Empire, Colonialism and the Law: Renisa Mawani talks about her work as a historical legal scholar focusing on oceanic law and colonial encounters

Episode Summary

University of British Columbia professor Renisa Mawani guides us through the beginning of her career as a critical theorist and legal scholar studying the history of empire and colonialism. She talks about the origins of her focus on Asian migration and Indigenous dispossession as overlapping histories in her first book, Colonial Proximities, and how this focus arose from family histories of migration. She walks us through some of her methodology, how she makes sense of archives and how charting lines on a map led her to consider colonial legal history in oceanic terms, to see 'oceans as method' in her second book, Across Oceans of Law. She talks about interdisciplinary work as learning to speak new languages and broaches what it's like to publish and work in academia, with mentions of her most recent co-edited work in Animalia, and her upcoming book project on colonialism and piracy.

Episode Notes

*At the 46 minute mark in this episode, there is a mention of the discovery of unmarked graves at sites of former residential schools in Canada. At the time of this recording, only two discoveries had been reported in the media and therefore they are the only discoveries mentioned, however, since then, there have been more discoveries of unmarked graves of children at former residential schools across Canada.