This book takes up the postcolonial challenge for law and explains how the problems of legal recognition for Indigenous peoples are tied to an orthodox theory of law. Constructing a theory of legal pluralism that is both critical of law's epistemological and ontological presuppositions, as well as discursive in engaging a dialogue between legal traditions, Anker focusses on prominent aspects of legal discourse and process such as sovereignty, proof, cultural translation and negotiation. With case studies and examples principally drawn from Australia and Canada, the book seeks to set state law in front of its own reflection in the mirror of Indigenous rights, drawing on a broad base of scholarship in addition to legal theory, from philosophy, literary studies, anthropology, social theory, Indigenous studies and art. As a contribution to legal theory, the study advances legal pluralist approaches not just by imagining a way to ’make space for’ Indigenous legal traditions, but by actually working with their insights in building theory. The book will be of value to students and researchers interested in Indigenous rights as well as those working in the areas of socio-legal studies, legal pluralism and law and cultural diversity.
Kirsten Anker is Assistant Professor in law at McGill University. Originally from Australia, her teaching and research focus on fostering greater engagement with Indigenous legal traditions in Canada.
'This important work goes beyond conventional accounts of the recognition of indigenous rights. Building on critical pluralist theories, Anker challenges us to re-imagine ways of thinking law(s), and in so doing takes us to the heart of the problem of legal encounters which has proven such an intractable issue in Australia, Canada and elsewhere.' Shaunnagh Dorsett, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia ’In this book, Anker provides a comprehensively researched, beautifully written and passionately argued case for adopting her innovative critical discursive legal pluralist approach to the question of the legal relationship between indigenous peoples and the modern state.’ Anthony J. Connolly, Australian National University, Australia ’In this moving and erudite engagement, Kirsten Anker takes the recognition of Indigenous peoples and their rights exactly where it should go - away from a template of occidental law, sovereignty and perception and towards a formative plurality of relation between it and Indigenous law, life and perception. The result not only nuances the relation beautifully, but refracts it through the occidental in a telling critique. A work of prime significance for legal theory generally.’ Peter Fitzpatrick, Birkbeck University of London, UK