ISS Faculty Fellow
Contested Global Landscapes Theme Project
Charles Geisler is a Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University and an International Faculty member within CALS. His past and present research bears strongly on land/property/livelihood issues through inquiries into: local control of land resources by government and nongovernmental actors; exclusionary land use planning (red-lining & green-lining) and contestations by in-holders in protected areas and Wise-Use groups beyond; common property and enclosures disputes; land reforms in the global north (England, Scotland, the United States) and south (South Africa, Dominican Republic); the social impacts and livelihood challenges for land-dependent communities of rapid resource development (roads, dams, hydro-fracking); and minority property rights. His research engages the theme project in multiple ways: the evolution and resilience of property institutions, especially in times of insecurity and crisis (#1); multi-scale governance of land resources across public/private sectors; this open space for land grabs “from below” and above as well as by nonstate organizations, some of whom use violence to make/break existing social relations of property (#2); and the nullification of regional livelihoods though new discourses of terra nullius, producing “new enclosures.” This is an important “why?” facet of who wins and who loses. He has experience with social/land displacement in Bangladesh, the United States, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Japan and co-leads the Polson Institute’s “New Enclosures Working Group” at Cornell. His most recent co-edited book, Accumulating Insecurity, Securing Accumulation: Violence and Dispossession in the Making of Everyday Life, contains research findings about the forfeiture of property rights by illegal immigrants felonized in the U.S. war on terrorism.
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