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Colonizing Hawai'I:
The Cultural Power of Law
Sally Engle Merry

Winner of the 2002 Williard Hurst Prize in Legal History

Paperback | 2000 | $39.95 / £27.95 | ISBN: 9780691009322
432 pp. | 6 x 9 | 23 halftones 1 map 4 tables
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Endorsements | Table of Contents

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How does law transform family, sexuality, and community in the fractured social world characteristic of the colonizing process? The law was a cornerstone of the so-called civilizing process of nineteenth-century colonialism. It was simultaneously a means of transformation and a marker of the seductive idea of civilization. Sally Engle Merry reveals how, in Hawai'i, indigenous Hawaiian law was displaced by a transplanted Anglo-American law as global movements of capitalism, Christianity, and imperialism swept across the islands. The new law brought novel systems of courts, prisons, and conceptions of discipline and dramatically changed the marriage patterns, work lives, and sexual conduct of the indigenous people of Hawai'i.

Endorsement:

"This is an important study which details a crucial (and often ignored) chapter in American legal history. It stands to make an important contribution to the anthropology of law, to the history of colonial legality, and to the methodology of ethnography in the archives."--Annelise Riles, Cornell University

"This is a work of exceptional merit: substantively innovative and valuable, interpretively cogent and insightful, stylistically lucid and engaging. It reads very well as a significant account of the historical Hawaiian situation and as a major contribution to a multidimensional examination of colonial law and, especially, of a crucial and fairly singular American colonial enterprise."--Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Table of Contents:

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi
A NOTE ON LANGUAGE AND TERMINOLOGY xiii
ONE Introduction 3
PART ONE: ENCOUNTERS IN A CONTACT ZONE: NEW ENGLAND MISSIONARIES, LAWYERS, AND THE APPROPRIATION OF ANGLO-AMERICAN LAW, 1820-1852
TWO The Process of Legal Transformation 35
THREE The First Transition: Religious Law 63
FOUR The Second Transition: Secular Law 86
PART TWO: LOCAL PRACTICES OF POLICING AND JUDGING IN HILO, HAWAI'I
FIVE The Social History of a Plantation Town 117
Six Judges and Caseloads in Hilo 145
SEVEN Protest and the Law on the Hilo Sugar Plantations 207
EIGHT Sexuality, Marriage, and the Management of the Body 221
NINE Conclusions 258
APPENDIXES
A CASES FROM HILO DISTRICT COURT 269
B ACCOMPANYING TABLES 325
NOTES 331
REFERENCES 349
INDEX 365

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    File created: 11/10/2014

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