September 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.- In his new book, The Jurisprudence of Emergency ($59.50, 192 pp., University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2003), Nasser Hussain analyzes the historical uses of a host of emergency powers, ranging from the suspension of habeas corpus to the use of military tribunals. Hussain is an assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College.
Focusing on the relationship between "emergency" and the law to develop a subtle new theory of those moments in which the normative rule of law is suspended, Hussain begins by examining British colonial rule in India from the late 18th to the early 20th century. He argues that the interaction of competing ideologies-liberty and government by law versus the colonizer's insistence on a regime of conquest-exemplifies a conflict central to all Western legal systems: between the universal, rational operation of law on the one hand and the absolute sovereignty of the state on the other. In this new light, the colonies could be seen as influential agents in the interpretation and delineation of Western ideas and practices.
Hussain graduated from Yale University and has both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Before coming to Amherst, he was a fellow with the Harvard University Society of Fellows.