(Self-Promotion) New Articles: Ezra Rosser, Destabilizing Property, 48 CONN. L. REV. 397 (2015). Abstract below:
Property theory has entered into uncertain times. Conservative and progressive scholars are, it seems, fiercely contesting everything, from what is at the core of property to what obligations owners owe society. Fundamentally, the debate is about whether property law works. Conservatives believe that property law works. Progressives believe property law could and should work, though it needs to be made more inclusive. While there have been numerous responses to the conservative emphasis on exclusion, this Article begins by addressing a related line of argument, the recent attacks information theorists have made on the bundle of rights conception of property. This Article goes on to make two main contributions to the literature: it gives a new critique of progressive property and, more fundamentally, shows how distribution challenges in property call for a third path forward. Conservative scholarship is scholarship for property, defending traditional views of property against the influence of new realist-inspired deconstruction. Progressive scholarship works with property, showing how doctrine supports expanding property law to reach those who would otherwise be excluded. But missing from this debate is the possibility that, instead of working for or with property, the rise in inequality and the calcification of advantages defined at birth of the current economic and legal environment calls for work against property. Expanding the range of answers to the broad questions being asked of property to include deliberately destabilizing property would add to the academic debate and to the possible policy responses to the emerging threat of oligarchy. Working for, with, and against property are all answers to the question of how to respond to the property crisis of our time, the problem of inequality. This Article seeks to give some content to the neglected against portion of the spectrum.
and Ezra Rosser, The Political Possibilities of Reparations, 1 LAW & SOCIAL INQUIRY FORUM 20 (2015).
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – DEADLINE EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 27 – AALS Section on Property, Junior Scholar Mentoring Session, 2015 AALS Annual Meeting Property Section Breakfast, Jan. 4, 2015.
Random DC in Dec./Jan. Photo.
The AALS Section on Property is pleased to invite junior faculty members to submit an abstract of a current writing project or an abstract outlining a possible paper idea. Authors of selected abstracts will informally present their theses/ideas during a mentoring session to be held as one part of the Section breakfast at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The breakfast will take place at 7:00 am on January 4, 2015, just before the Section’s 8:30 am panel program. More details here: AALS Property Section Junior Scholar Mentoring Session Call for Abstracts with Deadline Extended.
New Book: Bernadette Atuahene, We Want What’s Ours: Learning from South Africa’s Land Restitution Program (2014). Overview below:
Millions of people all over the world have been displaced from their homes and property. Dispossessed individuals and communities often lose more than the physical structures they live in and their material belongings, they are also denied their dignity. These are dignity takings, and land dispossessions occurring in South Africa during colonialism and apartheid are quintessential examples. There have been numerous examples of dignity takings throughout the world, but South Africa stands apart because of its unique remedial efforts. The nation has attempted to move beyond the more common step of providing reparations (compensation for physical losses) to instead facilitating dignity restoration, which is a comprehensive remedy that seeks to restore property while also confronting the underlying dehumanization, infantilization, and political exclusion that enabled the injustice. Dignity restoration is the fusion of reparations with restorative justice. In We Want Whats Ours, Bernadette Atuahenes detailed research and interviews with over one hundred and fifty South Africans who participated in the nations land restitution program provide a snapshot of South Africas successes and failures in achieving dignity restoration.
We Want What’s Ours is globally relevant because dignity takings have happened all around the world and throughout history: the Nazi confiscation of property from Jews during World War II; the Hutu taking of property from Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide; the widespread commandeering of native peoples property across the globe; and Saddam Husseins seizing of property from the Kurds and others in Iraq are but a few examples. When people are deprived of their property and dignity in years to come, the lessons learned in South Africa can help governments, policy makers, scholars, and international institutions make the transition from reparations to the more robust project of dignity restoration.
Self-Promoting Post, My Article is Published =) : Ezra Rosser, The Ambition and Transformative Potential of Progressive Property, 101 California L. Rev. 107 (2013). Link to PDF. Abstract below:
The emerging progressive property school celebrates and finds its meaning in the social nature of property. Rejecting the idea that exclusion lies at the core of property law, progressive property scholars call for a reconsideration of the relationships owners and nonowners have with property and with each other. Despite these ambitions, progressive property scholarship has so far largely confined itself to questions of exclusion and access. This Essay argues that such an emphasis glosses over race-related acquisition and distribution problems that pervade American history and property law. The modest structural changes supported by progressive property scholars fail to account for this racial history and, by so doing, present a limited vision of the changes to property law that progressive scholars should support. Though sympathetic with the political and scholarly orientation of the progressive property school, and with its policy arguments regarding exclusion and access, I argue that the first priority of any transformative project of progressive property must be revisiting acquisition and distribution.
Let me add that the editors were amazing to work with and I sincerely appreciate both their interest in the article and their innumerable great suggestions!