The focus of this theme will be on how the instrumentality of law was employed in the colonies to initiate and strengthen the control of the colonial regimes. Law in the context(s) of colonialism was inherently tied with the creation of a particular kind of knowledge – one based on classification, enumeration and creation of hierarchies of culture, power, customs and normative orders. This ‘violent’ and ‘totalising form of control’ (Dirks 1992) led not only to the fossilisation of local normative orderings, but also dramatically altered the nature of law and justice (as well as the state) in the colonies. This introduction of a particular colonial logic in relation to law and the state, arguably, did not end with the ‘de-colonial’ moment. Rather, some of the (quite strikingly similar) problems that we see today in post/former colonies have their roots in the legal and normative experiments that were carried out in these geographical locations during the colonial period.
In this regard, the theme requests scholars and researchers working in this field to approach the issue from a variety of standpoints. Possible topics might include: the colonial legal experiments; the encounters between local and colonial legal and normative orders; legal histories; gender, law and colonial; nature of the state in (pre/post)colonial environment; the creation and governance of the colonial subject; transplantation of law and justice from Metropole to the colony, and so on.