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Teemu Ruskola has written a provocative book on legal orientalism, a subject that he conceptualizes and explores with originality and sophistication. His book makes an important contribution to multiple fields. On the one hand, it is a historical analysis that illuminates important aspects of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century world history. On the other, this book is urgently contemporary, speaking to interest in legal studies and the social sciences about the place of law and legal reform in present-day China.
Ruskola has written a work that stretches across time, place and legal jurisdiction; Legal Orientalism shows a scholarly mind for detail, combined with a rare degree of expansiveness and reach. A remarkable book.
This breakthrough book places the legal study of China's relationship to the West, and vice versa, on a new and deep foundation. It deserves serious attention from any thoughtful student of comparative law.
Extraterritoriality was the exception until it became the norm—an anomaly of jurisdiction that set the precedent for other practices including extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, offshore prisons, and drone attacks. A history of conceptual makeshifts, illocutionary effects, and massive legal fictions, Legal Orientalism, painstakingly researched, humorous, and dispassionate, uniquely accounts for the ambiguous place of China in the institutions of modernity.