Samera Esmeir

Department: Rhetoric

My research and teaching are at the intersection of legal and political thought, Middle Eastern history and colonial and post-colonial studies. One ongoing intellectual focus has been to examine how late-modern colonialism has introduced liberal juridical logics and grammars that in turn shaped modalities of political praxis, and how those have persisted in the post-colonial era and have traveled in different countries in the Middle East. My first book, Juridical Humanity: A Colonial History (Stanford University Press, 2012), pursues this problem in relation to colonial Egypt and examines how colonial juridical powers have reconfigured the concept of the human during the late-modern colonial era by bonding the human to the law. I am currently working on a second book project also guided by the intersectionality of law and politics. Titled The Struggle that Remains, this book in progress tracks the modern entry of the word international into the English language, theorizes its emergence as a contending signifier of the world (in legal and political discourse), explores its reconfiguration of horizons of struggle, in particular in how it has contributed to shifting the relationship between war and revolution, and probes the struggle that remains in excess. I also have ongoing interest in questions of destruction, natural, legal, and political. I have been pursuing these questions in preparation for a project on natural catastrophes and colonial annihilation.