Figurations of body, community, and politics traversed India and the Ottoman world along the artificial coaling archipelago that connected both via legal islands of extraterritoriality and other technologies in the Red Sea. Examining this system and the ethnic groups that operated and subverted it reveals how minority formation and other forms of making community and autonomy were linked to processes of anatomization and a rearticulation of ideas about race, blood, and soil. This “infrastructural turn” meant that sociability, religion, identity, and political legitimacy in the inter- and intra-imperial domains were biologized and thus fastened to the material and technological systems these groups were part of. Parsis and their Muslim competitors naturalized this system and made it and themselves into parts of the landscape. Such ecologies of ethnicity and extrastatecraft flourished on the margins of large-scale infrastructures, underpinning the emergence of minorities and diasporas in the twentieth century.

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