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CSAS Conference - Property and Being Under Colonial Conditions in Asia and Africa

  • Date Fri May 13 2022 - Sat May 14 2022
  • Venue
    1014 Tisch Hall
    University of Michigan, 500 Church St. Ste. 400, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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  • Description
    Property and Being Under Colonial Conditions in Asia and Africa
     May 13-14
    1014 Tisch Hall

    Historians have long proposed that property is as much about relationships between people as it is about the ownership of “things.” It is about both belonging, and belongings. Property offers a window onto contestations over power, social relations, resources, identity and political imagination. Histories of property in Asia and Africa, in particular, are intertwined with histories of colonial expansion, the emergence of new forms of state power, the creation of new categories/taxonomies of governance, the appropriation of indigenous lands, the reordering of social relations, and new or reworked imaginaries of property

    The purpose of this interdisciplinary conference, “Property and Being under Colonial Conditions in Asia and Africa,” is to explore how comparing intellectual, cultural, social, political-economic, and legal histories of property from African and Asian colonial contexts may help us rethink ideas about land, ownership, dispossession, rights, credit, subjectivities, and political imaginations. Participants will engage with the historically sedimented entanglements of colonial policy and indigenous practices, developmentalist desires, and cultural and climatic change. Conversations across these regions may thus enable new understandings of property histories.

    This conference is being sponsored by the Eisenberg Institute, the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, and the Center for South Asian Studies.

    Friday, May 13

    9:30 Welcome 
    Meenu Deswal and Tara Weinberg, University of Michigan

    9:45 Panel I: Racial Logics of Property
    Commentator: Brian Klein
    Xafsa Ciise (University of California, Santa Cruz), “Species Extinction and Terrorism: The Political Economy of Conservation Wars in Africa”
    Claire Cororaton (Cornell University), “On Property and the Philippine Democratic Experiment: Mateo Cariño’s Case and its Afterlives in Philippine History”
    Sajdeep Soomal (University of Toronto), “Fatty Bitumen in Punjab”

    13:00 Panel II: Of Collective Property, Communities, and Claim-Making 
    Commentator: Jatin Dua

    Amelia Burke (University of Michigan), “Titles, Rights and Shares: Individual Inheritance and Collective Lands in Colonial Morocco” 
    Dipanjan Mazumder (Vanderbilt University), “A sacred history of property: Vernacular legal culture in early modern Bengal” 
    Sauda Nabukenya (University of Michigan), “Struggles and strategies of the landless: contesting possession, and the framing of legal regimes in Buganda”
    Tara Weinberg (University of Michigan), “Imaginaries of collective property ownership in South Africa: a history of land buying syndicates in the early 20th century”

    15:15 Keynotes and Reflections on Day 1:
    Rohit De and Nafisa Essop Sheik

    Saturday, May 14

    10:00 Panel III: Property, Contracts, and Being 
    Commentator: Sanne Ravensbergen 

    Fusheng Luo (University of Michigan), “A Tale of Two Settlements: The Formation of the Treaty Port Property Regimes in the British Settlements in Shanghai and Guangzhou”
    Halimat Somotan (Carnegie Mellon University), “Property Owners, Renters, and Claims to Public Amenities in Colonial Lagos”
    Lamin Manneh (University of Michigan), “‘Their reckless and dissipating husbands’: Property, marriage, and intercolonial trade in the British West African Settlements 1860-1888”
    Meenu Deswal (University of Michigan), “Consent and the Question of Women as Property in Colonial Law, South Asia 1850-1920”

    12:15 Reflections on Day 2 and Conference Closing


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