Decolonizing Comparative Constitutional Law : Taking Alternative Constitutional Modernities Seriously

Like “philosophy”, constitutional law is a disguised form of area studies that should more adequately be called “Western” or “Euroamerican” constitutional law. Theorizing from the South means theorising alternatives to Western liberal constitutionalism in their own, normative, terms, so as to apprehend Islamic, Buddhist, communitarian or transformative constitutionalisms as equally “valid” types of modern constitutional ordering. This paper calls on comparative law scholars to reflect on alternative constitutional modernities. It is organized in three parts : it first sketches a brief overview of the history of comparative law as a discipline, then critically examines the ongoing deconstruction of “legal orientalism” and finally suggests three areas in which “Global South” modes of constitutional ordering might well offer images of the possible futures of Western constitutionalism.