Terminal legality
Imperialism and the (de)composition of law
in Law, history, colonialism
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Beginning with Vitoria and that ambivalence, this chapter offers a brief history of imperial law, focusing ultimately on its terminal failure in colonialism. This failure reveals the necessity of the responsive quality in law, a quality denied in standard and stultifying affirmations of the distinct determinative force of modern legality. There could hardly be two more divergent views of the primal text of international law than those which have come to accompany Francisco de Vitoria's De Indis. In Antony Anghie's elegant analysis, Vitoria's lauded origin of international law is not so much to do with its conventional concern, the relation between sovereign states, as with the colonial domination of people burdened with radical difference. Perhaps it could now also be said that Vitoria's scheme massively implies that it is the colonial domination which effects the relation between sovereign states.

Law, history, colonialism

The reach of empire


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