Department of Sociology
The University of British Columbia
Office: AnSo 2315
Phone: (604) 822-6494
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Toronto
Law and Society/ Criminology, Social and Cultural Theory, Sociology of Knowledge and Culture, Political Philosophies of Law and Justice
Historical/ Comparative Sociologies of Empire, Sociologies of Modernity, Law and Nature, Postcolonial Theory, Biopolitics and Racisms, Cosmopolitanism, Affect, Law and Society in South Asia
I currently have three ongoing projects located at different stages.
My recent book, Colonial Proximites (Vancouver: UBC Press/ University of Washington Press, 2009) explores the multiple ways in which colonial authorities governed encounters between Chinese migrants, aboriginal peoples, 'mixed-race populations' and European settlers in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British Columbia. Here, I contest the idea that genealogies of colonialism and migration unfolded in distinct spatial and temporal contexts as is implicitly suggested through colonial historiographies and histories of migration. Instead, I endeavor to trace their deeply entangled histories by exploring proximities and encounters between migrants and indigenous peoples in the salmon canneries, through the 'white slavery panic,' and in the sale and consumption of liquor. My interest lies in the epistemic fields of race as an effect of power/ knowledge that informed these politically charged sites and the modes of governance they inspired and made possible. The book is also a critical engagement with Foucault’s conceptualization of biopolitics and the rise of state racisms.
My second project, 'Legalities of Nature' (funded by a SSHRC standard research grant 2004-2008) examines the interrelations and interconnections between law, nature, and culture. While we now know a great deal about the social and cultural production of nature and its constitutive connections with European imperialism, law’s role in the production of nature and its deep connections to imperial concerns and to human/ non-human encounters still requires further attention. One aspect of this project has examined the transnational circuits of law and people in the production of parkscapes (Stanley Park). The other, which is still in an early and exploratory stage, turns to the nonhuman and explores the interconnections between law, nature, and culture through the movements and geopolitical deployment of insects. This project was a finalist for the Aurora Prize from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2004).
My third project, 'The Komagata Maru: A Global Voyage in the Age of Empire' (funded by a Hampton Grant 2007-2009 and a SSHRC Standard Research Grant 2009-2012) traces the journey of the iconic ship that carried 376 Punjabi laborers from Hong Kong to Canada, making numerous stops along the way. Although the Komagata Maru's journey has been narrated as an exemplar of Canadian exclusion, the focus of this project is much broader, following the transnational circuits of law, legality, and violence which effectuated the ship's journey and its eventual return to India. This study is a multi-sited one that draws upon archival research in Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa, London (U.K.), Hong Kong, Malaysia, and India and endeavors to place the ship within a wider global context of imperial governance and anti-colonial struggle.
See my working bibliography: Law and the South Asian Diaspora
2009 Colonial Proximities: Crossracial Encounters and Juridical Truths in British Columbia, 1871-1921 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press/ University of Washington Press).
Forthcoming, "Law as Temporality: Colonial Politics and Indian Settlers," Irvine Law Review (estimated publication date, May 2013).
Forthcoming, "Insects, War, Life." In Brenna Bhandar and Jon Goldberg-Hiller (eds.), Plastic Materialities.
Forthcoming, "Law and Migration Across the Pacific: Narrating the Komagata Maru Outside and Beyond the Nation," Adele Perry, Karen Dubinsky, and Henry Yu (eds.), Thinking Inside/ Outside the Nation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).
2012 "Racial Violence and the Cosmopolitan City," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 30(6), 1083-1102.
2012 "Law's Archive," Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 8, 337-365.
2012 "Specters of Indigeneity in British Indian Migration, 1914" Law and Society Review, 46(2), 369-403.
2010 "'Half-Breeds,' Racial Opacity, and Geographies of Crime: Law's Search for the 'Original' Indian," Cultural Geographies, 17(4), 487-506.
2010 "On Postcolonialism and Criminology" (co-authored with David Sealy). In Kirsten Kramar (ed.), Criminology: Critical Canadian Perspectives (Toronto, Pearson).
2009 "The Sociological Imagination and its Imperial Shadows," (co-authored with Thomas Kemple), Theory, Culture, and Society, 26, 228-249.
2008 “Cross Racial Encounters and Juridical Truths: (Dis)Aggregating Race in British Columbia’s Colonial Contact Zone,” BC Studies (Special Issue on 'Refracting Pacific Canada'), 156/157, 141-171.
2007 “Legalities of Nature: Law, Empire, and Wilderness Landscapes in Canada,” Social Identities, 13(6), 715-734.
2006 “Screening out Diseased Bodies: Immigration, Mandatory HIV Testing and the Making of a Healthy Canada,” in Alison Bashford (ed) Medicine at the Border: Disease, Globalization, and Security, 1850 to the Present (London & New York: Palgrave), 136-158.
2005 “Genealogies of the Land: Aboriginality, Law, and Territory in Vancouver’s Stanley Park," Social and Legal Studies, 14(3), September 2005, 315-340.
2004 “From Colonialism to Multiculturalism?: Totem Poles, Tourism, and National Identity in Vancouver’s Stanley Park,” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, (Special Issue on Law, Literature and Postcoloniality) 35(1-2), 2006, 31-57.
2004 “‘Cleansing the Conscience of the People’: Reading Head Tax Redress in Multicultural Canada,” Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 19(2), 2004, 127-151.
2003 “Imperial Legacies (Post)Colonial Identities: Law, Space, and the Making of Stanley Park, 1859-2001,” Law/Text/Culture, 7, 2003, 98-141.
2003 “Island of the Unclean: Race, Colonialism, and ‘Chinese Leprosy’ in British Columbia, 1891-1924,” Journal of Law, Social Justice, and Global Development, 2003(1), 21pps.
2003 “Legal Geographies of Aboriginal Segregation in British Columbia: The Making and Unmaking of the Songhees Reserve.” In Carolyn Strange & Alison Bashford (eds), Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion (London & New York: Routledge), 173-190.
2002 “In Between and Out of Place: Mixed-Race Identity, Liquor, and the Law in British Columbia, 1850-1913.” In Sherene H. Razack (ed.), Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society (Toronto: Between the Lines), 47-69.
2002 “‘The Iniquitous Practice of Women’: Prostitution and the Making of White Spaces in British Columbia, 1898-1905.” In Cynthia Levine-Rasky (ed.), Working Through Whiteness: International Perspectives (New York: SUNY Press), 43-68.
2002 “Regulating the Respectable Classes?: Venereal Disease, Gender, and Public Health Initiatives in Canada, 1914-1935.” In John McLaren, Robert Menzies, & Dorothy E. Chunn (eds.), Regulating Lives: Historical Essays on the State, Society, and the Individual (Vancouver: UBC Press), 170-195.
- Winner of the Hilda Neatby Prize (best article contribution to Women's History) from the Canadian Historical Association, 2003
- Reprinted in A. Glasbeek (ed) Moral Regulation in Canada, (Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2006).
2000 “In Between and Out of Place: Racial Hybridity, Liquor, and the Law in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century British Columbia,” Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 15(2), 2000, 9-38.