The term minority is today applied to describe beleaguered, persecuted, and exiled people whose subordination is preserved or merely “tolerated” by majoritarian politics inherent to modern states. As this introduction indicates, however, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries minority politics became a rubric for sociopolitical emancipation, providing a framework for intellectuals in colonized Asia and Africa to question European powers' treatment of marginalized communities. Bar Sadeh and Houwink ten Cate contend that “minority” has unique value as an instrument for historical analysis that is restricted neither solely to minority-majority relations nor to debates about (political) representation. Instead, the authors propose a global intellectual history of “minority” as a concept and experience, which is explored in the essays compiled in this special section, “Minority Questions.” By examining the diverse genealogies of the concept of minority, the essays that follow provide a valuable contribution to efforts to redress historical wrongs, even as they offer a range of explanations for the enduring legacy and power of this multifaceted concept.

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