I just received information on the following:
COLONIES AND POSTCOLONIES OF LAW
History Department, Princeton University Friday, March 18th 2011
The conference addresses the centrality of law in the construction of colonial rule. We aim to examine how colonial law emerged as colonialists interacted with diverse populations in the colonies. The study of the relationship between law and colonialism has taken two broad trajectories.
Competing Legitimacies: Religious Law and Colonial Authority - The colonial state grappled with existing legal systems in the colony. Some systems were delegitimized while others were bolstered under the purview of colonial rule. By privileging certain forms of legitimacy, colonial states challenged traditional norms and institutions such as customary rights and religious laws. Why were certain legal systems granted legitimacy under the colonial rule? How did certain religious texts and figures emerge as more authoritative than others? How did the process of translation change understandings of key religious concepts? What forms of tensions were created between traditional authorities and the emerging modern legal profession in the colony?
Private Lives and Public Law - The modern colonial state crafted new boundaries between the public and private. For example, colonial projects of social reform transformed marital and kinship relations. How did the colonial legal regime come to delineate the private and the public sphere? How did colonized populations engage with this process of delineation? How did the changing legal order affect colonial subjects, in particular women, who often emerged as the sites for legal reform? Did postcolonial nations adopt colonial legal conceptions of the private and public spheres?
Constructing Borders - Colonial law demanded certainty of boundaries and jurisdiction, yet it operated within a plural legal order and had limited capacity to police frontiers. How were legal borders fixed? How did colonial populations choose between competing forums granted by neighboring jurisdictions? How did the emergence of the postcolonial nations complicate colonial mapping and jurisdictional jostling?
Law and Capital - The centrality of trade and capital to the colonial project is increasingly overshadowed by cultural and social histories. Law, in the form of land revenue, forest laws and mercantile regulations, was in fact, central to the economic project of the colonial state. Can law be used to bring economic histories in conversation with the social and cultural? What economic practices came to be legitimized with the colonial reordering of the economy? How did colonial law engage with older kinship based mercantile networks such as those of the Arabs, Chinese, Parsis and Marwaris?
Paper proposals should include a title, a 350-word abstract, institutional affiliation and contact information. Please submit proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15th 2010.
Organizers: Nurfadzilah Yahaya and Rohit De, History Department, Princeton University