Monday, January 22, 2007

Oguamanam and Pue on Lawyers and Independence in Nigeria

Chidi Oguamanam, Dalhousie University, and W. Wesley Pue, University of British Columbia, have a new paper, Lawyers' Professionalism, Colonialism, State Formation and National Life in Nigeria, 1900-1960: 'The Fighting Brigade of the People'. The abstract does not do justice to the very interesting paper, which sets a short history of the legal profession in Nigeria in the context of an analysis of the role of lawyers in independence movements and state formation. On that topic, in the U.S. context, an interesting contrast is the first chapter of John Witt's new book, Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law, just out from Harvard Univ. Press. And to continue the Africa story, it's interesting to look at later generations of lawyers after independence, which comes through in Jennifer Widner's work on Chief Justice Nyalai and the courts in Tanzania, Building the Rule of Law. But here's today's abstract -- and if it doesn't grab you, try the paper anyway. The paper also has helpful cites to other related works:
This paper surveys developments in the history of the Nigerian legal profession from the perspectives of cultural history approaches to the study of legal professions, with particular emphasis on relationships of colonialism within the British Empire. Nigeria provides strong contrasts with patterns of development in British settler colonies (such as Canada and Australia) whilst nonetheless confirming the centrality of matters related to legal professionalism to the cultural and political projects of imperialism.