HLS: Law & Colonialism Workshop: Legal Debates in the British Empire


Thursday, November 16, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Session 7: Decolonisation and After

WCC 3015, Harvard Law School


The relationship between law and empire has been a fraught one and the subject of intense academic scrutiny. In this workshop, we will explore various strands in the literature by examining the role of law in the context of the British Empire. Was law “the state’s emissary,” a tool of resistance or something more complicated altogether? We will focus on the structure of legal systems in the British Empire, the role played by law in the construction of colonial societies, and the circulation and contestation of legal concepts within the empire. We will focus on big-picture issues such as the idea of “rule of law” as well as with the relationship of law with more specific subjects such as race and slavery, crime and punishment, religion and custom, and gender and sexuality to understand both the historical role of law in the British Empire as well as the contemporary relevance of these debates. Please email Priyasha Saksena (psaksena@sjd.law.harvard.edu) for further information. Readings for the workshop can be found at: https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/33953