Hannah Burnett @ USL

“Stabilizing State Waters’”
Hannah Eisler Burnett | PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Discussant: Rachel Howard | PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Wednesday, November 17th, 4:30-6:00pm
Location: Haskell Hall 101 & on Zoom
Hybrid Event: To receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper please email zarrington@uchicago.edu
Paper Abstract: In this early draft of the first chapter of my dissertation, I chart the history and stakes of distinguishing between land and water in Louisiana. To do so, I analyze recent historical moments in the state’s conceptualization of its coastline, from a series of Supreme Court cases—often referred to as the “Tidelands controversy”—to present day legislative efforts to adjudicate claims over newly submerged waterways by both the state and private landowners. Throughout the Tidelands controversy, Louisiana sought to maintain and extend its jurisdiction into federal waters at the height of anti-integration efforts in a gambit to secure revenues from offshore oil and gas production. Access to these revenues would have not only increased the state budget, it would have also helped to ensure the state’s relative independence from federal funds. I argue that contemporary innovations in the legal definition of Louisiana’s coastline have resulted in property claims that continue to reproduce patterns of inclusion and exclusion along lines of race and class in the region. By historicizing efforts to restore, map, and model Louisiana’s coast, this chapter elucidates the legacy of segregationist politics in contemporary coastal planning and property regimes.

*This convening is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

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