Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Irvine, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10260
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleCabatingan, Lee (California, Irvine, U. of) "Performing Property Differently: Land, Law, and Lives in Post-Disaster Barbuda"
In the wake of a major disaster, property, as part of the unsettled social landscape, must be reestablished. I propose a project that ethnographically explores how this happens. While most post-disaster research observes the privatization of property through legal mechanisms, this project focuses on the period before this happens, when property is still in the process of being reshaped. It considers the potential for property to take a form other than private through means other than the law by interrogating the shifting constellations of actors and resources that come together to assert various models of property. It is with a goal of illuminating and understanding these possibilities and where and how they might take hold that the proposed project asks: how does landownership take shape—that is, how does one model of property come to dominate over others—following a major disaster? To address this question anthropologically, this project understands property as an ongoing performance and uses ethnographic methods to track property performances over time. Specifically, through periodically recurring fieldwork, this project focuses on Barbuda’s recovery following a Category 5 hurricane in 2017, which devastated the island and reignited an ongoing dispute over the form of property on the island.