In the early 1990s, when organizations representing the 2.6
million U.S. nationals living abroad appealed to Congress for their
own non-voting representative, the response of one Senator was to
dismiss these "moans of the mink-swathed Americans abroad."
However, the image of a life of luxury abroad is usually a harsher
reality complicated by income taxes, military duty, and legal
jurisdiction. What exactly is the obligation of a state toward
citizens who live outside its borders?
Bargaining with the State from Afar traces the
relationship between the United States federal government and
sojourning Americans living in the colonial enclaves of pre-World
War II China. This group of Americans was not subject to Chinese
law, but rather to an amalgam of laws borrowed from the District of
Columbia and other territorial codes, as well as to local
ordinances enacted by foreigners themselves. Scully explores U.S.
government efforts to police this anomalous zone in the American
policy and places the struggle between federal officials and
sojourning U.S. nationals in the larger context of changing
international law and modern citizenship regimes.
She argues that the American experience with extraterritorial
justice in China offers an important new vantage point from which
to examine a singular area in the history of modern states. This
case study of U.S. consular jurisdiction reveals the legal,
political, and cultural process through which modern states have
struggled to govern citizens outside their borders. Scully's
examination of the U. S. Court for China is one of the first
serious analysis of this anomalous institution.
Subjects: Political Science, History, Law
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