Joseph R. Slaughter

London Review of International Law, June 2019


International law is a creole without native speakers, produced at interfaces among distinct languages (often in colonial contact zones), not reducible to its participating tongues. Its figurations of sovereignty and personhood may not obey ordinary grammatical rules. Unruly personifications in Amos Tutuola’s Palm-wine Drinkard, colonial charter company treaties, and legal theory, highlight some pitfalls of confusing legal fictions for social facts.

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