Event — Webinar

Legalism and beyond: hybrid legal spaces in India

An online interactive lecture by Chiara Correndo from the University of Turin, Italy.

The lecture will take place from 11:00 - 12:00 a.m. Amsterdam Time (Central European Time, CET).

How can law be at the same time an instrument of oppression and emancipation? Hegemonic and counter-hegemonic? Through the paradigm of interlegality, this talk will shed some light on the fluid, multifaceted nature of law focusing on the British legal policies in the Indian Chotanagpur Plateau.

During the colonial period, the British started a significant process of hybridization of customary norms and institutions in the Chotanagpur Plateau (India). Exploiting the potential of the law in constituting subjectivities, the colonizers managed to control indigenous peoples by the coercive use of legal means ('acting through lawfare').

Despite the superimposed nature of these norms, Chiara Correndo will be argued how indigenous Adivasi communities consider colonial-era laws disciplining traditional land tenure and dispute settlement mechanisms as part and parcel of their own customary law. Indeed, these communities bend and use these provisions to advance claims for indigenous autonomy and counteract interference from state institutions. The focus will be in particular on the Wilkinson’s Rules and the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act; references will also be made to the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, an Act adopted in 1996 to extend the system of local governance to Scheduled Areas through the empowerment of traditional administrative bodies. This analysis aims, therefore, at shedding light on the multifaceted roles of law, which could be (and have been) a hegemonic tool to shape legal geographies and subjectivities, but at the same time, can turn out to be an instrument of emancipation.

The Speaker

Chiara Correndo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the University of Turin, Department of Law, where she teaches Hindu Law and Law and Society in Asia. She is a former Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance (New Delhi) and Van Calker Fellow at the Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé (Lausanne). During her PhD, she was also Visiting Research Student at the Queen Mary University of London, Department of Law. Her main research examines the interplay between legal orders in the Indian space: she has worked extensively on Hindu personal law and gender issues, as well as the Panchayati Raj system and its impact on local power structures. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals (to mention some, Diritto Pubblico Comparato ed EuropeoDaimon and Südasien Chronik- South Asia Chronicle).

The Webinar

There will be time for questions after the lecture.