 19 th to the mid
20 th century. Focusing on the Yugoslav space, Greble shows how Muslims used both
national and international languages and frames, as well as their experience in the Ottoman
Empire, to petition for and demand their rights.
The book is structured into three chronological periods in which this interaction between
Muslims and the state is organized, the transition from Ottoman Rule to the End of World
War One, the interwar Yugoslav experience, the disruptions of World War Two, and the
establishment of Socialist Yugoslavia in the immediate aftermath of the war.
The book, through the rich analysis of local archival sources, gives Muslim communities
agency. While the new nations states often viewed Muslims with hostility, as aliens who
were associated with Ottoman rule, many Muslims remained and sought to carve out a
niche in the new states, using customary laws, the new concept of religious freedom, or,
later, minority rights, to preserve their community.
The book makes an important contribution by showing how Muslims have been a
constituent community at the time European nation states emerged in the 19 th century.
While the new nation states often sought to sought to deny their existence and instead
imagine a homogenous nation, Muslims conceived of themselves as European communities
and sought their rights both within the framework of the new states or, if that was not
possible, in rebellion against them.
Through the combination of extensive archival research and a change of perspective, the
book raises the timely question of who is European and convincingly makes the case for
including Muslims not just at the margins and subjects of the European national building
projects, but making them active participants in this process.

The committee also awards an Honorable Mention to Julija Sardelić, The Fringes of
Citizenship. Romani Minorities in Europe and Civic Marginalisation. Manchester University
Press 2021 and Maria Koinova, Diaspora Entrepreneurs and Contested States. Oxford
University Press 2021.

The winner of the 2022 Rothschild Prize was chosen by the following scholars:
Dmitry Gorenburg, Harvard University; Committee Chair
Eleanor Knott, London School of Economics and Political Science
Florian Bieber, University of Graz
• John Paul Newman, National University of Ireland Maynooth