Introduction

 

A one-day workshop, organised by Natasha Pairaudeau, will take place in Magdalene College as part of the project on Sites of Asian Interaction.

Across Europe's empires in Asia, indigenous practices governing marriage, the family and inheritance survived through to the twentieth century relatively intact. Such practices were largely upheld, even as they were shaped into 'indigenous personal laws' to be regulated through colonial courts. This stands in contrast to the imposition in colonial contexts of new regulations governing commerce and criminality. Migration, religion and ethnic differences added complexity to questions of personal status and their management in colonial contexts; many of the legal systems of today continue to carry the legacies of these past legal struggles and transformations.

This workshop seeks to bring together and compare perspectives on the shaping and deployment of 'indigenous personal status' within a wide range of imperial legal systems. We aim to explore the various ways in which 'personal status' was defined and shaped across empires, to identify imperial rationale for the retention of personal status, and to be attentive to indigenous agency in determining its preservation or change. The workshop will cover a wide geographical scope and a broad range of colonial legal contexts.

For further information please contact the organiser or Inga Huld Markan.