Colonial Lives of Property

Colonial Lives of Property

Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership

Global and Insurgent Legalities

by Brenna Bhandar

Published by: Duke University Press Books

280 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9780822371465
  • Published: May 2018


In Colonial Lives of Property Brenna Bhandar examines how modern property law contributes to the formation of racial subjects in settler colonies and to the development of racial capitalism. Examining both historical cases and ongoing processes of settler colonialism in Canada, Australia, and Israel and Palestine, Bhandar shows how the colonial appropriation of indigenous lands depends upon ideologies of European racial superiority as well as upon legal narratives that equate civilized life with English concepts of property. In this way, property law legitimates and rationalizes settler colonial practices while it racializes those deemed unfit to own property. The solution to these enduring racial and economic inequities, Bhandar demonstrates, requires developing a new political imaginary of property in which freedom is connected to shared practices of use and community rather than individual possession.