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Sovereignty at the Colonial Frontier: Martial Law, Prisoners of the State, and the East India Company, 1799-1858

Sovereignty at the Colonial Frontier: Martial Law, Prisoners of the State, and the East India Company, 1799-1858
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N
Time: Mar 2nd, 4:00 pm End: Mar 2nd, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: South Asian, Political Science, Law, Faculty of , History (FAS), History & Philosophy of Science & Technology (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), East Asian Studies (FAS), 1800-1900
Lecture by Bhavani Raman, Princeton University

The Centre for South Asian Studies is pleased to present:

Bhavani Raman, Princeton University

Sovereignty at the Colonial Frontier: Martial Law, Prisoners of the State, and the East India Company, 1799-1858

Respondent: Malavika Kasturi, Historical Studies, UTM

In the early nineteenth century, the East India Company was preoccupied with questions of incarceration and martial law, and it imposed the latter relatively frequently against frontier insurrections in Madras and Bengal. These frontier impositions attracted little controversy in the metropole. I discuss the historical relevance of these little known-cases by placing them against the well-known canvas of natural law theory as it pertains to the law of nations and colonial conquest. I develop one aspect of this relationship at the colonial frontier, namely, how martial law enabled the assertion of territorial sovereignty through the assertion of sovereignty over life. I trace how martial law frameworks developed at the frontier shaped laws concerning state prisoners and preventive detention. Bringing the frontier to bear on martial law, I suggest, opens up the history of emergency to critical questions about state space, law, and jurisdiction.

Bhavani Raman is an Assistant Professor at the History Department, Princeton University where she teaches courses on South Asian History. Her book manuscript on colonial practices of paperwork entitled, Document Raj: Scribes and Writing in Early Colonial South India is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press as part of the South Asia Across the Disciplines series. She is currently researching frontier jurisdiction in South and South East Asia in the early nineteenth century.

This event is free but registration is required.  Click here to register.  For further information, please contact the Centre for South Asian Studies at (416) 946-8996.

 


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