Landscapes and the Law: Environmental Politics, Regional Histories, and Contests over Nature
Gunnel Cederlöf
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Territorial Rights
Permanent Black
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Landscapes and the Law is situated at the crossroads of environmental, colonial, and legal history. It examines the role of law in consolidating early colonial rule from the perspective of people’s access to nature in forests and hill tracts. It is concerned thus with the social history of legal processes and the making of law. The book is focussed equally on the multitude of colliding claims to land and resources, and the complex ways by which customary rights in nature are redefined and codified for the purpose of securing and legitimizing colonial sovereign rule. Basing her archival and field work on the Nilgiri Hills in South India, Gunnel Cederlöf explores conflicting perceptions of nature and political visions that are projected onto landscapes and people. She traces debates on property and land rights, and how the empirical sciences merge with legal claims justifying land acquisition. Popular resistance strategies against such exploitation are analysed, and a cross-cultural comparison made between early legal processes and social history in India, New Zealand, and North America. This is a major interdisciplinary study which will be of particular interest to students and researchers of environmentalism, colonial history, law, and anthropology.
Gunnel Cederlöf is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Forum for Advanced Studies in Arts, Languages and Theology (SALT) at Uppsala University. Her publications include Bonds Lost: Subordination, Conflict and Mobilisation in Rural South India c.1900–1970 (1997), and (coedited with K Sivaramakrishnan) Ecological Nationalisms: Nature, Livelihoods, and Identities in South Asia (2005).
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