by Lee Cabatingan
University of Chicago Press, 2023
Cloth: 978-0-226-82559-5 | eISBN: 978-0-226-82560-1 | Paper: 978-0-226-82561-8
Library of Congress Classification KGL5502.C3C33 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 347.729035

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork at the Caribbean Court of Justice, A Region among States explores the possibility of constituting a region on a geopolitical and ideological terrain dominated by the nation-state.

How is it that a great swath of the independent, English-speaking Caribbean continues to accept the judicial oversight of their former colonizer via the British institution of the Privy Council? And what possibilities might the Caribbean Court of Justice—a judicial institution responsive to the region, not to any single nation—offer for untangling sovereignty and regionhood, law and modernity, and postcolonial Caribbean identity?
Joining the Court as an intern, Lee Cabatingan studied its work up close: she attended each court hearing and numerous staff meetings, served on committees, assisted with the organization of conferences, and helped prepare speeches and presentations for the judges. She now offers insight into not only how the Court positions itself vis-à-vis the Caribbean region and the world but also whether the Court—and, perhaps, the region itself as an overarching construct—might ever achieve a real measure of popular success. In their quest for an accepting, eager constituency, the Court is undertaking a project of extrajudicial region building that borrows from the toolbox of the nation-state. In each chapter, Cabatingan takes us into an analytical dimension familiar from studies of nation and state building—myth, territory, people, language, and brand—to help us understand not only the Court and its ambitions but also the regionalist project, beset as it is with false starts and disappointments, as a potential alternative to the sovereign state.