“Classical and Post-Conflict Federalism: Implications for Asia” in T. Ginsburg and R. Dixon, eds., Research Handbook on Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014) 163-199.


For most of the twentieth century, the study of federalism was oriented around a standard set of cases in the developed world: Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America. These cases provided the raw material for certain fundamental questions: What is federalism? Why should federations be adopted? What role is there for courts? Recent developments in the practice of constitutional design have challenged this consensus. Many states in the developing world, such as Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria and Sudan, have adopted federal solutions to manage ethnic conflict, often as part of a broader package of post-conflict constitutional reforms. These global debates are highly relevant to Asia. This chapter bring those debates to bear on Asia, and draws on an earlier contribution that explored these issues on a global canvas (Choudhry and Hume 2011).