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

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 30, 2009 - History - 356 pages
3 Reviews
A Search for Sovereignty maps a new approach to world history by examining the relation of law and geography in European empires between 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial space as networks of corridors and enclaves, and that they constructed sovereignty in ways that merged ideas about geography and law. Conflicts over treason, piracy, convict transportation, martial law, and crime created irregular spaces of law, while also attaching legal meanings to familiar geographic categories such as rivers, oceans, islands, and mountains. The resulting legal and spatial anomalies influenced debates about imperial constitutions and international law both in the colonies and at home. This original study changes our understanding of empire and its legacies and opens new perspectives on the global history of law.

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

User Review  - Josh - Goodreads

i'm in five star mood. this is the most paradigm shifting books i read the semester - i felt like if finally got Benton's ideas here. Read full review

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

User Review  - David Nichols - Goodreads

This is a thought-provoking study of the intersection of imperialism with legal culture and geography during the era of European colonialism. Benton argues that European empires expanded not in waves ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Lauren Benton is Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of Law at New York University. Her book Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) won the Law and Society Association's James Willard Hurst Book Prize, the World History Association Book Prize, and the PEWS Book Award from the American Sociological Association, Political Economy of the World Systems Section.

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