Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Koga on Law & Empire in East Asia

Yukiko Koga (Assistant Professor, Hunter College) has published an article that reflects a legal anthropologist's approach to legal history. Here is the abstract for "Between the Law: The Unmaking of Empire and Law's Imperial Amnesia" in Law & Social Inquiry 41:2 (2016), 402-34:
Asian victims of Japanese imperialism have filed lawsuits against the Japanese government and corporations since the 1990s, which became prime sites for redress decades after Japan's defeat in World War II. As this ethnography demonstrates, this process paradoxically exposes a legal lacuna within this emergent transnational legal space, with plaintiffs effectively caught between the law, instead of standing before the law. Exploring this absence of law, I map out a post-imperial legal space, created through the erasure of imperial and colonial subjects in the legal framework after empire. Between the law is an optic that makes visible uneven legal terrains that embody temporal and spatial disjuncture, rupture, and asymmetry. The role of law in post-imperial transitions remains underexplored in literatures on transnational law, legal imperialism, postcolonialism, and transitional justice. I demonstrate how, at the intersection of law and economy, post-imperial reckoning is emerging as a new legal frontier, putting at stake law's imperial amnesia.