Measuring Loss

August 7th, 2020

In response to the complicated entanglements of property claims in the Mississippi Delta, Sarah Lewison advocates for witnessing injustice as a way of preparing for repair.

Claims/Property seminar reflection

The Anthropocene River Campus seminar “Claims/Property” engaged with the complicated entanglements of property claims that cut across the social, racial, and ecological landscapes of the Mississippi Delta. In this seminar reflection, Sarah Lewison describes undertaking a participatory investigation of New Orleans and nearby Terrebonne Parish as a territory, in an attempt to apprehend the concept and consequences of property—something more social practice than thing. From the historic and ongoing systematic dislocation of New Orleans’ Black population to the efforts of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, who have lived for generations in kinship with a now threatened landscape, to secure Federal Recognition, the seminar made clear the differences between living with place and making property. Informed by these encounters, Lewison advocates for witnessing these injustices as a means of not just measuring loss but preparing for repair.