Geographies of Law, Colonialism and Capitalism
Chicago, IL April 21-25, 2015
The relation between capitalism and colonialism has long been of interest to critical and radical geographers. Although classic texts often presented the relationship between colonialism and capitalism in terms of a transition from the former to the later, today, radical scholarship emphasizes both the capitalist nature of formal colonialism, as well as the ways in which contemporary dynamics of capitalist accumulation are often predicated upon and/or intertwined with relations of coloniality. Critical legal scholars have demonstrated that law plays a significant role in justifying and creating the conditions and parameters for both colonial and post-colonial forms of accumulation; this panel asks how thinking about geography can expand this work.
This panel hopes to bring together scholars interested in the relationship between law, colonialism, and capitalism, broadly conceived. We seek to create a venue for discussion and debate between scholars coming from different disciplines and subdisciplines and with varied political commitments. We are especially interested in papers that consider the relations between law and processes of conquest, occupation, and racialization, as well as resistance, insurgence, and decolonization. We encourage papers exploring sovereignty in capitalist and colonial legal orders, the legal status of indigenous and other peoples excluded from or adversely incorporated within statist legal regimes, and the status of non-state legal orders. We are also interested in the ways that capitalist and colonial relations have shaped legal concepts and geographies associated with property, contract, tort, labor law, family law, criminal law, human rights, the conflict of laws, public international law, administrative law, transitional justice, trade law, immigration, and corporate or business law, among others.
In addition, we invite papers on the following topics:
- Law and primitive accumulation/accumulation by dispossession/accumulation by extra-economic means
- Liberal law as an accumulation strategy
- Law’s materiality and its status as an ‘active’—effect producing—discourse (Bourdieu)
- Colonization and the rule of law
- The role of law in the transition to capitalism
- Property and property law as means of sanctifying colonial thefts
- Theorizations of the role of law in the transition out of capitalism
- International Law and colonialism
- The role of law in colonialism as period vs. colonialism as relation
- Migrant labour and new racialized regimes of accumulation
- The relation between strategies of accumulation and the legislation of spaces of exception
- Land restitution processes for historically marginalized communities as new sites for financial investment
- Indigenous and non-state legal orders as challenges to colonial and/or capitalist forms of law
- Indigenous rights within domestic and international legal systems
- Legal pluralism and capital accumulation
- Legal constructions and crossings of borders and boundaries in accumulation processes
- The role of law in regulating resistance to contemporary dynamics of accumulation
Interested participants should send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Joshua Barkan, Tyler McCreary or Reecia Orzeck no later than October 20, 2014.