Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rohit De to Be Awarded L&SA's Dissertation Prize

Rohit De, Department of History, Princeton University, is a co-recipient of the Law and Society Association’s Dissertation Prize, for "The Republic of Writs: Litigious Citizens, Constitutional Law, and Everyday Life in India (1947-1964)."  Here’s the citation:
Rohit De’s brilliant dissertation "The Republic of Writs: Litigious Citizens, Constitutional Law ,and Everyday Life in India (1947-1964)” is a fascinating, interdisciplinary study of the role of diverse parties in the Indian legal system and their legal consciousness in the period from colonial times to the post-colonial era.  With unusual access to Indian Supreme Court archives, De provides a captivating account of litigation surrounding such issues as commodity controls (e.g., alcohol prohibition laws in Bombay), the cow protection laws in Bitar,  and laws regulating sex work.   This study affords insights into the legal process in India by moving beyond doctrinal analysis to the investigation of how law influences the ways of life of diverse cultural communities.  This magnificent legal history deals with subaltern communities and their ability to maneuver in legal processes, and provides this incisive analysis with great clarity.  It shows that important jurisprudence was sometimes a consequence not of the work of legal elites but rather of diverse marginalized communities seeking justice through legal institutions.  For its scintillating and eloquent cultural analysis, the committee recommends that Rohit De receive the Law and Society dissertation prize.