Workshop 2

Claiming the Past, Belonging for the Future / Immigration, Citizenship, and Property

Convenors: Marianne Constable, Leti Volpp

Workshop 2 is structured in two sessions providing different perspectives on the workshop theme.

Session 1

Heritage, heredity, and inheritance all come from the past and yet their claims are not simply historical. Indeed, as present-day acts, claims of heritage set up what belongs to whom for the future. What kinds of claims are these? Are they distinct as claims? What is it to make or state or stake a claim? How are legal claims performed? What do claims, as speech acts, involve? Does every claim involve an assertion of fact plus a demand for recognition? When are claims as to heritage factual? When are they claims of law? To what do they appeal? And what sort of evidence do they call for? How does what counts as evidence of a particular claim change over time?

Drawing in part on the work of J. L. Austin on speech acts and referring to a small number of documents drawn from various legal contexts — particular statutes, local regulations, trial transcripts, and possibly UN documents — we’ll begin to touch on the complexity of these issues as they relate to cultural heritage and historic preservation. Readings will include scholarship about the 20th-century legal history of archeology and about encounters between different traditions.

Session 2

How do concepts of property connect to questions of immigration and citizenship? Are property ideas helpful in sorting through the transmission of citizenship, the right of a lawful resident to return, or the claim of an irregular migrant for the right to enter, remain, or become a full member of a political community? What notions of property outside of possessive individualism and ownership help us conceptualize these claims? And what kinds of presuppositions do conceptions of property, immigration, and citizenship smuggle in to these discussions?


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