Grounds of Judgment
Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan
Oxford University Press 2012
Extraterritoriality was not grafted whole onto East Asian societies: it developed over time and in a relationship with local precedents, institutions, and understandings of power. Grounds of Judgment: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan (Oxford University Press, 2012) uses a trans-regional and transnational focus to explore the history of extraterritoriality and the treaty port system in nineteenth century societies. Eschewing the kinds of teleological narratives that privilege current nation states, Par Cassel locates late Qing, Tokugawa, and Meiji debates in a deep history of legal pluralism, notions of “foreign” identity, and inter-ethnic relations. Cassel uses an impressive range of press accounts, legal texts, and other sources to unfold the ways that the very different trajectories of extraterritoriality in China and Japan had very different consequences for the two countries. Cassel’s book ranges across some fascinating case studies from the histories of opium, counterfeiting, and the police. In addition to being required reading for anyone working in the history of modern China or Japan, Grounds of Judgment is also of special note to readers interested in the ways that language, dialect, and translation have shaped modern history, legal reform, and international relations. Enjoy!