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21 Cardozo L. Rev. 1183 (1999-2000)
Constitutionalism as a Site of State Formative Practices

handle is hein.journals/cdozo21 and id is 1197 raw text is: CONSTITUTIONALISM AS A SITE OF STATE
Upendra Baxi*
I must, at the outset, express my appreciation to Professors
Norman Dorsen, Louis Henkin, and Michel Rosenfeld for the
honor of inviting me to this Roundtable. Commenting on the
extraordinarily rich and fascinating papers of Professors Kenneth
Karst and Yash Ghai enhances this honor.        Together, they
articulate achievements as well as crises of constitutionalism at the
end of the second Christian millennium. Both have as their
principal   theme     the   troubled    relationship   between
constitutionalism and state formative practices. Professor Karst
explores this relationship in terms of the constitutional survival of
American    nationhood.   Professor  Ghai   addresses   issues
concerning constitutional progression and regression in terms of a
discourse of human rights in the context of contemporary
globalization. Karst and Ghai bring a rich, and often astonishing,
array of insights through incredibly diverse circumstances and
conjunctures of governance, rights, and justice.
Although the practice of intellectual modesty is a forbidden
postmodern virtue, I must state at the outset my inability to do
justice to the richness of either presentation. Belonging to an
adolescent generation of Midnight's Children that made Salman
Rushdie an overnight celebrity, and having been shaped at
Berkeley (though at Boalt Hall) during the height of the anti-
Vietnam protests, I encounter these presentations in the context of
many a postmodern nightmare. The very phrase-regimes of
nation building, identity, and human rights appear deeply
problematic. I am not grounded in the discipline known as
American Civilization. Therefore, I am at a considerable
* Professor of Law, University of Warwick; Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi
(1990-1994) and South Gujarat (1982-1985); Visiting Professor, Global Law Program, New
York University (1966-1999). Professor Baxi's major contributions, and concerns, stand
directed to development of social theory of human rights and to the effective uses of law
by subaltern groups, a site already captured by special or dominant interests.


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