Workshop at CSSSC, Kolkata, India, 11-13 December 2012
Organisers: Prof. Lakshmi Subramanian, Dr. Nandini Chatterjee
This event seeks to examine the role of space – geographical, imagined and claimed, in shaping ideas and practices of imperial law, and those subject to that law. The network organisers welcome paper proposals from researchers working on themes such as, but not limited to, race, migration, slavery, nationhood, diplomacy, extra-territoriality, piracy and security, and within the disciplines of history, law, literature, anthropology and geography. While the principal focus of the workshop is the British empire, comparative insights from other imperial/colonial contexts would be very warmly welcomed.
This workshop is organised jointly by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), and Plymouth University, UK. It is one of the four academic events planned within the AHRC funded research network ‘Subjects of law: rightful selves and the legal process in imperial Britain and the British empire'.
The historiography of imperial law and space has developed along multiple lines. Scholars have noted both the expansive claims to universal law, facilitating unhindered European mobility and commerce (Pagden), but also the imagination of Europe as a uniquely lawful space beyond which not only could slavery be permissible but constitutional government problematic (Gould). From a different angle, such powerful Eurocentric claims have been demonstrated to have been based on no more than the ephemera of fractured spots or corridors of sovereignty, unevenly traversing borderlands and high seas where alternative moralities, markets and power structures prevailed (Benton). Studies of penal regimes and colonies in Australasia further complicate this story by pointing to the multiple roles played, in different locations, by the subjects of those regimes (Ford, Anderson) thus raising more questions about the locus of power and how to read it through the record of legal events.
In this event, we wish to investigate the following issues in particular:
1) How did ‘empire’ and ‘colony’ as spatial entities shape the theory and praxis of law in discrete contexts?
2) What other spatial or non-spatial categories challenged or endorsed such legal geographies, and/or asserted their own disciplining claims?
3) How were such real and imagined spaces inhabited by historical subjects – both during and beyond legal episodes?
Please send paper proposals to Nandini Chatterjee firstname.lastname@example.org by 13 July 2012.
Bursaries: The network intends to offer two speakers affiliated to institutions within India, and two speakers from outside India, accommodation in Calcutta during the convening of the workshop, and to make a substantial contribution towards their airfare expenses.
Department of History, University of Plymouth
Room 05, 4 Portland Villas
Plymouth PL4 8AA
Phone: +44 (0)1752 585132
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