Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Wisconsin / Madison

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2003
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Princeton University
Judging the Empire: Bombay's Courts and Communities, 1870-1930.

The law of contract crystallized discussions of what constituted autonomy, consent, coercion, promise-making, truth-telling, and legal pluralism in colonial India. My study will begin with Hastings' 1772 promise of limited legal pluralism (i.e. the application of Hindu and Islamic law in many areas), and with an examination of contract in the context of liberal-Utilitarian ideology and empire. It will close with an assessment of the discussions that led to the passage of the Indian Contract Act of 1872, a sweeping codification and Anglicization of the law of contract that remains the basis of Indian contract law today. In between, I want to sketch the "legal landscape" of colonial contracts through a series of case law studies involving the loan, marriage, property, and employment contract, as well as the coerced and illegal contract.