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European Conquest and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.58 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 323.1
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: K3247 .K43 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Indigenous peoples--Legal status, laws, etc

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521824712 | ISBN-10: 0521824710)

Paul Keal examines the historical role of international law and political theory in justifying the dispossession of indigenous peoples as part of the expansion of international society. He argues that, paradoxically, law and political theory can now underpin the recovery of indigenous rights. At the heart of contemporary struggles is the core right of self-determination, and Keal argues for recognition of indigenous peoples as 'peoples' with the right of self-determination in constitutional and international law, and for adoption of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly. He asks whether the theory of international society can accommodate indigenous peoples and considers the political arrangements needed for states to satisfy indigenous claims. The book also questions the moral legitimacy of international society and examines notions of collective guilt and responsibility.

• An accessible and well researched examination of not just indigenous rights but its relationship to international society • Will attract a broad audience as it brings together work in political theory and international relations • Paul Keal has a strong reputation in this field and this is his major work


Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Bringing 'peoples' into international society; 2. Wild 'men' and other tales; 3. Dispossession and the purposes of international law; 4. Recovering rights: land, self-determination and sovereignty; 5. The political and moral legacy of conquest; 6. Dealing with difference; Conclusion; Appendix; Select bibliography; Index.


'Keal has written an important book that has been long overdue in the study of International Relations. Until now, the concerns of indigenous peoples have been present in the postcolonial literature but largely ignored in IR ( with a few exceptions). No doubt one of the reasons for this is the stupefying tendency to refer to such political movements as 'domestic'. Keal elegantly reveals the hollow basis of this argument.' International Affairs

'… Keal's book will give a good sense of the range of issues involved … clear and concise … an eloquent testimony to the intellectual and political challenges raised by the growing world-wide mobilization of indigenous peoples.' Ethnic and Racial Studies

'European Conquest and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a valuable contribution to a debate that has persisted since Europeans made first contact with alien civilizations. Keal presents his arguments with great clarity. Contemporary Political Theory

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