Department of Anthropology Brown Bag Series: From Heirs to Squatters-Partible Land Ownership and Tragedy of the Anti-Commons in Hawai‘i

Danae Khorasani, gradaute student in the Department of Anthropology, will be presenting her work on the Ko‘olauloa, a region of northern Oʻahu, Hawai‘i on Wednesday (May 19 2021) @4pm-5pm. Please read below for more information, open to everyone! 


Abstract: In Ko‘olauloa, a region of northern Oʻahu, Hawai‘i, longstanding practices around property inheritance has led rural communities to experience tragic situations of property loss and land dispossession. The decline in the number of Native Hawaiian-owned agricultural farmlands is partly the result of the current legal framework surrounding property ownership adjudication, which does not easily allow for families with multiple heirs to collectivize their ownership interests. Based on fieldwork that incorporates community ethnography and archival research, this paper explores the disjunction of kin-based patterns of inheritance within a culturally Western legal framework that favors one owner, one property scenarios. This presentation proposes a novel analysis of heirs’ property and land loss in order to show how current legal doctrine is unsuited to address both real and intangible inheritance patterns, thereby creating wealth destruction characteristic of a ‘tragedy of the anti-commons’ as described by Heller (2010) and others. Property has always been a site of struggle (von Benda-Beckmann 2006), however, the undertheorized ‘tragedy of the anti-commons’ is generating renewed interest in neoliberal transformations of property and brings the issue of ‘too many private owners’ to the forefront of our understanding of how and why land dispossession and property disputes can continue to manifest among the most vulnerable populations.

Dial-In Information

Please log onto the zoom link provided. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Virtual Event