Colonies and Postcolonies of Law

A one-day public conference

Fri, 03/18/2011
8:30 AM, Bowl 1, Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event

Schedule and abstracts (as of 3/8/2011)

The conference is open to the public - please RSVP at
if you would like to attend.

The study of the relationship between law and colonialism has taken two broad trajectories. On one hand, scholars have highlighted how law provided the instruments for the creation of the colonial state, allowing it to exercise a vast amount of power in restructuring the colony. Conversely, law opened up avenues of resistance for colonized populations.

This conference aims to go beyond this dichotomy by focusing on law as a site of constant negotiation which produced new forms of bureaucracy and documentation practices. As colonial legal systems cast long shadows and formed the bedrock of the national legal systems today, this conference will also examine how these colonial legal regimes influence postcolonial nations. The last few years has seen a growth of interest in colonial legal history to which this conference hopes to contribute by bringing junior scholars together in conversation.

The conference begins at 8:30 AM, with a plenary address by Professor Lauren Benton of New York University, titled "Justice by Despots: Patterns of Imperial Legal Politics" at 12:45 PM.

The conference is cosponsored by the Department of History, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Program in Law and Public Affairs.