Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836


Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.19 X 0.91 X 9.22 inches | 0.81 pounds
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About the Author

Lisa Ford is the author of the prizewinning Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836 and coauthor of Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850. She is Professor of History at the University of New South Wales.


Moving deftly between the North American mainland and New South Wales, and between the global and the local, Lisa Ford's elegant study brings new levels of knowledge and interpretive sophistication to the history of Anglophone settler colonialism. Her focus is the 'legal trinity' of classic nation statehood--sovereignty, jurisdiction, and territory. Her innovation is to locate the realization of that trinity in the daily interactions of settlers with their reluctant indigenous neighbors. Ford's impressive research shows that sovereign settler statehood was not achieved by imperial pronouncement but imposed on the ground, using the weapons of criminal law.--Christopher Tomlins, University of California, Irvine
A novel and bold intervention into current debates about the nature of law and violence in the British Empire, this well-written and superbly researched book is a significant contribution to the history of the modern nation state.--Tim Rowse, University of Western Sydney
This is a truly thoughtful analysis based on amazingly thorough research. Ford makes a good case for comparing Georgia and New South Wales, and establishes that a vibrant legal pluralism prevailed in those domains to the 1830s, a new and important finding.--Peter Karsten, University of Pittsburgh
This book changes our understanding of the history of colonization. Lisa Ford has written a fascinating account of how and why early nineteenth-century Anglo-American settlers developed a newly expansive view of their power over indigenous people.--Stuart Banner, author of Possessing the Pacific: Land, Settlers, and Indigenous People from Australia to Alaska
The key to understanding Australian attitudes to the law lies deep in our history, as Lisa Ford shows with great forensic flair...[This] is comparative history at its best. Ford moves confidently between the two societies and appears equally at home in both. Both the similarities and the differences are revealing. Each study enlightens the other. This is so because the supporting scholarship is so impressive, the fruit, Ford tells us, of ten years' research and reflection.-- (04/01/2010)