A Search for Sovereignty

By Lauren Benton,

Book cover of A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900

Book description

A Search for Sovereignty approaches world history by examining the relation of law and geography in European empires between 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial space as networks of corridors and enclaves, and that they constructed sovereignty in ways that merged ideas about geography and law.…

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Why read it?

1 author picked A Search for Sovereignty as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book uses seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century piracy as one of its case studies to make innovative arguments about global history. Through a discussion of piracy, Benton seeks to transform our understanding of the significance of oceanic space. Though empires might assert control over territories and their inhabitants, in fact, their jurisdiction, or sovereignty, was uneven – thinner in some places than others, and only realized in fits and starts.


For Benton, the spatial figure of the corridor as a conduit for law and jurisdiction is vital to understanding the geography and movement of early modern imperial power.…

From Claire's list on pirates in the age of sail.

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