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Look Inside Colonial Justice in British India

Colonial Justice in British India
White Violence and the Rule of Law


Part of Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society

  • Date Published: December 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521116862

£ 72.00

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About the Authors
  • Colonial Justice in British India describes and examines the lesser-known history of white violence in colonial India. By foregrounding crimes committed by a mostly forgotten cast of European characters - planters, paupers, soldiers and sailors - Elizabeth Kolsky argues that violence was not an exceptional but an ordinary part of British rule in the subcontinent. Despite the pledge of equality, colonial legislation and the practices of white judges, juries and police placed most Europeans above the law, literally allowing them to get away with murder. The failure to control these unruly whites revealed how the weight of race and the imperatives of command imbalanced the scales of colonial justice. In a powerful account of this period, Kolsky reveals a new perspective on the British Empire in India, highlighting the disquieting violence that invariably accompanied imperial forms of power.

    • First book of its kind to comprehensively connect the themes of race, law and violence in colonial India
    • Analyses a range of historical sources, including missionary accounts and newspaper reports, allowing the reader to understand the history of law and violence and the social tensions that existed at this time
    • Includes rare photographs, maps and illustrations to add a visual representation of the problems with this imperial power
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this is an excellent book and a much-needed contribution to the historiography of British India.' The Journal of JRAS

    '… resonates with several dominant themes in historical research on British Imperialism … commands our attention.' S. M. Den Otter, Victorian Studies

    '… Kolsky succeeds admirably in connecting white criminality to the core subjects of colonial history, including ideologies of rule, the lived experience of colonial conflicts, and the discourses of anticolonial movements.' Law and History Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521116862
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of maps
    List of tables
    1. White peril: law and lawlessness in early colonial India
    2. Citizens, subjects and subjection to law: codification and the legal construction of racial difference
    3. 'Indian human nature': evidence, experts, and the elusive pursuit of truth
    4. 'One scale of justice for the planter and another for the coolie': law and violence on the Assam tea plantations
    5. 'A judicial scandal': the imperial conscience and the race against empire

  • Author

    Elizabeth Kolsky, Villanova University, Pennsylvania

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