Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kedar and Cohen on Colonialism, Nationalism and Legal Education in Mandatory Palestine

Colonialism, Nationalism and Legal Education in Mandatory Palestine is a new paper by Nir Kedar, Bar-Ilan University, and Uri Cohen, Tel-Aviv University School of Education on a topic on which there is much more to be written: nation-building and the role of legal education in various parts of the world. Here's the abstract:
The aim of this article is to describe the complex mosaic of interests, values, and relationships in the colonial legal field and their manifestations in the law and legal education system. After presenting four modes of legal interaction between the "natives" and colonizer and within the local population, we trace the Jewish population's fruitless efforts to preserve its national-cultural identity and a relative degree of legal autonomy while at the same time cooperating with the British colonial regime in Palestine.
Our discussion focuses on legal education in Mandatory Palestine, taking the Tel Aviv School of Law and Economics (TASLE), which was established in 1935, as a case study. TASLE's failure to obtain official recognition from the British reveals a fascinating, multi-layered picture of the legal-academic field in Mandatory Palestine. While the local Jewish elite generally supported TASLE's national-cultural ideas regarding the integration of Jewish and modern law, conflicting institutional, political, legal, and academic interests drove it to cooperate with the colonizer in opposing the school's initiative.