Racial Regimes of Property III: (RE)MAKING

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Black Geographies Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Washington 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Organizers: Malini Ranganathan, Anne Bonds
Chairs: Malini Ranganathan


Property plays a constitutive role in the making and maintenance of racial difference. Not only was modern property law a vehicle for appropriating land and resources under colonial rule, but it was also central to understandings of modernity, the formation of proper economic subjects with legal and political standing, and liberal rationales surrounding whose lives mattered and whose lives did not. Such subjectification was and is deeply racialized and gendered. Regimes of ownership depend on historical and renewed modes of intersectional differentiation in which people and places are ordered along hierarchies of value and accumulation. Scholarship on the global North has brought to light new policy discourses, financial technologies, and state actors involved in the cordoning of public lands for private uses, or, conversely, in the repurposing of privately owned land for the commons in ways that rehearse white supremacist and settler-colonial logics. Meanwhile, scholarship on the global South has focused on the ethno-racial, religious, and other cultural stigmatizations invoked in policy scripts to justify--in often violent ways-- land grabs on slum and agricultural land to the benefit of the elite and transnational capital. Across the North and South, property-making articulates in historically and geographically contingent ways, but also broadly suggests ongoing relations of coloniality in late capitalism. Oppositional movements to “take back” or redistribute land and property both disrupt hegemonic notions of ownership, but can also call forth liberal ideas of possession and propriety.

In this AAG paper session, we seek to bring together research on “racial regimes of property,” a term we borrow from critical legal scholar Brenna Bhandar’s (2018) Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership to signal the coproduction of property and racial inequality. We seek papers that are empirically detailed, while also rooted in critical-theoretical approaches to property, liberalism, empire, and race. Some questions that motivate this paper session include:

How are property-making and race-making co-produced across space and time and how do they intersect with other forms of difference, including gender and sexuality? Through what technologies and discourses of rule?
How have liberalism and empire reinforced illiberal and racial regimes of property, while also providing the grounds to contest and reorder existing spatial hierarchies?
How can we think of property-making as relational, negotiated, and unfinished even in the global North?
How are tenuous property regimes in the global South harnessed for capitalist accumulation?
How do modern forms of property and race co-evolve through the dialectics of possession and struggle?
How might theorizing racial regimes of ownership across historical junctures and across North-South geographies unsettle dominant temporalities and geographies?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Erin Collins*, American University, Recombinant Racial Property Regimes in and after French Indochina 18 1:10 PM
Presenter Kelsey Brain*, Pennsylvania State University, Global Amenity Migration and Racialized Dispossession on Costa Rica’s Talamanca Coast 18 1:28 PM
Presenter Lindsey Dillon*, University of California - Santa Cruz, Civilizing Swamps in San Francisco 18 1:46 PM
Presenter Sarah Franzen*, , A Place Called Home: Land, Rights, and Resistance in the US South 18 2:04 PM
Discussant Austin Zeiderman London School of Economics 15 2:22 PM

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