Flora Annie Steel and the Jurisprudence of Emergency

  • Alex Padamsee


This chapter proposes that the Victorian codification of British Indian law and the fictional capture of India’s medieval history were related processes. Producing India as a subject of ancient law and feudal history became a means of clarifying a certain conflicted sovereign logic, suspending the colony abjectly between the modern and the premodern, the rule of law and the despotic decision. When Indian nationalist politics finally tipped over into violent anticolonial agitation, the novelist Flora Annie Steel turned to the Mughal emperor Akbar to argue for what we might now recognise (in Agamben’s terms) as a colonial state of exception.


Flora Annie Steel Colonial law Terrorism Sexuality India Agamben Akbar Partition 

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Padamsee
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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