Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Legal Reform in British India

Questions for seminar:
  • What were the connections between the British imperial project and Orientalist scholarship?
  • What was English and what was Islamic in Anglo-Muhammadan law?

Assigned Reading:
Bernard Cohn, Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India (Princeton University Press, 1996), chapter 3, “Law and the Colonial State in India.”
Scott Kugle, “Framed, Blamed and Renamed: The Recasting of Islamic Jurisprudence in Colonial South Asia,” Modern Asian Studies 35 (2001), 257-313.
David Powers, “Orientalism, Colonialism and Legal History: The Attack on Muslim Family Endowments in Algeria and India,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 31 (1989), 535-71.

Primary Sources:

Mussalman Wakf Validating Act 1913 and Mussalman Wakf Validating Act 1930.

Further Reading:
Jorg Fisch, Cheap Lives and Dear Limbs: The British Transformation of the Bengal Criminal Law, 1769-1817 (Franz Steiner, 1983).
Gregory C. Kozlowski, Muslim Endowments and Society in British India (Cambridge UP, 1985).
Alan M. Guenther, "A Colonial Court Defines a Muslim," in Islam in South Asia in Practice, ed. Barbara Metcalf (Princeton UP, 2009), 293-304.