The Jurisprudence of Emergency examines British rule in India from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, tracing tensions between the ideology of liberty and government by law used to justify the colonizing power's insistence on a regime of conquest. Nasser Hussain argues that the interaction of these competing ideologies exemplifies a conflict central to all Western legal systems—between the universal, rational operation of law on the one hand and the absolute sovereignty of the state on the other. The author uses an impressive array of historical evidence to demonstrate how questions of law and emergency shaped colonial rule, which in turn affected the development of Western legality.
The pathbreaking insights developed in The Jurisprudence of Emergency reevaluate the place of colonialism in modern law by depicting the colonies as influential agents in the interpretation of Western ideas and practices. Hussain's interdisciplinary approach and subtly shaded revelations will be of interest to historians as well as scholars of legal and political theory.