Bruce-Jones, E. Kaala Paani and the Archive: Law, Imagination and Colonial Indenture (working title) - manuscript in progress.
Kaala Paani and the Archive advances a set of theoretical reflections that scholars of indenture should consider when excavating, interpreting, imagining and narrativising historical material on the indenture period, specifically and colonial systems of labour and servitude more broadly. In the process of advancing these theoretical considerations, the book provides a critical historical account of the British colonial system of indentureship that transported South Asians from India to the Caribbean and elsewhere in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focusing on migration between 1845 and 1917 from Calcutta, India to Kingston, Jamaica, the book interrogates, through practice, three principal approaches to engaging with the history of colonial laws and policies on indenture—critical legal history, literary analysis, and critical reflection on colonial frameworks of analysis that remain embedded in contemporary institutions.
Research for this volume included visits to the Jamaican National Archives, the State Archives of West Bengal, the Port Authority of Kolkata, the UK National Archives and the Colonial Legal Archives of the Institute of Advanced Legal Study, University of London. It also involved extensive research of administrative registry records, including those of my own family. This research was supported by the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, within the ‘Common Law Transfers’ research stream.
Bruce-Jones, E. Race in the Shadow of Law: State Violence in Contemporary Europe. Routledge, 2017.
Featured on Oxford University's Border Criminologies blog (Jan 2017)
Birkbeck podcast interview (Feb 2017) on the book.
Reviewed in Race & Class (Oct 2017)
Reviewed in Forum Recht (Jan 2018) (in German)
Publisher's summary: Race in the Shadow of Law offers a critical legal analysis of European responses to institutional racism. It draws connections between contemporary legal knowledge practices and colonial systems of thought, arguing that many people of colour experience the law as a part of a racial problem, rather than a solution, to racial injustice. Based on a critical legal ethnography of anti-racism work in Europe, with an emphasis on the German context, the book positions Black and anti-racist perspectives at the centre, rather than the margins, of critically thinking through the intersection of race and law. Combining this ethnography with comparative legal analysis, discourse analysis and critical race theory, the book develops a critical discussion of the European legal frameworks aimed at regulating racism, and particularly institutional racism, in policy and policing. In linking this critique to the transformative potential of social movements, however, it goes on to examine the strategic and creative possibility of disrupting conventional modes of engaging, and resisting, law.
2017. Bruce-Jones, E. "A body does not just combust: racism and the law in Germany" (short article). 34(2) World Policy Journal, Duke University Press, 31-35.
Abstract: Oury Jalloh, an asylum-seeker from Sierra Leone, burned to death chained to a mattress in a German holding cell. Eddie Bruce-Jones, a senior legal lecturer at University of London’s Birkbeck College School of Law, writes that the myriad mistakes in the investigation and prosecution of Jalloh’s case reveal patterns institutional racism that many Germans are unwilling to confront.
2015. Bruce-Jones, E. "Death Zones and Comfort Zones: Queering the Refugee Question" in 22(1) International Journal of Minority and Group Rights, Brill Nijhoff: Leiden, 101-127.
Abstract: Sexuality-based refugee claims constitute an expanding area of legal practice and scholarship. This expansion in the field of refugee law mirrors international efforts to address homophobia in various sites around the globe, and in legal terms, this has predominantly taken the form of rights-based protections, such as decriminalising same-sex sexual acts as a matter of civil and political rights. The strategies of addressing sex-, gender- and sexuality-based oppression in the context of free movement on one hand and constitutional protections on the other share a common set of tensions and dilemmas, and both risk re-inscribing fundamental aspects of the very violence that they each seek to address. This article asks what it might mean to “queer” refugee law, particularly in the context of its dynamic relationship with the discourse of decriminalisation. The article takes forward the centrality of sexual politics within the moral economy of migration regulation and attempts to approach it with the methodological impulse and transformative potential that “queer” suggests.
2015. Bruce-Jones, E. “German Policing at the Intersection: race, gender, migrant status and mental health” in 56(3) Race & Class, Sage: London, 36-49.
Abstract: Germany not only avoids using the term ‘race’, but its institutions, such as the police, refrain from collecting statistics according to race, gender, ethnicity and so on, which makes it hard to prove that police actions, and particularly violence, differentially affect non-white Germans. Examining a series of controversial cases in which non-white Germans have been killed in encounters with the police, the author argues for an understanding of how race and other identities intersect, and shows how the police mount a dubious ‘cultural defence’ – based on their perceived fears – to justify their disproportionate use of force. Deaths in custody provide a lens through which to view the need in Germany to identify and accept the presence of patterns of institutional racism.
2012. Bruce-Jones, E. “Germany’s Stephen Lawrence” (Legal Comment) in 54(2) Race & Class, Sage: London, 82–87.
Abstract: Campaigners in Germany, protesting at the suspicious death in custody of Oury Jalloh in 2005 and the subsequent cover-up by the criminal justice system, are looking to the Lawrence trial, the Macpherson Report and other British institutional responses to see how Germany could learn from the British experience.
2009. Bruce-Jones, E. "Anthropology as Critical Legal Intervention? Instrumentalization, Co-Construction and Critical Reformulation in the Relationship between Anthropology and International Law," in 14(2) UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, 331-365.
Abstract: This article creates a coherent way to imagine the relationship between law and anthropology. It describes an analytical separation between three overlapping and interacting branches, aiming to present the relationship in a way that is instructive and programmatic. This article first highlights relevant methods and epistemologies of law and anthropology. Then it explores three central branches of anthropological-legal interaction, framed respectively as instrumentalization, co-construction, and critical reformulation. Ultimately, the article posits that the tensions between anthropology and law, including the (mis)appropriation of anthropology by law, can be theorized and repositioned as a means of more critically understanding how power and culturally-informed perspectives coordinate the production of legal knowledge.
2008. Bruce-Jones, E. (with Joy Chia und Marta Kuklo), "Next Step Forward: The Development of Clinical Legal Education in Poland through a Clinical Pilot Program in Białystok," in 2(1) Columbia Journal of East European Law, 56–93.
Abstract: This article, by way of comparative analysis of clinical legal programs in the United States and several European countries, examines the prospect of expanding the concept of clinical legal education in Poland.
2008. Bruce-Jones, E. "Race, Space, and the Nation State: Racial Recognition and the Prospects of Substantive Equality under Anti-Discrimination Law in France and Germany," in 39(2) Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 423– 470.
Abstract: Conventional knowledge in France and Germany would suggest that race does not play a significant role in social stratification and has been dealt with by legal prohibitions on discrimination. This article explores the role of race and anti-discrimination law in France and Germany. In doing so, it highlights the need for racial recognition and challenges dominant ideologies that strategically and systematically write race out of narratives of nationhood. This article argues that the lack of legal protections for non-white people cannot be reconciled with their lived experiences of racism. Anchoring its discussion in the history of colonialism, the article distills two acts of racial violence, exposing whiteness as an organizing principle of race and racism. Ultimately, the piece argues for the social and legal recognition of race as a meaningful category in France and Germany.
2018. Bruce-Jones, E. "Refugee Law in Crisis: Decolonizing the Architecture of Violence," in Mary Bosworth et. al. (Eds), Race, Criminal Justice and Migration Control. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 176 - 193.
This chapter reflects on the problematic crossroads in which refugee law finds itself, as a field of law and as a sub-discipline for teaching. The central argument is that refugee law is not designed as a structural solution to the world's violence, but rather as a remedy for a privileged few, and failure to centre the selective nature of refugee law's conception of violence within refugee law teaching risks reinforcing the impoverished framing of violence that the narrow legal category of persecution suggests. The article suggests that this narrow framing of violence within refugee law supports colonial logics of safety and danger, legitimises state logics of security and stabilises state-building discourses of human rights.
2017. Bruce-Jones, E. 'Archiving Racial Violence: Some reflections from the UK's Institute of Race Relations,' in Juliane Karakayali et. al., (Eds.), Den NSU-Komplex analysieren: Aktuelle Perspektiven aus der Wissenschaft. Transcript Verlag: Bielefeld.
Excerpt: What does creating a public record of racial violence, particularly state violence, have to do with actually combating racism? Quite a lot, actually. Recording and cataloguing instances of racial violence is a part of the creation of the historical record, a central feature of archiving work. This is particularly important in places in which the discussion on racism has not fully articulated the institutional, structural, and systemic forms of racism that exist in society. If the curatorial propensity of any archive is to reflect the questions, concerns and knowledge practices of the curator, then by logical extension we can regard the archive as a practice of positioning, affirming and interrogating aspects of the world in which we live. For many of us in Europe, that means a social environment in which describing racism as institutional, structural or systemic entails a tense battle with governmental policy, public debates and, on a basic level, language. Intense engagement with the NSU case in the present moment in Germany is crucial, as the case provides a unique and timely opportunity for profound social reflection on institutional and structural forms of racism.
It is difficult to conceive of a singular archive of racial violence for any place. Indeed it is not self-explanatory to describe what an archive of racial violence might entail, in general terms. However, for various reasons, one thing is clear: being able to identify patterns of racial violence is paramount if that violence is to be analysed and combatted. An archive, then, is not for the purpose of relegating events to the realm of the past, but rather for establishing traction for ongoing struggle. This short reflection aims to describe some aspects of archiving racial violence in the UK and, in the process, to unpack some of the differences between the UK and German contexts.
2017. Bruce-Jones, E. 'Policing Race in Europe: Law and Protest' in Adem Soezueer, Ed., 5th International Crime and Punishment Film Festival Academic Papers Collection. Onikilevha, Istanbul, Turkey.
This is a short synthesis of cases of police brutality from the UK and German context, framed as 'policing race,' which is meant to recognise the difficulties in discussing racial discrimination in a context where the terms of race are both context-dependent and, in some cases, socially taboo. The short reflection is also about policing, or limiting, the extent to which we can discuss institutional forms of discrimination.
2007. Bruce-Jones, E. 'Surviving September 11th or Snapshots in the Dark?: A Critical Consideration of Two Professional Photographs as Portraits of Denial', in Picturing America: Trauma, Realism, Politics and Identity in American Visual Culture. American Studies Conference Series. Peter Lang: Hamburg.
Abstract: Photographs, film footage, and other forms of documenting historical events help enable us not only to position history in our present but also to rearticulate historical narratives, imbibing them with new meaning. The tragedy of September 11th, the most documented historical event in American history1, has repositioned American identity within a number of conflicting discourses and narratives. It is the conflicts among these discourses and narratives that enrich our understandings of American history and identity, as they articulate a power imbalance and an otherwise silenced perspective on the American ideals that regularly assume the central discourse on American identity. The framing of September 11th in images, much like the framing of September 11th as a discursive narrative, was and continues to be a conscious, interpretive portrayal of events and not just a scientific documentation of facts. It is our task as historians, social scientists, journalists, and scholars to view these documents critically, to offer new insights as to how images related to the events might be used to reflect the past and to reconstruct current discourses as particularly American
2017. Bruce-Jones, E. Review of Karla F. C. Holloway, Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing Literature (Duke). Law & Literature 29(1).
2016. Bruce-Jones, E. Review of Nissa Finney and Gemma Catney (eds), Minority Internal Migration in Europe. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, 30(2), 185-187.
2014. Bruce-Jones, E. Review of Satvinder Juss and Colin Harvey, Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law. King’s Law Journal 25(1), Hart Publishing, Oxford, UK, 125–129.
2007. Bruce-Jones, E. Review of Alex Buchwald, Der Fall Tadic vor dem Internationalen Jugoslawientribunal im Lichte der Entscheidung der Berufungskammer vom 2. Oktober 1995 (2005). Austrian Review of International and European Law, Brill Academic Publishers: Leiden, The Netherlands.