The South Asian Legal History Resources site went live in October.
"For the past few years, I had been corresponding with other scholars about finding and using primary sources from colonial India, particularly case law. The same questions were arising again and again, and I was sending people the same informal reference lists that I had put together," Sharafi said.
"I started the website in order to make this information more easily available. Since its launch, I have heard from scholars, from the editors of law journals in Chennai, from undergrads working on term papers at UW-Eau Claire, and from genealogists tracing their family histories in Britain and India."
The site includes a number of research tools, including:
a research guide to using case law from colonial South Asia. The research guide is written for non-lawyers, as many of the scholars conducting research on the history of law in colonial India are not lawyers.
a list of abbreviations used in South Asian case law citation.
a list of published primary sources, including legislation, case digests, law reports, and law journals.
a list of titles held in the library of a colonial solicitor's firm in Bombay, c. 1911.
a list of titles of articles in seven leading colonial law journals from 1891 - 1947. No law journals from colonial India are available as electronic resources; however, this list can help scholars identify relevant materials.
admission register entries of South Asian Law Students at the Inns of Court in London from 1863 - 1947. These registers, most of which are available only in paper form in the U.K., include rich demographic information on several thousand Indian students who came to London to become barristers.
"The field of South Asian legal history is much less developed than its U.S. counterpart. I hope that this website will help scholars tap into what is a real gold mine of primary source materials, almost all of which remain unexamined," Sharafi said.
In the future, I plan to add a database called 'Temple Trials,' which will list cases on religious trusts among colonial India's many ethno-religious communities. My own research has focused upon the Zoroastrian community, but a huge number of these cases existed among other religious groups, too. They are rich in judicial ethnography, yet almost no work has been done on them. The database should provide a useful starting point for anyone interested in studying law and religion in history."
The site is available here.
Submitted by UW Law School News on January 26, 2011
This article appears in the categories: Articles