The concept of property had to be invented and culturally learned over a long period of time. Private property (as separated from ownership) may have roots in empires of the antiquity, but found its primal scenes for our Western and widely globalised understanding in the 17th century – entangled with colonialism. Recent theories speak of “racial regimes of ownership” and “postcolonial property” (Bhandar); global copyright
systems in the 20th century came up with “cultural folklore”, but are also criticised for their “white laws” (Roy, Riley). The paper will discuss these notions and ask for the permeation of this property thinking within the mediated world and our self relations, but also for the possibilities of potential histories (Azoulay) and of unlearning.
Ulrike Bergermann is professor of Media Studies at the University of Art in Braunschweig, Germany, with main areas of research in Gender and Postcolonial Studies and the history of knowledge.