Tuesday - October 17, 2017
Week 42

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1:15 PM - 2:30 PM Across Oceans of Law: the Komagata Maru and jurisdiction in the time of empire

Burnaby Campus, Simon Fraser University Academic Quadrangle Building, Room 5067 (Ellen Gee Common Room) Renisa Mawani, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia The S.S. Komagata Maru rose to prominence in 1914 when Gurdit Singh, a railway contractor and rubber planter from Malaya, transported 376 Punjabi migrants along the Pacific from Hong Kong to Vancouver. The voyage has typically been narrated through the coordinates of landfall, territoriality, and national sovereignty and is frequently evoked as a key moment in the history of immigration exclusions and racism in Canada. Engaging “oceans as method,” a mode of thinking and writing that repositions land and sea, I ask what is at stake, historically and conceptually, when histories of Indian mobility and migration are situated within maritime worlds. By placing the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans into conversation, I analyze the circulating and shared legalities that connected the Dominions, colonies, and territories; the shifting intensities of racial, colonial, and legal violence that joined indigenous dispossession, transatlantic slavery, and Indian indenture to so-called “free” migration Renisa Mawani is an Associate Professor of Sociology and inaugural Chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of British Columbia.
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