Ablavsky on Original Meanings of “Indian Tribes”

Gregory Ablavsky, Stanford Law School, has posted “With the Indian Tribes”: Race, Citizenship, and Original Constitutional Meanings, which is forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review.

Under black-letter law declared in Morton v. Mancari, federal classifications of individuals as “Indian” based on membership in a federally recognized tribe rely on a political, not a racial, distinction, and so are generally subject only to rational-basis review. But the Supreme Court recently questioned this long-standing dichotomy, resulting in renewed challenges arguing that, because tribal membership usually requires Native ancestry, such classifications are race-based.

The term “Indian” appears twice in the original U.S. Constitution. A large and important scholarly literature has developed arguing that this specific constitutional inclusion of “Indian tribes” mitigates equal protection concerns. Missing from these discussions, however, is much consideration of these terms’ meaning at the time of the Constitution’s adoption. Most scholars have concluded that there is a lack of evidence on this point—a “gap” in the historical record.

This Essay uses legal, intellectual, and cultural history to close that “gap” and reconstruct the historical meanings of “tribe” and “Indian” in the late eighteenth century. Rather than a single “original meaning,” it finds duality: Anglo-Americans of the time also alternated between referring to Native communities as “nations,” which connoted equality, and “tribes,” which conveyed Natives’ purported uncivilized status. They also defined “Indians” both in racial terms, as non-white, and in jurisdictional terms, as non-citizens.

These contrasting meanings, I argue, have potentially important doctrinal implications for current debates in Indian law, depending on the interpretive approach applied. Although the term “tribe” had at times derogatory connotations, its use in the Constitution bolsters arguments emphasizing the significance of Native descent and arguably weakens current attacks on Native sovereignty based on invidious legal distinctions among Native communities. Similarly, there is convincing evidence to read “Indian” in the Constitution in political terms, justifying Morton’s dichotomy. But interpreting “Indian” as a “racial” category also provides little solace to Indian law’s critics, since it fundamentally undermines their insistence on a colorblind Constitution.

Book : Human Rights Encounter Legal Pluralism

Human Rights Encounter Legal Pluralism

Normative and Empirical Approaches

Giselle Corradi, Eva Brems, Mark Goodale (ed.)

ISBN : 9781849467612

Hart Publishing, 2017

Media of Human Rights Encounter Legal Pluralism

About Human Rights Encounter Legal Pluralism

This collection of essays interrogates how human rights law and practice acquire meaning in relation to legal pluralism, ie, the co-existence of more than one regulatory order in a same social field. As a social phenomenon, legal pluralism exists in all societies. As a legal construction, it is characteristic of particular regions, such as post-colonial contexts. Drawing on experiences from Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, the contributions in this volume analyse how different configurations of legal pluralism interplay with the legal and the social life of human rights. At the same time, they enquire into how human rights law and practice influence interactions that are subject to regulation by more than one normative regime. Aware of numerous misunderstandings and of the mutual suspicion that tends to exist between human rights scholars and anthropologists, the volume includes contributions from experts in both disciplines and intends to build bridges between normative and empirical theory.

Table Of Contents

1. Human Rights and Legal Pluralism: Four Research Agendas
Giselle Corradi
2. Legal Pluralism as a Human Right and/or as a Human Rights Violation
Eva Brems
3. Legal Pluralism and International Human Rights Law: A Multifaceted Relationship
Ellen Desmet
4. Human Rights, Cultural Diversity and Legal Pluralism from an Indigenous Perspective: The Awas Tingni Case
Felipe Gómez Isa
5. Taking the Challenge of Legal Pluralism for Human Rights Seriously
André Hoekema
6. Indigenous Justice and the Right to a Fair Trial
Giselle Corradi

7. Gender, Human Rights and Legal Pluralities in Southern Africa: A Matter of Context and Power
Anne Hellum and Rosalie Katsande
8. Women’s Rights and Transnational Aid Programmes in Niger: The Conundrums and Possibilities of Neoliberalism and Legal Pluralism
Kari B Henquinet
9. Legal Borderlands: Ghanaian Human Rights Advocacy between the Layers of Law
Catherine Buerger
10. Insiders’ Perspectives on Muslim Divorce in Belgium: A Women’s Rights Analysis
Kim Lecoyer
11. Through the Looking Glass of Diversity: The Right to Family Life from the Perspectives of Transnational
Families in Belgium
Barbara Truffi n and Olivier Struelens

Journal : Demystifying Legal Pluralism

Demystifying Legal Pluralism

M. Isabel Garrido Gómez (University of Alcala) has posted Forms of Demystifying Legal Pluralism on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

Globalization is given impetus by the needs of the global economy and by the unequal distribution of power. And there are new spaces where there are innovating socio-post-materialistic programmes and policies to promote peace, the well-being of the environment, gender and racial equality, that are led by new groups and social movements. These ideas have influence in the new conception of law. In the second part, with the goal of demystifying legal pluralism we study substantive and formal instruments. Finally, we show an formal/substantive instrument that is represented by the equality because the concept has its origin in the creation of a legal and social order in which the independence of the individual could only be obtained by positioning him under the auspices of the legal power of the State, with the concept of independence being linked to a formal system and economic autonomy.

“Forms of Demystifying Legal Pluralism” (November 29, 2017), Jurisprudence & Legal Philosophy eJournal.

Revue : De la responsabilité

De la responsabilité 

Revue L’Homme. Revue française d’anthropologie,

n° 223-224, 2017

ISBN  : 978-2-7132-2690-8

La responsabilité, en tant que concept juridique, philosophique et moral, mais aussi en tant que notion utilisée dans des situations ordinaires, est au cœur du dossier thématique coordonné par Deborah Puccio-Den pour le numéro 223-224 de L’Homme.

Par une approche interdisciplinaire réunissant anthropologues, sociologues, historiens et juristes, ce dossier interroge la nature du lien privilégié que l’on établit entre actes et personnes dans différents contextes et sociétés, ainsi que les mécanismes d’attribution de la faute et les controverses autour des processus de réparation, tout en prêtant une attention particulière à la tension entre individuel et collectif. Le numéro inclut également un débat sur ce qui éloigne ou rapproche aujourd’hui l’anthropologie sociale, l’anthropologie biologique et la préhistoire, du point de vue épistémologique et institutionnel.



Deborah Puccio-Den – De la responsabilité

Études & Essais

Yann Rivière – Solidarité de la famille et responsabilité pénale dans le droit criminel romain

Deborah Puccio-Den – De l’honneur à la responsabilité. Les métamorphoses du sujet mafieux

Janine Barbot & Nicolas Dodier – Se confronter à l’action judiciaire. Des victimes au carrefour des différentes branches du droit

Clémence Jullien “Alors, à qui la faute ?” Mort périnatale et accusations croisées dans une maternité au Rajasthan (Inde)

En question

Rainer Maria Kiesow – “Le peuple est mort, vive le peuple !”. Réflexions sur la responsabilité individuelle et collective des crimes nazis

François Hartog – La présence du témoin

Hors dossier – Centenaire de Jean Rouch

Baptiste Buob – Splendeur et misère de la ciné-transe. Jean Rouch et les adaptations successives d’un terme “mystérieux”


Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, Bernard Formoso & Charles Stépanoff – Pour une anthropologie générale. Crise et renouveau du partenariat scientifique et institutionnel de l’anthropologie biologique, l’anthropologie sociale et la préhistoire

Philippe Boissinot – Sur l’anthropologie générale aujourd’hui. Commentaires d’un archéologue

Maurice Bloch – Bearing the Other Anthropological Disciplines in Mind

Book : Critical race theory : une introduction aux grands textes fondateurs

Critical race theory : une introduction aux grands textes fondateurs

Mathias Moschel Hourya Bentouhami

Dalloz – A Droit Ouvert



L’ouvrage est une introduction aux grands textes fondateurs de la Critical Race Theory, qui sont ici traduits en français et suivis de commentaires explicatifs. La Critical Race theory est une discipline académique universitaire apparue aux Etats-Unis au milieu des années 1980, centrée sur l’application de la théorie critique aux relations entre la race, la loi et le pouvoir. L’enjeu de cet ouvrage est de montrer comment la production de race dans des contextes politiques et juridiques aussi différents que celui des Etats-Unis ou celui de l’Europe trouve une forme de commensurabilité, et de donner une vue d’ensemble aux lecteurs français des écrits développés dans le cadre de cette théorie.

Sommaire :

Première partie –  Les articles fondateurs de la Critical Race theory.
1) Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, et al. (eds.), Introduction /Présentation par Hourya Bentouhami et Mathias Möschel : « La Critical Race Theory : un mouvement politique dans les facultés de droit americaines ». 2) Derrick Bell, Brown c. Board of Education et le dilemme de la convergence d’intérêts /Présentation par Hourya Bentouhami : « Le droit : une question de principes ? Vers une approche matérialiste des décisions juridiques ». 3) Cheryl Harris, De la blanchité considérée comme propriété /Présentation par Magali Bessone : « De la blanchité considérée comme propriété ». 4) Charles R. Lawrence III, Le Ça, le Moi et l’ « égale protection des lois » : se confronter au racisme inconscient /Présentation par Tammouz Al Douri : « Le racisme inconscient et le droit de la non-discrimination ». 5) Richard Delgado, La dixième chronique de Rodrigo : le mérite et l’action positive /Présentation par Emilia Roig : « Action positive aveugle à la race : la méritocratie sous couvert d’égalité des chances ». 6) Mari Matsuda, La réaction des autorités publiques face au discours raciste : prendre en compte l’histoire de la victime /Présentation par Janine Silga : « La protection juridique contre la haine raciale : le point de vue de la victime ». 7) Gary Peller, La sensibilité aux enjeux liés à la race /Présentation par Sylvia- Lise Bada : « Pour un usage critique du concept de race dans le discours antiraciste français ».

Deuxième partie Les développements ultérieurs.

IDAES, UNSAM invita a la charla: La invisibilización de un crimen: feminicidios en contextos indígenas en Chiapas.

La Universidad Nacional de San Martín y Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales invitan a la charla: La invisibilización de un crimen: feminicidios en contextos indígenas en Chiapas.

Impartida por la Dra. Perla Orquídea Fragoso Lugo, catedrática CONACYT/ CESMECA-UNICACH, México.

El Jueves 30 de noviembre a las 18:00hrs.

En Sede Edificio Volta

Av. R. S. Peña 832, piso 6, CABA

Aula 605

Book : Race in the Shadow of Law

State Violence in Contemporary Europe

Eddie Bruce-Jones

Routlege, 2017

Race in the Shadow of Law: State Violence in Contemporary Europe (Hardback) book cover
Race in the Shadow of Law offers a critical legal analysis of European responses to institutional racism. It draws connections between contemporary legal knowledge practices and colonial systems of thought, arguing that many people of colour experience the law as a part of a racial problem, rather than a solution, to racial injustice. Based on a critical legal ethnography of anti-racism work in Europe, and with an emphasis on the German context, the book positions Black and anti-racist perspectives at the centre, rather than the margins, of critically thinking through the intersection of race and law. Combining this ethnography with comparative legal analysis, discourse analysis and critical race theory, the book develops a critical discussion of the European legal frameworks aimed at regulating racism, and particularly institutional racism, in policy and policing. In linking this critique to the transformative potential of social movements, however, it goes on to examine the strategic and creative possibility of disrupting conventional modes of engaging, and resisting, law.


Eddie Bruce-Jones is based at Birkbeck School of Law, London, UK.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Some Remarks on Ethnography, Race, Law and Unruliness Part 1. Between the Lines and at the Margins Chapter 1. Structural Racism and the Law in Europe Chapter 2. Transgression: Law and the Choreography of Race and Place Part 2. Colouring out of Bounds: Thinking Beyond Law Chapter 3. Smoke and Mirrors: Performing in the Theatre of the Court Chapter 4. The Politics of Remembrance: Narrating State Violence Chapter 5. Gender, Colonial History and Contemporary Social Movements Part 3. Unruly Work on Race and the Law Chapter 6. Towards a European Anti-Racism Epilogue: Living with the Dead.