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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2018-19

MALS 293 Empire & Law

In 2000, political philosophers Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri published “Empire,” a work that argued that we have moved from imperialism to Empire, defined as a shift from sovereign to networked rule, from British to American world dominance. If imperialism was a juridical construction extending from the metropole to the colony; Empire, Hardt and Negri argued, is characterized by the boundary-less power of law.

This course on “Empire and Law” is about studying and assessing Hardt and Negri’s history and claims. In so doing, we examine what legal anthropologists have labeled the passage of law and colonialism to that of law and globalization, with a focus upon the British Empire and American power at the close of the twentieth-century. By concentrating upon law and colonialism and law and globalization as fields structuring the global economy since the 19th century, moreover, this course emphasizes and compares the manifold constitutive powers of law in economy and society as well as how scholars in both fields have approached its study. How did law shape colonial empire and what is the role of law under globalization? Did Hardt and Negri fully characterize or over-state the differences in legal rule across empires? Have events since 2000, such as 9/11, the Iraq War, and the election of Donald Trump re-configured Empire and its laws? 


Gabrielle Clark