'Be Operational, or Disappear': Thoughts on a Present Discontent

Posted: 18 Nov 2016

See all articles by Christopher Tomlins

Christopher Tomlins

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program

Date Written: October 2016

Abstract

Considered as regimes of interpellation, history and law separately and jointly observe and insist upon realities often antagonistic to distinct realities that arise from their alternate incarnation as memory and right. Because it exists at the intersection of history and law, legal history has a responsibility to resolve, or at least reveal, these cross-purposes. This essay summarizes the development of the field of legal history and reviews the origins of its current leading sector, critical historicism. Using examples from Australian Native title jurisprudence, it argues that critical historicism cannot meet its responsibilities. The essay points elsewhere, to philosophies of history that may perform better.

Suggested Citation

Tomlins, Christopher, 'Be Operational, or Disappear': Thoughts on a Present Discontent (October 2016). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 12, pp. 1-23, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2870879 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-021116-043949

Christopher Tomlins (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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