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Islands, Guano, and Imperialism
October 9, 2010 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Islands, Guano, and Imperialism: Columbia University Law Professor Christina Duffy Burnett is interviewed in Cabinet Magazine. Via.
posted by Rumple (12 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's a great post. I wonder how much this parallels small islands elsewhere with various countries jousting over ownership, etc.
posted by yeloson at 3:15 PM on October 9, 2010


Indeed. The Guano Islands Act of 1856 arguably laid the legal groundwork for American imperialism.

Indeed.
posted by pracowity at 9:45 PM on October 9, 2010


Thing is, the US Constitution isn't the end-all and be-all. Even if the courts find that the Constitution doesn't apply to insular possessions, there is a raft of international treaties concerning basic rights that apply to any territory under American control, no matter what adorable labels we put on them.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:52 PM on October 9, 2010


1adam12: maybe, but international treaties won't help you in an American court, even if you can get your case heard in one.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:56 PM on October 9, 2010


That's a great post. I wonder how much this parallels small islands elsewhere with various countries jousting over ownership, etc.

Yes, that's a great post with much food for thought. Thanks!

There would seem to be some distinct parallels between this and how Australia dealt with its phosphate islands. Nauru and Christmas Island come to mind.
posted by Ahab at 12:25 AM on October 10, 2010


Yes, I reflexively expected this to be about Nauru too.

Incidentally, I hear that peak phosphate is about to be the next big resource scare after oil. It's agriculturally vital, there's a finite accessible supply, and we keep spreading it on the land and then eventually losing it down the shitter...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:33 AM on October 10, 2010


The Guano Islands Act of 1856 arguably laid the legal groundwork for American imperialism.

And it all then went to guano.
posted by Skeptic at 1:50 AM on October 10, 2010


About that time, [Jefferson] writes a fantastic letter to a friend about all this, and he says, basically, “Well, you know, the less said about the constitutional difficulties here the better.” Which is pretty much contrary to everything he ever said about the Constitution. Oops. That can happen when you become President.
Yes, so it would seem.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:40 AM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fascinating, thanks.
posted by phrontist at 11:03 AM on October 10, 2010


Only 9 comments??? Great post. Relevant and I would think there is a good discussion to be had here given our current adventures. Sooooo.....how about them yanks? Kicked the Twins asses...again.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:43 PM on October 10, 2010


OK. I am delighted to be introduced to Cabinet. Thanks!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:11 AM on October 11, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar - yes, I am afraid I did a poor job framing the post. I should have noted this was not the familiar guano island of Nauru, and that the professor's train of thought leads from Guano to Guantanamo. I think this is a fascinating study of a fringe historical factoid being brought into a contemporary context - history in the finest sense (even in the context of an an interview, and great pictures too). If I got to post it again I would try to plant the hook in Metafilter's mouth a little better.

And yeah, Cabinet Magazine is a sleeping giant - the word needs to get out, its the Best of the Web, for sure.
posted by Rumple at 11:53 AM on October 11, 2010


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