This essay seeks to endorse Tom Ginsburg's call for studies that expand the relatively limited range of historically informed scholarship on constitutional law in Asia. Such a trend will no doubt also broaden the focus of the discipline of contemporary constitutional scholarship, which remains unjustifiably narrow and excludes many regions of the globe. While appreciating the virtues of Ginsburg's broader analysis, the essay also seeks to draw attention to the potential pitfalls of such historically-oriented inquiry. I emphasize the fact that in many Asian societies, contemporary constitutional practice marks radical departures from pre-existing traditions of law and constitutionalism. Drawing upon an example cited by Ginsburg and three others from debates in contemporary Indian constitutionalism, I seek to highlight potential problems with seeking to draw connections between the past and contemporary constitutional practice in Asia. Scholars seeking to follow Ginsburg's call should bear in mind the considerations of methodology and interpretation that this essay highlights.
Arun K. Thiruvengadam,
Excavating Constitutional Antecedents in Asia: An Essay on the Potential and Perils,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol88/iss1/5