Swati Srivastava F'16
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2016
Configurations of Sovereignty: Public and Private Authority Negotiations in World Politics
How is sovereignty negotiated between public and private authorities in international politics? How do these power dynamics change over time? This project uses archival data, comparative historical methods, and an interpretive methodology to investigate private actors who deploy international violence, rules, and ideology. It leverages an understanding of public-private sovereign negotiations in the English East India Company from 1650 to 1789 to better situate the contemporary sovereignty challengers of Blackwater, the International Chamber of Commerce, and Amnesty International. The project shows that rather than representing a threat to state sovereignty, private actors create various configurations of sovereignty together with the state, obscuring who counts as public and private in the first place. Such reorientation maps the multi-sited networks of global power and foregrounds privatized action within a broader history of sovereign governance.