Mahmud on Law and Geography

Tayyab Mahmud has published Law and Geography: A Commentary from the Margins of Empire

Here is the abstract

This commentary examines the relationship between law and geography through the prism of colonialism and empire. Using two novels set in the India of 19th and 21st century, respectively, it evaluates the so-called first law of geography that posits determinative valance of spatial distance upon relations between things. It is argued that the formative and enduring relationship between global systems of domination and modern law has created a geo-legal space that has a global dimension. This geo-legal space procreates norms and subjectivities that are intimately related to spatially distant forces and projects.

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Tally on Geocriticism and Classic American Literature

Robert T. Tally has published Geocriticism and Classic American Literature
Here is the abstract

“I take SPACE to be the central fact to man in America.” At the beginning of Call me Ishmael, Charles Olson categorically established space as a key concept for American Studies. Yet, for the most part, this concept has not been central to studies of nineteenth-century American literature. Space has made a timely reemergence in literary and cultural studies in recent years, as the discourse of postmodernism has especially emphasized its importance, and excellent work on cartography and literature is being done in early modern studies, especially in the history of colonization and conquest of the Americas. Right in the center of these two moments of modernity, the early and the post, the mid-nineteenth-century United States faced critical changes to its imaginary and real social spaces, typified by industrialization and urbanization, the emergence of a world market, the breakdown of traditional communities, westward expansion, and a looming national catastrophe. As in the baroque and postmodern eras, these crises called for new ways of seeing the world and of representing oneself in it: new narratives, new maps. The texts of so-called “classic” American literature are such literary maps. I argue that geocriticism – a critical framework that focuses on the spatial representations within the texts, specifically looking at the overlapping territories of actual, physical geography and an author’s or character’s mental mapping in the literary text – makes possible a productive reading of classic American literature in light of the spatial peculiarities of the age.

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Knowles on American Hegemony and the Foreign Affairs Constitution

Robert Knowles has published American Hegemony and the Foreign Affairs Constitution
Here is the abstract

This Article uses insights from international relations theory to challenge the received wisdom that U.S. courts are incompetent to decide foreign affairs issues. Since September 11 in particular, proponents of broad executive power have argued that the Judiciary lacks the Executive's expertise, speed, flexibility, uniformity, and political savvy necessary in foreign affairs. For these reasons, legal doctrine has long called for especially strong foreign affairs deference to the Executive.

This Article argues that special deference is grounded in an outmoded version of the popular theory of international relations known as realism. Realism views the world as anarchic, nations as opaque to the outside world, and geopolitics as though a few great powers manage the international system through realpolitik and the balance of power. When incorporated into constitutional foreign affairs law, these realist tenets lead to a model that prioritizes executive branch competences over judicial ones, but offers little guidance on how to weigh foreign affairs effectiveness against other constitutional values such as liberty and accountability.

The author proposes a new, "hegemonic" model of desired institutional competences in foreign affairs law that takes account of the transformed post-Cold War world. America dominates the globe militarily, has a political system accessible to outsiders, provides public goods for the world, and plays a dominant role in defining enforceable international law. This American hegemonic order will persist for some time despite threats posed by terrorism and the rise of powers such as China and Russia. Under the hegemonic model, courts serve America's foreign affairs interests by maintaining stable interpretation of the law and bestowing legitimacy on acts of the political branches. Special deference is now unwarranted. This Article concludes by explaining why Boumediene v. Bush and other recent enemy combatant cases are consistent with the hegemonic model.

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