Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

The Creation and Transformation of Legal Regimes

The Creation and Transformation of Legal Regimes

Summer Institute for Community College Instructors

June 2 - 3, 2023

Over the past five centuries, expanding imperial ventures, human migrations, and emerging technologies created challenges to governance. As increasing numbers of merchants and soldiers, bureaucrats and laborers traveled the world, what systems of rules governed their behaviors? To what extent did the legal regimes of their home governments constrain or direct their individual activities as well as their interactions with others? What happened when the movement of people around the globe brought two legal regimes into contact with one another?

The answers to these questions are at the intersection of broad political policies and day-to-day life. In court cases and administrative decisions, we see lawyers and bureaucrats differentiating between trade and smuggling, labor contracts and enslavement, taxation and theft, ruler and ruled. As states, communities, and individuals negotiated individual cases, they transformed local governance practices into legal regimes that spanned the world.

This ORIAS summer institute will focus on the emergence and transformation of global legal regimes from the late 18th century to the present. Through the lens of crime and punishment, participants will learn about the historical processes through which legal regimes have been created, reinforced, negotiated, and expanded. We will also explore the role of global legal regimes in modern international issues like human rights, disaster relief, migration, and climate change.

This ORIAS Summer Institute is intended for instructors of modern world history and global studies, as well as macroeconomics, international relations, and political science. It is open to community college instructors and (space permitting) high school teachers of AP history-social science courses.

This FREE program will take place in person and lunch will be provided. Space is limited to 22 people on a first-come, first-served basis.


Friday, June 2

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Breakfast and check-in

9:00 - 9:15 AM

Program Introduction

Alan Karras & Shane Carter

9:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Introduction to Legal Regimes

Richard Buxbaum

12:15 - 1:00 PM


1:00 - 4:00 PM

Commercial Relations in an Entangled Greater Caribbean World: Eighteenth-century Transformations

Ernesto Bassi

Often characterized as a crossroads of empire, the Caribbean became transimperial from the first non-Spanish Europeans touched ground on one of its islands. Though deemed illegal by European authorities, commercial exchanges between rival European subjects were a fundamental lifeline for Caribbean inhabitants during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The eighteenth century witnessed a series of legal transformations that resulted in an intensification of commercial exchanges among European rivals in the Caribbean, redefining the meaning of contraband as European powers moved to increasingly favoring a more open trade. Using examples of specific lines of trade (e.g. clothing, enslaved Africans, and brazilwood) I will show some of the most fundamental transformation in commercial legislation that enabled the Greater Caribbean to emerge as one of the most dynamic global zones of transimperial trade.

Saturday, June 3

8:30 - 9:15 AM

Breakfast and check-in

9:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Legal networks of empire and spectrums of forced migration

Kerry Ward

How were large scale global patterns of trans-oceanic forced migration created and sustained in the era of European global empires from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries? These population flows were based on creating legal categories of people that determined their status in the laws governing colonial regimes. Colonial formation mostly involved the recognition and incorporation of indigenous social, religious, ethnic, and legal identities and hierarchies. These could be radically altered in the process of migration as individuals became legally categorized as "colonist", "soldier", "slave", "convict", "contract laborer", or "exile". Migration involved a spectrum from voluntary to involuntary. Forced migration involved not only slavery but penal transportation and political exile. The end of legal slavery and slave trading fostered other forms of migration which blurred the boundaries between free and forced. Our world is still shaped by these historical population movements that resonate in legal claims for recognition, and in some cases, reparations and rights to repatriation.

Arab Jews, Arab States, and the Question of Reparations

Emily Gottreich

This talk will zoom in on a particularly complicated case of reparations: that of Middle Eastern and North African Jews who emigrated from their countries of origin en masse in the mid-20th century, as empires gave way to nation states. What happened to the assets Jews were forced to leave behind in places like Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Algeria, as new governments took power that were either unwilling or unable to protect their minority populations? Who today has the right to speak for Arab Jews and claim their losses? We will consider these questions against the backdrop of an even bigger issue: who "counts" as a refugee in the ongoing discursive war between Israelis and Palestinians?

12:15 - 1:00 PM


1:00 - 4:00 PM

The Afterlives of Empire: Indigeneity, Conservation, and Capitalism in the Philippines

Noah Theriault

After the fall of the first Marcos regime in 1986, the Philippines became the first country in Asia to codify indigenous rights. This hard-fought reform aimed to protect the ancestral lands of the archipelago’s remaining indigenous groups. Since then, however, these groups have become increasingly embroiled in resource politics, and many have found that claiming their rights does as much to facilitate their dispossession as to prevent it. In this seminar, we will examine how these developments have unfolded on Palawan, an island in the far southwestern Philippines. With examples drawn from ethnographic research, we will see how bureaucrats, investors, and conservationists impose their own designs on indigenous rights as they vie for land, labor, and legitimacy. But we will also see how their designs collide with the dreams–both figurative and literal–of indigenous persons themselves. Rather than an all-or-nothing force of domination or resistance, the recognition of Indigenous rights turns out to be a paradox – at once a tool of neocolonial rule and a catalyst for everyday encounters that challenge it.

When & Where

Where: The Institute will be held in person at the ORIAS office at 1995 University Ave, Suite 510, in downtown Berkeley. 

When: See the agenda to the left for daily schedule information. If you're attending in person, please arrive during the breakfast and check-in period or at breaks.

Registration: Use this registration link to register to attend online or in-person.

Accessibility: If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Shane Carter at with as much advance notice as possible.

Transit & Parking: ORIAS is located close to several AC Transit bus lines and only three blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. If at all possible, it is recommended that you take public transit. If you drive, you can learn about parking options here.


Preparatory reading for this program includes:

"A Global History of Exile in Asia" by Clare Anderson, from Exile in Colonial Asia: Kings, Convicts, Commemoration, ed. Ronit Ricci

"Justice for Jews from Arab Countries and the Rebranding of the Jewish Refugee" by Shayna Zamkanei, from International Journal of Middle East Studies

"Enabling, Implementing, Experiencing Entanglement: Empires, Sailors, and Coastal Peoples in the British-Spanish Caribbean" by Ernesto Bassi, from Entangled Empires: The Anglo-Iberian Atlantic, 1500-1830ed. Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra

"Neither aSpanishNorU.S. LakeThe Caribbean,A Region inIts Own Right" by Ernesto Bassi, from The American Historian

"Networks of Empire and Imperial Sovereignty" from Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company, by Kerry Ward

Additional suggested resources include:

"China’s draft regulations on generative AI, with Kendra Schaefer and Jeremy Daum" from Sinica Podcast (The China Project)

"The Ballad of Deepfake Drake" from The Daily (New York Times podcast)

"Who is a Refugee?" from No Refuge : Ethics and the Global Refugee Crisis by Serena Parekh