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Research interests

Dr Haldar specialises in colonial history and post-colonial theory.

He recently published a monograph entitled Law, Orientalism and Postcolonialism: The Jurisdiction of the Lotus-Eaters. In general synoptic terms, the book assesses the effect of orientalism on the construction of colonial legality, and vice-versa. Attention is paid to the way in which orientalist writings from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries were obsessed with the image of despotism as a symptom of excess enjoyment. Travel writing from this period laid out a sort of template according to which later philosophers and jurists were able to differentiate between despotic and non-despotic forms of decision making. Subsequent chapters in the book examine the manner in which British lawyers in eighteenth century India attempted to make use of oriental and despotic ideas of justice in calculating a legal system specifically tailored to suit the needs of the East India Company. A concluding chapter argues that these obsessions with oriental leadership skills did not dissolve when the utilitarians attempted to reform the Indian legal system during the later part of the nineteenth century.

His PhD thesis was on the law of Evidence and Aesthetics, entitled Testimony and the Law of Evidence and the Aesthetics of Courtroom Architecture. Previous research topics have also included the history of rhetoric and court room architecture.

Piyel is one of the managing editors of Law and Critique (Springerlink).