Voices in the Legal Archives in the French Colonial World: The King is Listening
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Voices in the Legal Archives in the French Colonial World: The King is Listening

Nancy Christie (Western University, Canada), Michael Gauvreau (McMaster University, Canada), Matthew Gerber (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)

Voices in the Legal Archives in the French Colonial World: The King is Listening offers, through the contribution of thirteen original chapters, a sustained analysis of judicial practices and litigation during the first era of French overseas expansion. The overall goal of this volume is to elaborate a more sophisticated social history of colonialism by focusing largely on the eighteenth century, extending roughly from 1700 until the conclusion of the Age of Revolutions in the 1830s. By critically examining legal practices and litigation in the French colonial world, in both its Atlantic and Oceanic extensions, this volume of essays has sought to interrogate the naturalized equation between law and empire, an idea premised on the idea of law as a set of doctrines and codified procedures originating in the metropolis and then transmitted to the colonies. This book advances new approaches and methods in writing a history of the French empire, one which views state authority as more unstable and contested. Voices in the Legal Archives proposes to remedy the under-theorized state of France’s first colonial empire, as opposed to its post-1830 imperial expressions empire, which have garnered far more scholarly attention. This book will appeal to scholars of French history and the comparative history of European empires and colonialism.

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