Dispossession: An American Property Law Tradition

62 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2022 Last revised: 13 Jan 2022

See all articles by Sherally Munshi

Sherally Munshi

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: January 1, 2022


Universities and law schools have begun to purge the symbols of conquest and slavery from their crests and campuses, but they have yet to come to terms with their role in reproducing the material and ideological conditions of settler colonialism and racial capitalism. This Article considers the role the property law tradition has played in shaping and legitimizing regimes of racialized dispossession past and present. It intervenes in the traditional presentation of property law by arguing that dispossession describes an ongoing but disavowed function of property law. As a counter-narrative and critique of property, dispossession is a useful concept for challenging existing property arrangements, often rationalized within liberal and legal discourse.

Keywords: property law, race, empire, settler colonialism, dispossession, segregation, appropriation, reparations

Suggested Citation

Munshi, Sherally, Dispossession: An American Property Law Tradition (January 1, 2022). Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 110, No. 2, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4005680

Sherally Munshi (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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