Advertisement

When British Justice (in African Colonies) Points Two Ways: On Dualism, Hybridity, and the Genealogy of Juridical Negritude in Taslim Olawale Elias

  • Mark ToufayanEmail author
Chapter
  • 767 Downloads
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 29)

Abstract

Taslim Elias’s scholarship on the impact of English common law on the growth of African customary law illustrates the intersectionality negotiated between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, universal and subaltern laws. His intellectual portrait is also useful as a heuristic device to excise the doctrines, strategies, imageries, and narratives of progress elaborated about ‘Africa’ and ‘law’. Elias decried the contempt and ignorance exhibited by colonial masters towards native customs and laws; he also vilified judicially crafted ‘repugnancy’ and ‘public policy’ doctrines as instruments of colonial policy to prevent British justice from looking both ways, by ensuring that British standards were the ‘objective’ criteria of abrogation and change. Yet he nonetheless saw these doctrines and English law as a unifying force in the emergence of a unified Nigerian legal system. This article argues that this paradox in Elias’s work and his struggle against the asserted dualism between English law and African customary law must be situated in the context of the rise of an African legal consciousness or juridical Negritude, home to various political projects of nation-building, African cultural liberation, and development which strategically intersected in their unstable relationship to law and Western culture. This signals a turn to ‘hybridity’ in legal discourse and Elias’s professional trajectory seeking to develop a uniform common law for Nigeria as a way to explicate the workings of this relationship, and how African law is inscribed in the interplay of cultural forces constantly (re)negotiating the boundaries of their engagement with one another. This, in turn, reveals a complex picture of mediating between the simultaneous participation of Third World intellectuals in various struggles and personal or ideological projects within African humanism, which an analysis structured around the stability of centres/peripheries conventionally distorts.

Keywords

Supra Note British Colonial African Society Political Project African Philosophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Allott A (1960) Essays in African law. Butterworths, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Anghie A (1999) Finding the peripheries: sovereignty and colonialism in nineteenth-century international law. Harv Int Law J 40(1):1–80Google Scholar
  3. Anghie A (2005) Imperialism, sovereignty and the making of international law. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anghie A, Chimni BS (2003) Third world approaches to international law and individual responsibility in internal conflicts. Chin J Int Law 2:77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anta Diop C (1956) The cultural contributions and prospects of Africa. Présence Africaine 347:8–10Google Scholar
  6. Becker Lorca A (2006) Alejandro Alvarez situated: subaltern modernities and modernisms that subvert. Leiden J Int Law 19:879CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bedjaoui M (1961) La révolution algérienne et le droit. Association internationale des juristes démocrates, BruxellesGoogle Scholar
  8. Belleau MC (1997) The “Juristes Inquiets”: legal classicism and criticism in early twentieth-century France. Utah Law Rev 2:379Google Scholar
  9. Belleau MC (1998) La dichotomie droit privé/droit public dans le contexte québécois et canadien et l’intersectionnalité identitaire. Cah de droit 39:177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bello EG, Ajibola BA (1992) Preface. In: Bello EG, Ajibola BA (eds) Essays in honour of judge Taslim Olawale Elias. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/London, 2 volsGoogle Scholar
  11. Bennett TW (1995) Human rights and African customary law. Juta, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  12. Bennett TW (2006) Comparative law and African customary law. In: Reimann M, Zimmermann R (eds) The Oxford handbook of comparative law. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Benton L (2002) Law and local cultures, legal regimes in world history 1400–1900. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  14. Bhabha HK (2004) The location of culture. Routledge, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Cass DZ (1997) Navigating the newstream: recent critical scholarship in international law. Nordic J Int Law 65:341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Césaire A (1956) Culture and colonization, Présence Africaine 193:8–10Google Scholar
  17. Curtin PD (1984) Cross-cultural trade in world history. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (Cambridgeshire)/New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. David R (1962) La Refonte du Code Civil dans les états africains. Ann Afr 1:160Google Scholar
  19. David R (1973) Les grands systémes de droit contemporains. Dalloz, ParisGoogle Scholar
  20. Diouf M, Mbodj M (1992) The shadow of Cheikh Anta Diop. In: Mudimbe VY (ed) The surreptitious speech: Présence Africaine and the politics of otherness. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 1947–1987Google Scholar
  21. Elias TO (1954) Groundwork of Nigerian law. Routledge & Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Elias TO (1956a) The nature of African customary law. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  23. Elias TO (1956b) Makers of Nigerian law. Hazell Watson & Viney, SurreyGoogle Scholar
  24. Elias TO (1961) La nature du droit coutumier africain (trans: Découfle et Dessau). Présence africaine, ParisGoogle Scholar
  25. Elias TO (1962) British colonial law: a comparative study of the interaction between English and local laws in British dependencies. Stevens, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Elias TO (1963) The Nigerian legal system. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Elias TO (1965) African law. In: Larson A, Jenks CW (eds) Sovereignty within the law. Oceana Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Elias TO (1967) Nigeria: the development of its laws and constitution. Stevens, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Elias TO (1968) The commonwealth in Africa. Mod Law Rev 31:284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Elias TO (1971) Nigerian land law. Routledge and Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  31. Elias TO (1972a) Towards a common law in Nigeria. In: Elias TO (ed) Law and social change in Nigeria. University of Lagos/Evans Bros, LagosGoogle Scholar
  32. Elias TO (1972; 1988) Africa and the development of international law. A W Sijthoff/Oceana Publications, Leiden/Dobbs FerryGoogle Scholar
  33. Elias TO (1973a) Law in a developing society. Inaugural Lecture Series, LagosGoogle Scholar
  34. Elias TO (1973b) The impact of English law upon Nigerian customary law. Reproduced in Elias TO, Law in a developing society. Inaugural lecture series, LagosGoogle Scholar
  35. Elias TO (1981) Africa before the world court. University of Nairobi, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  36. Elias TO (1983) The international court of justice and some contemporary problems: essays on international law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague/LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Elias TO (1986) Judicial process and legal development in Africa. In: Mowoe IJ, Bjornson R (eds) Africa and the West: the legacies of empire. Greenwood Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Elias TO (1989a) The United Nations charter and the world court. Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, LagosGoogle Scholar
  39. Elias TO (1989b) The role of the international court of justice in Africa. Afr J Int Comp Law 1:1Google Scholar
  40. Elias TO (1990) Judicial process in the newer commonwealth. University of Lagos Press, LagosGoogle Scholar
  41. Elias TO, Nwabara SN, Akpamgbo CO (eds) (1975) African indigenous laws. Government Printer, EnuguGoogle Scholar
  42. Fanon F (1952) Peau noire, masques blancs. Éditions du Seuil, ParisGoogle Scholar
  43. Fanon F (1959) The reciprocal basis of national cultures and the struggles for liberation. Présence Africaine 89:24–25Google Scholar
  44. Francescakis P (1964–II) Problèmes de droit international privé de l’Afrique noire indépendante. 112 RCADI 269Google Scholar
  45. Hegel GWF (1837) In: Gans E (ed) The philosophy of history (trans: Sibree J, 1857). Bohn, LondonGoogle Scholar
  46. Irele A (1986) Contemporary thought in French speaking Africa. In: Mowoe IJ, Bjornson R (eds) Africa and the West: the legacies of empire. Greenwood Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  47. Kennedy D (1980) Toward an historical understanding of legal consciousness: the case of classical legal thought in America 1850–1940. Res Law Sociol 3:3Google Scholar
  48. Kennedy D (1997a) New approaches to comparative law: comparativism and international governance. Utah Law Rev 2:545Google Scholar
  49. Kennedy D (1997b) A critique of adjudication (Fin de Siècle). Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  50. Kennedy D (2001) A semiotics of critique. Cardozo Law Rev 22:1147Google Scholar
  51. Kennedy D (2003) Two globalizations of law and legal thought: 1850–1968. Suffolk Univ Law Rev 36:631Google Scholar
  52. Kennedy D (2006) Three globalizations of law and legal thought: 1850–2000. In: Santos A, Trubek D (eds) The new law and economic development. A critical appraisal. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  53. King RH (2004) Race, culture and the intellectuals 1940–1970. Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins University Press, Washington, DC/BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  54. Kuti FA (1991) Elias: a man of his time. Patrac, Benin CityGoogle Scholar
  55. Laclau E (1996) Emancipation(s). Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  56. Lawrence TJ (1900) The principles of international law. DC Heath, BostonGoogle Scholar
  57. Lawrence BN, Osborn EL, Roberts RL (eds) (2006) Intermediaries, interpreters, and clerks: African employees in the making of Colonial Africa. University of Wisconsin Press, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  58. Lévy-Bruhl L (1922) La Mentalité primitive. Presses universitaires de France, ParisGoogle Scholar
  59. Lindley MF (1969) The acquisition and government of backward territory in international law. Negro Universities, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  60. M’Baye K (1973) The African conception of law. In: Zweigert K, Drobnig U (eds) International encyclopaedia of comparative law, vol II, Ch 1, 138Google Scholar
  61. Maine H (1906) Ancient law: its connection with the early history of society and its relation to modern ideas. H. Holt, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. Mazrui AA (1986) Cultural forces in African politics: in search of a synthesis. In: Mowoe IJ, Bjornson R (eds) Africa and the West: the legacies of empire. Greenwood Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  63. Merry SE (2006) Human rights and gender violence: translating international law into local justice. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  64. Mowoe IJ, Bjornson R (1986) Introduction. In: Mowoe IJ, Bjornson R (eds) Africa and the West: the legacies of empire. Greenwood Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  65. Mwalimu C (2005) The Nigerian legal system, vol 1, Public law. P Lang, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  66. Ngugi J (2004) Re-examining the role of private property in market democracies: problematic ideological issues raised by land registration. MIJ Int Law 25:467Google Scholar
  67. Nkrumah K (1964) Consciencism: philosophy and ideology for decolonization and development with particular reference to the African revolution. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  68. Nnaemeka-Agu P The contribution of judge Elias to African customary law. In: Bello EG, Ajibola BA (eds) Essays in honour of judge Taslim Olawale Elias, 2 vols. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/LondonGoogle Scholar
  69. Nyamu CI (1998–99) Achieving gender equality in a plural legal context: custom and women’s access to and control of land in Kenya. Third World Legal Studies 15:21Google Scholar
  70. Rosello M (1995) Introduction. In: Rosello M, Pritchard A (trans & eds) Aimé Césaire: notebook of a return to my native land/Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. Bloodaxe BooksGoogle Scholar
  71. Said EW (1979) Orientalism. Vintage Books/Random House, New York/TorontoGoogle Scholar
  72. Sartre JP (1948) Orphée noire. In: Sédar Senghor L (ed) Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française. Presses universitaires de France, ParisGoogle Scholar
  73. Sédar Senghor L (1956) The spirit of civilization, or the laws of African Negro culture. Présence Africaine 51:8–10Google Scholar
  74. Sédar Senghor L (1964) Liberté I: Négritude et humanisme. Éditions du Seuil, ParisGoogle Scholar
  75. Sédar Senghor L (1977) Liberté III: civilisation de l’universel. Éditions du Seuil, ParisGoogle Scholar
  76. Sir Abrahams S (1948) The colonial legal service and the administration of justice in colonial dependencies. J Comp Legis Int Law (3rd Series) 30(1):1–11Google Scholar
  77. Skouteris T (2005) The vocabulary of progress in interwar international law: an intellectual portrait of Stelios Seferiades. Eur J Int Law 19:823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Smith IO, Alade CA (1991) Taslim Elias: a jurist of distinction. Lagos State University, LagosGoogle Scholar
  79. Thompson A (1991) Favored by the gods. Kolapo Standard Press, IbadanGoogle Scholar
  80. Towa M (1971) Essai sur la problématique philosophique dans l’Afrique actuelle. Éditions CLE, YaoundéGoogle Scholar
  81. Vaillant JG (1990) Black, French and African: a life of Leopold Sédar Senghor. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  82. Wheaton H (1866) Elements of international law. Stevens and Sons, LondonGoogle Scholar
  83. Yakpo EKM (1992) The public policy doctrine in African interlocal conflict of laws. In Bello EG, Ajibola BA (eds) Essays in honour of judge Taslim Olawale Elias, 2 vols. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations