Fundamental rights as an aperture to the past: Dialogues between Ronald Dworkin and the post-colonial theory

The paper seeks an approximation between constitutional theory and postcolonial thought. It pursues elements for a legal hermeneutics that deals with the permanence of colonial violence. Fundamental rights in modernity are pictured, from Ronald Dworkin’s theory, as the gateway to morality and, consequently, to history within the legal system. The consequences of this relation between morality and law for the constitutional hermeneutics are debated. Second, the postcolonial is defined, as well as what contributions it can offer to displace the hegemonic narratives about modernity. Postcolonial and constitutionalism are then collated in the sense of providing elements for an expanded and more democratic moral imagination of fundamental rights. Going back to Dworkin, the conclusion addresses what kind of moral responsibility we have in writing the legal novel when unjust suffering and silenced struggles for freedom and equality are raised at the center of constitutional history.