The King's Plunder, The King's Bodies: Prize Laws, the British Empire and the Modern Legal Order Rahul Govind
Publisher: Tulika Books (September 30, 2023)
Hardcover: 376 pages
Focusing on the King’s rights of conquest and prize among other distinctive forms of royal jurisdiction, as well as laws of allegiance and subjecthood, this work establishes the monarchical form of the British empire between CE 1600 and 1900. Special attention is given to the East India Company in its administration and conquests in India as well as ‘direct’ Crown rule thereafter, which indicate this specific form of jurisdiction, raise questions on the nature of subjecthood, and ultimately play a crucial role in the development of ‘international law’ in the late nineteenth century. Jurisprudential and philosophical literature, from Coke and Hobbes to Austin and Maine, as well as celebrated legal cases in relationship to allegiance and prize are analysed to make a case for the centrality of King, empire and war in a critique of modernity when represented as the progressive culmination of nation-state and property, democracy and rule of law.
Rahul Govind teaches history at the University of Delhi and has held fellowships at Columbia University (for doctoral studies), the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and the University of Cambridge. Apart from his book Infinite Double (2015) he has published several articles in academic journals on themes ranging from political economy and philosophy to imperialism and jurisprudence.