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Course Guide ~ HIST 246: Law and Colonialism

Shah 'Alam, Mughal Emperor (1759–1806), Conveying the Grant of the Diwani to Lord Clive, August 1765 by Benjamin West
British Library


This course explores the role of law in relation to the history of colonialism. It considers the uses of rule-of-law ideology in colonial rule and in unraveling it, the negotiation of race and gender formations in the legal arena, and the transformation of legal concepts and institutions across empire. Major themes include foundational debates regarding liberalism, property, and indigeneity, the operation and impact of colonial legal institutions, and legal practices in anticolonial and postcolonial settings. The examples are geographically drawn from around the world, with a particular focus on the colonial legal transformation of the tropical environments.

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