Settler-colonial violence has rarely prompted any condemnation from Israel and its institutions. Regularly dismissed as isolated incidents despite the constant phenomenon and its deleterious effects upon Palestinians, settler violence is sanctioned by the Zionist state. Its perpetrators are regaled with impunity for upholding the historical violence that facilitated the establishment of the settler-colonial state.

However, similar violence unleashed recently against the IDF evoked a firm condemnation. Following the army’s demolition of dwelling structures in the West Bank, Jewish settlers stormed the IDF’s headquarters, threatening the soldiers and vandalising military equipment and facilities. According to the Times of Israel, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz warned that failure to respond to “nationalist crimes” will threaten Israel’s security.

Ramona Wadi for Middle East Monitor.

Frank F. K. Byamugisha (ed.), Agricultural Land Redistribution and Land Administration in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case Studies of Recent Reforms (World Bank Publications, 2014).

Agricultural Land Redistribution and Land Administration in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case Studies of Recent Reforms focuses on ‘how’ to undertake land reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa, but with relevant lessons for other developing countries. It provides details, with case studies, on how reforms were undertaken to address a pressing and controversial development challenge in Africa – land ownership inequality – and an intransigent development issue – inefficiency and corruption in land administration. An equally important contribution of the book is assessing reforms and highlighting valuable lessons for other countries contemplating reforms.

Warren Elofson, ‘The Universality of Frontier Disorder: Northern Australia Viewed Against the Northern Great Plains of North America’, Journal of Agricultural History 88, 2 (2014).

This paper compares the levels of violence and law breaking on the cattle frontiers of the northern Great Plains of North America and the Northern Territory of Australia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It argues that various conditions peculiar to frontiers such as sparse settlement, gender imbalance, the absence of infrastructure, the weakness of traditional Old World institutions, and racism lowered respect for authority and made law enforcement extremely difficult. The author suggests that the truth of the latter thesis is bolstered by the fact that at the same moment in history the people in these two societies discarded conventional rules and values as they built their pastoral industry—literally a world apart.

Jarno Valkonena and Sanna Valkonena, ‘Contesting the Nature Relations of Sámi Culture’, Acta Borealia: A Nordic Journal of Circumpolar Societies. Published online: 14 Apr 2014

Sámi culture is said to be characterized by a very close relationship to nature, regardless of time and place. However, the human–nature relation is a complex, multidimensional issue. Before we can make any substantive claims about the Sámi relationship to nature, we need first of all to define the “nature” to which the Sámi relate themselves. We study presentations of the Sámi nature relation and compare them to empirical research. We argue that there are in fact two different nature relations, which we describe as practical and discursive. It seems that on the one hand, the “special” nature relation of the Sámi refers to local habits and areas and therefore is not generalizable. On the other hand, there are political and performative constructions of indigenous Sámi identity that are tied to notions of nature relations.

Julie Kaomea, ‘Education for Elimination in Nineteenth-Century Hawai`i: Settler Colonialism and the Native Hawaiian Chiefs’ Children’s Boarding School’, History of Education Quarterly 54, 2 (2014).

bit in lieu of abstract:

On August 27, 1862, the much-loved crown prince and heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai’i died tragically and inexplicably at the tender age of four. Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa, the beloved child of a long line of chiefs, was the only son of Alexander Liholiho (Kamehameha IV) and Emma Na′ea (Queen Emma). He was believed to be the last child to be born to a reigning Hawaiian monarch and the last hope of the Kamehameha Dynasty. Adored by the Hawaiian public, his birth was celebrated for days throughout the islands. Likewise, his untimely death was mourned for years to come as it left his parents heartbroken and the Hawaiian nation without a constitutionally recognized heir. One of the Hawaiian newspapers is quoted as saying, “The death of no other person could have been so severe a blow to the King and his people.” The following year, the King himself died of grief and despair.

There are many unanswered questions that shroud this young prince’s death. The most notable being the still unknown reasons behind his sudden and fatal illness. While others have retrospectively reevaluated Prince Albert’s medical diagnoses and how he may have contracted the illness, this paper examines what I believe to be a larger question surrounding the prince’s early demise, that is, why was he the sole member of his royal cohort? In a society where children, and particularly ali′i (chief or chiefly) children, were valued and cherished, why were there not more young ali′i of his generation?

Using settler colonialism as a theoretical framework, this paper links the dramatic, mid-nineteenth-century decline in ali’i births to the residential Hawaiian Chiefs’ Children’s School where Prince Albert’s parents, Alexander Liholiho and Emma Na’ea, along with fourteen other young ali’i of their generation, attended as children.


Jared van Duinen, ‘Review Article: The Borderlands of the British World’, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 15, 1 (2014).

bit in lieu of abstract:

This review article seeks to explore the benefit that might result from bringing two hitherto separate theoretical frameworks into conversation with each other. These two frameworks are the British World and borderlands theory. The British World is a relatively new development in the historiography of the British Empire. The framework was conceived and developed over the course of a series of conferences held between 1998 and 2007 and the edited collections that these conferences produced. This approach took its cue from J.G.A. Pocock’s 1973 call for a “new British history” that would bring into closer propinquity the hitherto largely separate histories of the British Dominions and the wider British Empire. Thus the British World’s chief remit was to “bring the old Dominions back into the mainstream of imperial history and to examine their connections to the United Kingdom and with each other.” Borderlands theory initially began by examining those regions of interface between “Anglo” North America and Hispanic South America. It has since been adapted to any number of similar “borderlands” regions around the world and in world history. Through reviewing recent books that utilise these separate theoretical frameworks, this article will propose that the transposition of borderlands theory to the British World offers a means for redressing certain blind spots within the British World framework.

By and large, the British World framework has as its object of study the British sphere of influence created by the mass emigration of Britons to settler colonies like Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand in the approximate period of the 1850s to the 1940s. By bringing Britain and these Dominion colonies within the same frame of reference, British World studies has aimed to transcend the parochial and insular nationalist histories that have tended to dominate the historiographies of settler colonies like Australia and Canada. To this end, the British World framework is more concerned with exploring the networks and flows of people, goods and ideas that connected these various settler colonial spaces and places. As such, the British World framework fits within a broader field of scholarship which contends that the British Empire, ca. 1850s–1940s, was a precedent to the globalisation/transnationalism that is of such interest to scholars of contemporary society. Viewed in this way, the seeds of transnationalism are imperial rather than postcolonial.

Neilesh Bose, ‘New Settler Colonial Histories at the Edges of Empire: “Asiatics,” settlers, and law in colonial South Africa’, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 15,  1 (2014).

The history of Indians in colonial South Africa betrays a long history of settlement, from at least the mid-seventeenth century, regulated by inter-imperial spaces of negotiation, first via the regulation of religion and custom in the 1795–1814 period and then via the regulation of mobile laborers a century later in the high era of legal intervention from 1885–1914. During the latter period, Indians were still categorized as “Asiatic,” even though many Indians began to identify as Indians in the context of political protest against discrimination. In this essay, I argue that a history of law governing “Asiatics” in colonial South Africa reveals important processes of settler colonialism in the British Empire that situate Indians as settlers in a complex landscape of power. Because of their ever-increasing settlements and attachments to land, legal regimes sought to control their movement and residence. Through a brief review of early Indian migration into the Cape region from the mid-seventeenth century through the early nineteenth century assumption of power by the British Empire, I discuss how Indians, though still categorized in a blanket “Asiatic” category by the colonial state, as in previous time periods, were increasingly monitored and controlled because of their expanding settlements from 1885 to 1914. Such a process shows how Indians of South Africa fit into contemporary frameworks of settler colonialism, particularly those developed by Lorenzo Veracini, and the concept of an “exogenous others,” or settlers who were blocked from indigenization in the process of empire. If extended into larger histories of “settler colonies” in the British Empire, such a new vantage point will allow histories of the British Empire that transcend narrow strictures of race, ethnicity, or community.

Melissa Demian , ‘On the Repugnance of Customary Law’, Comparative Studies in Society and History 56, 2 (2014).

The Constitution of Papua New Guinea (PNG) features a peculiar artifact of colonial-era law known as a repugnancy clause. This type of clause, used elsewhere as a neutral mechanism to identify conflicts between legal provisions, has in PNG become a tool for the moral-aesthetic evaluation of “customary law.” In this article, I follow the history of the PNG repugnancy clause from its colonial origins and through the relevant case law since the country’s independence in order to ask both how the clause acquired its non-legal meaning through legal usage, and why it has been retained in its original form in PNG when so many postcolonial legal regimes have discarded it. Comparative material from Indonesia, sub-Saharan Africa, and especially Australia is used to contextualize the durability of the PNG repugnancy clause, and theoretical material on the affect of disgust and shame is brought to bear in order to understand the use of repugnancy in its moral-aesthetic sense. The article concludes with a meditation on the way the repugnancy clause has enabled the judiciary of PNG to distance the law of the country not simply from an uneducated or inadequately Christian general populace, but also from a history in which all Papua New Guineans were regarded as a contaminating threat to the European colonizers whose legal system the country has inherited.

Richard O Clemmer, ‘Anthropology, the indigenous and human rights: Which billiard balls matter most?’, Anthropological Theory 14, 1 (2014).

Anthropology is uniquely positioned to open a new dimension of critical human rights discourse based on engaging indigenous rights. Moving toward a critical anthropology of human rights begins from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The charge that this document reifies ‘indigenous’ and ‘rights’ is examined in light of reifications such as ‘primitive’ and ‘tribe’, referencing Eric Wolf’s assertion that cultures, societies and nations should not be treated as if they were bounded ‘billiard balls’. In reframing rights, Marx’s (1844) and others’ insights on human collectivity are useful. This reframing perforce questions the ipso facto legitimacy of nation-statism.

Stephen Winter, Transitional Justice in Established Democracies: A Political Theory (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Truth commissions, official apologies and reparations are just some of the transitional justice mechanisms embraced by established democracies. This groundbreaking work of political theory explains how these forms of state redress repair the damage state wrongdoing inflicts upon political legitimacy. Richly illustrated with real-life examples, the book’s ‘legitimating theory’ explains the connections, and the conflicts, between the transitional practice of administrative, corrective and restorative justice. The book shows how political responses to state wrongdoing are part of a larger transitional history of the post-War ‘rights revolution’ in the settler democracies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. The result is an incisive theoretical exploration that not only explains the rectificatory work of established democracies but also provides new ways to think about the broader field of transitional justice.


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