Book launch and talk
Brenna Bhandar, Rafeef Ziadah
Colonial Lives of Property:
Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership

Lumiar Cité

Book launch and talk Brenna Bhandar, Rafeef Ziadah Colonial Lives of Property:  Law, Land, and Racial Regimes of Ownership

To think about distant places, to colonize them, to populate or depopulate them: all this occurs on, about, or because of land. The actual geographical possession of land is what empire in the final analysis is all about. At the moment when a coincidence occurs between real control and power, the idea of what a given place was (could be, might become), and an actual place — at that moment the struggle for empire is launched. This coincidence is the logic both for Westerners taking possession of land and, during decolonization, for resisting natives reclaiming it.
— Edward Said, “Culture and Imperialism” (1993)

In her powerful and timely new book, Brenna Bhandar traces connections among the colonial seizure of land, the racialization of indigenous inhabitants, and the settler colonial hierarchies in what she calls “racial regimes of ownership.” Forged in the colonial period, the insidious connections between property, ownership, citizen-status, and race now permeate both former and current colonies and their metropoles. By tracing contemporary property laws back to their colonial origins, Bhandar argues for their centrality in current anti-racist and de-colonial struggles across the globe. She examines the “shared logics of racial subjectivity and private property ownership that have been central to the development of racial capitalism” in studies ranging across Palestine, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

Brenna Bhandar is Senior Lecturer in Law at SOAS, University of London. She is co-editor of ‘Plastic Materialities: Politics, Legality, and Metamorphosis in the Work of Catherine Malabou’ (DUP: 2015, with Jon Goldberg-Hiller) and ‘Reflections on Dispossession: Critical Feminisms’ (Darkmatter Journal, 2016, with Davina Bhandar).

Rafeef Ziadah is Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East at SOAS, University of London. Prior to this she was Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the SOAS Politics and International Studies department with the ‘Military Mobilities and Mobilising Movements in the Middle East’ project. Her research interests include political economy, contentious politics, labour movements and the politics of humanitarianism, with a particular focus on the Middle East.


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