Gregory Duff Morton

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, City College, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-874

Approve Date

October 8, 2021

Project Title

Morton, Gregory (New York, City College, City U. of) "Demarcation: The Making of Property’s Subjects and Objects"

This workshop aims to advance anthropological theories of property through an analysis of demarcation. To demarcate is to draw the lines that make property possible. Land surveying is a classic example of demarcation, but demarcation is about more than land. Entities ranging from airwaves to genes can become property once they are delimited and defined as discrete objects. Owners, too, require demarcation: a corporation, lineage, or club must be bounded in order to serve as the owner of an object. At a two-day workshop at Bard College, participants inquire into processes of demarcation that operate to produce particular subjects and objects ‘ and with them racial, environmental, and political imaginaries ‘ that shape the contradictory politics of the moment. This is a time in which the lines that create and divide people, land, oceans, inheritances, and finances are being radically tested and contested. Anthropologists can explore the differential marking of objects and subjects, thus opening up property as a broad set of relations that extend beyond property’s colonial, capitalist, and individualist iterations. Through discussions of their papers, workshop participants consider how these processes of marking (and de-marking) can change the way we theorize property relations.