The State of Sovereignty

The State of Sovereignty

Territories, Laws, Populations
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/10/2008
Format: Paperback 3 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-22016-5
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The State of Sovereignty examines how it came to pass that the nation-state became the prevailing form of governance in the world today. Spanning the 19th and 20th centuries and addressing colonization and decolonization around the globe, these essays argue that sovereignty is a set of historically contingent practices, and not something that accrues naturally to states. The contributors explore the different ways in which sovereign political forms have been defined and have defined themselves, placing recent debates about nations and national identity within a broader history of sovereignty, territory, and legality.

Author Bio

Douglas Howland is the David D. Buck Professor of Chinese History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Luise White is Professor of History at the University of Florida.


The multidisciplinary character of the contributions reinforces the focus of the work . . . that sovereignty is socially constructed and that it changes with time and place. . . . [N]early unique in presenting the different operationalizations of sovereignty while avoiding the superficiality of other attempts to do so.

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Sovereignty and the Study of States Douglas Howland and Luise White
2. Sovereignty on the Isthmus: Federalism, U.S. Empire, and the Struggle for Panama during the California Gold Rush Aims McGuinness
3. The Foreign and the Sovereign: Extraterritoriality in East Asia Douglas Howland
4. Wilsonian Sovereignty in the Middle East: The King-Crane Commission Report of 1919 Leonard V. Smith
5. Colonial Sovereignty in Manchuria and Manchukuo David Tucker
6. Alternatives to Empire: France and Africa after World War II Frederick Cooper
7. The Ambiguities of Sovereignty: The United States and the Global Human Rights Cases of the 1940s and 1950s Mark Philip Bradley
8. What Does It Take to Be a State? Sovereignty and Sanctions in Rhodesia, 1965<N>1980 Luise White
9. Legal Fictions after Empire John D. Kelly and Martha Kaplan
10. Sovereignty after Socialism at Europe's New Borders Keith Brown
11. Environmental Security, Spatial Preservation, and State Sovereignty in Central Africa Kevin C. Dunn
12. The Paradox of Sovereignty in the Balkans Aida A. Hozic
13. The Secret Lives of the "Sovereign": Rethinking Sovereignty as International Morality Siba N. Grovogui

List of Contributors

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