Law Culture and Humanities, Day Two, Part Two 3

In the late morning section, I attended a panel titled Property’s Futures with talks by Ravit Reichman of Brown University (All this Could be Yours), Rebeccca Ryder Neipris (Terroir-ism) and Nomi Stolzenberg of USC (Ghosts of Property: Reshaping the Future by Rewriting the Past Through the Establishment of Facts on the Ground. This was the panel that I moderated, and so I am going spend a little more time discussing these presentations, particularly since they relate so well to the work I am currently doing.

Nomi led off the group in discussing how facts on the ground really serve as creating a moral force for continuation of interests in property.  What Nomi means (or what I took her to mean) was that creating facts on the ground in the process by which the actions of claimants rub against the legal status quo, but in themselves become a basis for claiming a legal relationship to the property (which itself will become a status quo). So the squater who remains for a time creates facts on the ground which mature into an adverse possession claim.  Thus, creating facts on the ground becomes a bottom up way of redefining the legal relationship that the land and its possessors expect to enforce.

Nomi’s presentation was followed by Rebecca who described the interesting issue relating to place in the form of terroir — literally meaning of dirt.  Rebecca spoke of the role that geographic indicators play in the current intellectual property market and asked some thought provoking questions regarding the role of translating, time, and in essence the factual path of the law.  For instance, we learned that Karlsson’s Gold Vodka came about from the desire to instill a dirt flavored terroir taste to potato based vodka.

Finally Ravit described a fascinating reading of Howard’s End by E.M. Forrester.  Ravit described carefully how property instills the idea that memory and identity are moored to our claims and expectations from property.  That property, as Ravit carefully said, “outlives its owner, properly announcing his death.”

This is the last post I am going to make regarding the conference.  I am looking forward to next year’s gathering.  Amongst the people we met were LegalLacuna who is blogging and running a great twitter feed.  Check out her blog! Perhaps we can talk her into doing some cross posting at the table.  I am going to post the link in the side bar.

I also must say for those that are curious, I ashamed myself with my ‘what happens in vegas stays in vegas moment.’  While I planned to return to the reception that night and perhaps hit a casino, I returned to my hotel at 6:30, sat on the couch and fell asleep until 2:00 AM. Such a bummer!


  1. Pingback: “Law and Order” at Law, Culture, and Humanities meetings « The Literary Table

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