05 June 2020

BOOK: Cait STORR, International Status in the Shadow of Empire Nauru and the Histories of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). ISBN 9781108498500, £ 85.00

(Source: CUP)

Cambridge University Press is publishing a new book on Nauru’s imperial history and its significance for the history of international law.


Nauru is often figured as an anomaly in the international order. This book offers a new account of Nauru's imperial history and examines its significance to the histories of international law. Drawing on theories of jurisdiction and bureaucracy, it reconstructs four shifts in Nauru's status – from German protectorate, to League of Nations C Mandate, to UN Trust Territory, to sovereign state – as a means of redescribing the transition from the nineteenth century imperial order to the twentieth century state system. The book argues that as international status shifts, imperial form accretes: as Nauru's status shifted, what occurred at the local level was a gradual process of bureaucratisation. Two conclusions emerge from this argument. The first is that imperial administration in Nauru produced the Republic's post-independence 'failures'. The second is that international recognition of sovereign status is best understood as marking a beginning, not an end, of the process of decolonisation.


Cait StorrUniversity of Glasgow
Cait Storr is Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. She is an associate member of the Institute of International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School, and junior faculty with the Institute of Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School. Her doctoral thesis was awarded the University of Melbourne Chancellor's Prize.

1. International Status, Imperial Form: Nauru and the Histories of International Law
2. From Trading Post to Protectorate, 1888
3. From Protectorate to Colony to Mandate, 1920
4. From Mandate to Trust Territory, 1947
5. From Trust Territory to Sovereign State, 1968
6. After Independence: Sovereign Status and the Republic of Nauru.

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