Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationJohns Hopkins U.
Grant numberGr. 9340
Approve DateOctober 5, 2016
Project TitleKohlbry, Paul Andrew, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Land and Title: Private Property and Political Struggle in the West Bank,' supervised by Dr. Deborah Poole
PAUL KOHLBRY, then a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in October 2016 to aid research on “Land and Title: Private Property and Political Struggle in the West Bank,” supervised by Dr. Deborah Poole. Through a study of land registration, this research explores the making of private property in the West Bank under Israeli settler colonialism. Private property is crucial in two respects. On the one hand, it shapes the core political struggle between settler and indigenous populations for sovereignty over territory. On the other, it ensures the material reproduction and expansion of the settler colony by incorporating land into the capitalist market. However, the logic of exclusive sovereignty often sits uneasily with the interests of capital, and the ensuing conflicts within and between settler and indigenous societies over land are not simply over ownership, but an ongoing battle over the constitution of private property itself. Through 21 months of archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Jordan, the West Bank and Israel, this research asks how private property is continually remade through the process of land registration in which Israelis and Palestinians attempt to claim ownership by articulating novel arrangements of documents and practices. It traces the unexpected political economies that emerge through this process, and explores how private property becomes an unstable, contested category that is as troubling as it is necessary for the politics of sovereignty.