Comparative Law and Decolonizing Critique

36 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 30 Sep 2017

See all articles by Sherally Munshi

Sherally Munshi

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: August 24, 2017


This essay seeks to reanimate comparative legal scholarship by reorienting it towards decolonizing critique. In his critical assessment of the state of the field, Pierre Legrand suggests that comparative law has become mired in a solipsistic and outmoded style of positivism. Drawing upon theoretical insights from critical theory, Legrand argues that comparative law might render itself more generative and more relevant by engaging in a more contextualized analysis of law and encouraging active interpretation beyond descriptive reporting. In this essay, I extend Legrand’s arguments to suggest that an emancipated, incorporative, and interdisciplinary comparative law might play an important role in decolonizing legal scholarship more broadly. Founded in a commitment to constrain an ethnocentric impulse in legal discourse, comparative law might be expanded to challenge the varieties of Eurocentrism that continue to define legal scholarship and study, while providing hospitable ground for critical and interdisciplinary projects aimed at exploring the colonial roots of both the contemporary nation-state system and globalized racial formations.

Keywords: Comparative Law, Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Decolonization, Race, Eurocentrism, Immigration, Nation-State

Suggested Citation

Munshi, Sherally, Comparative Law and Decolonizing Critique (August 24, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Sherally Munshi (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

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