States of Emergency

BookStates of Emergency

States of Emergency

Colonialism, Literature and Law

Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines, 11


February 4th, 2013



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How can literature and culture from the postcolonial world help us to understand the relationship between law and violence associated with a state of emergency? And what light can legal narratives of emergency shed on postcolonial writing? States of Emergency: Colonialism, Literature and Law examines how violent anti-colonial struggles and the legal, military and political techniques employed by colonial governments to contain them have been imagined in literature and law. Through a series of case studies, the book considers how colonial states of exception have been defined and represented in the contexts of Ireland, India, South Africa, Algeria, Kenya, and Israel-Palestine, and concludes with an assessment of the continuities between these colonial states of emergency and the ‘wars on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. By doing so, the book considers how techniques of sovereignty, law and violence are reconfigured in the colonial present.


'An impressive book on a fascinating and important subject.'
Stephen Howe

'Morton briefly reminds the reader of States of Emergency that it is even now, perhaps all the more, and more than a century after the “dynamite novels” that pulped the London literary and political scenery, necessary “to imagine a form of justice beyond the liberal fictions of human rights, democracy and the normal of law.”'
Barbara Harlow, Research in African Literatures

Stephen Morton’s insightful study, States of Emergency. Colonialism, Literature and Law... is highly relevant and is written in an engaging and readable style.
Year's Work in English Studies

Author Information

Dr Stephen Morton is Senior Lecturer in English, University of Southampton.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover 1
Half-title 2
Title page 4
Copyright page 5
Contents 6
A Note on Translations7
Part 142
1 Sovereignty, Sacrifice and States of Emergency in Colonial Ireland44
2 Terrorism, Literature and Sedition in Colonial India70
Part 296
3 States of Emergency, the Apartheid Legal Order and the Tradition of the Oppressed in South African Fiction98
4 Torture, Indefinite Detention and the Colonial State of Emergency in Kenya128
5 Narratives of Torture and Trauma in Algeria’s Colonial State of Exception155
Part 3180
6 The Palestinian Tradition of the Oppressed and the Colonial Genealogy of Israel’s State of Exception182