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Research Interests

Stewart is currently working on a monograph, Archiving Sovereignty (forthcoming with Michigan University Press). This book arises out of research into how law functions as an archive of sovereign violence. The book also offers an elaboration of the ‘as if’ (the consciously false, or fiction) at the heart of modern law. Reworking the notion of the ‘archive’, the book addresses the sovereign event in Australia, South Africa, and the Indian Ocean region as a problem of law’s capacity to retain and disavow sovereign violence at the same time. This memorial function of law is elaborated through juridical case studies, and literary and other artistic works.

The second major project concerns the Indian Ocean as a juridical and political space of sovereign violence. The research is focused on the Chagos Archipelago, other islands of the Indian Ocean, and Australia’s migration excision zones. Drawing on case law as well as literary fiction, this work builds on Walter Benjamin’s writings on the ‘dialectical image’ to examine how the archaic and immemorial conditions the present.