Fall 2011

Jurisprudence of Occupation

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-215

Formerly listed as: LJST-15


Nasser Hussain (Section 01)
Adam Sitze (Section 01)


This class is organized as an inquiry into the questions that are raised for jurisprudence by the specific cultural, spatial, and political experience of occupation.  In particular, we will examine the experiences of colonial occupation in twentieth-century India, South Africa, Malaya and Algeria, as well as contemporary occupations in the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan, focusing throughout on the continuities and discontinuities between the two.  Throughout the course, we will concentrate on the way in which the jurisprudence of occupation blurs many of the distinctions that modern, liberal jurisprudence seeks to maintain and justify--fusing, for example, everyday practices of governing (e.g., policing, census-taking, and policies of segregation) with distinctively military actions (e.g., air power, destruction of lives and infrastructure, and counterinsurgency campaigns). The questions we ask in this course will be both theoretical and historical.  What might the genealogy of colonial occupation have to teach us about aspirations and limits of the jurisprudence of contemporary occupation?  How, if at all, have paradigms of occupation changed with the advent of the era of decolonization, the introduction of tactics of sophisticated air power, the emergence of advanced communications technology, and the unprecedented temporalities and spatialities of economic globalization?  Additionally, we will examine how international law defines and regulates occupation.  What is occupation?  On what grounds does modern jurisprudence authorize and  constrain occupation?  What is the difference between a legal occupation and an illegal occupation?  Last but not least, we will ask what precedents, insights and lessons occupation provides for a more general understanding of law, governance, and conflict. 

Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Professors Hussain and Sitze.

If Overenrolled: Final enrollment by permission of instructor

Cost: 31.00 ?


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013