A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European by Lauren Benton

By Lauren Benton

A look for Sovereignty maps a brand new method of international background through interpreting the relation of legislations and geography in ecu empires among 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial house as networks of corridors and enclaves, and they developed sovereignty in ways in which merged principles approximately geography and legislations. Conflicts over treason, piracy, convict transportation, martial legislations, and crime created abnormal areas of legislations, whereas additionally attaching felony meanings to usual geographic different types similar to rivers, oceans, islands, and mountains. The ensuing felony and spatial anomalies stimulated debates approximately imperial constitutions and foreign legislations either within the colonies and at domestic. This unique research adjustments our realizing of empire and its legacies and opens new views at the international background of legislation.

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Extra resources for A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900

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49 In part, this exercise implied a reference to Europe as the place of accumulated knowledge about, and the home of, ideal-typical geographies. But the assignment of singularity to places and regions necessarily also involved a more open-ended and multiform discourse about global variation. Singularity was defined not just in relation to ideal types associated with the metropole but also against a multiplicity of other widely distributed examples. 50 46 47 48 49 50 In Road to Botany Bay, Carter distinguishes this “traveling mode of knowledge” from the categorizing epistemology championed by and exemplified in the work of the botanist Joseph Banks (9, 18).

Anomalies of Empire 29 the extra-European world as legally different from realms closer to the seats of sovereign power. 85 In the Spanish Empire, efforts by the crown to limit ecclesiastical authority and to create new institutions for Indian subjects can be viewed as marking foundational moments for divergence between metropolitan and colonial law. 86 The discourse and politics about subjecthood (and, later, citizenship) and divided sovereignty provided part of the framework for describing legally uneven imperial territories.

The experience of travel as movement along passages to discrete locations corresponded to ways of making sense of new landscapes and conveying information about them. In contrast to the rationalization of space through progressively accurate mapping, this project emphasized a set of repeating geographic features and, within this grammar, attention to distinctive qualities, the oddities or singularities of the specific case. Rather than producing the image of blank territories that could be known and dominated, this parallel process insisted that some parts of the world, and even integral parts of empire, might resist categorization or control.

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