Land, Dispossession, and Displacement: Topics in Property Law

K-Sue Park

This seminar revisits the foundations of American Property law by examining its precepts and some seminal cases in the contexts of conquest and gentrification. More specifically, it explores the relation between historical processes of commodifying land in the U.S. and the creation of mechanisms for dispossessing and displacing the people who inhabit it. By examining the roots of the Takings Clause in the doctrine of discovery, “development” goals in the labor theory of value, and the practice of foreclosure in the right of possession, it also seeks to help students understand the line of continuity that legal practices and concepts draw between the past and present.

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