Genealogies of the Security State: Special Trials, Martial Law, and Sovereignty in Early Colonial South India
This talk examines the taxonomy of detention developed by the British East India Company at the turn of the nineteenth century. Rebels captured in insurrections and colonial wars were tried for sedition and invariably provoked comment on the necessity of martial law, the applicability of military law to non-combatants, the classification of enemy-aliens, and the elaboration of statutory provisions for preventive arrest. This overlooked legal archive of colonial annexation history reveals regimes of counter-insurgent policing to be embedded in wartime measures and tied to the sequestration of bodies and land. This genealogy of the security state invites a reconsideration of theories of sovereign exception by foregrounding the relationship between law and frontier-making.
Bhavani Raman is associate professor at the History Department, University of Toronto. She is the author of Document Raj: Scribes and Writing in Early Colonial South India2012 University of Chicago Press. She is currently researching the martial law in South and South East Asia in the early nineteenth century.
This program is organized by the Center for South Asian Studies with support from the U-M LSA Theme Semester and co-sponsored by the History Department and the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies.