As part of the Special Issue, this article adopts a methodological orientation that works through and with international law’s cultural legal archive. It focuses on one colonial literary artifact that shows the historical tension between colonization and revolution and examines the traces of those constitutive relations in the present. The artifact in question is an intriguing literary excursion by a British colonial-era judge in Palestine entitled Palestine Parodies. It mocks the legal life of Mandate Palestine through the use of comics, puns, and riddles. This raises a number of provocative themes relating to Mandate law, revolution, humor, and humiliation. The article reads this artifact against the history of the Arab revolt in Palestine, which lasted for three years (1936–1939) and was violently crushed by the British forces. It engages in a detailed exegesis of a number of images drawn from this document, arguing that closely parsing these “humorous” illustrations and drawings from a different era assembles and curates two competing stories. One story is about how colonial legal structures, manifested in the form of the comedic, collided with a second story that narrates the history of struggle, refusal, and revolt. Through curating competing images, jokes, and stories, this visual and literary tension in the analysis gazes upon history to recall and rekindle revolutionary possibilities.
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"The Comic and the Absurd: On Colonial Law in Revolutionary Palestine."
Osgoode Hall Law Journal