Saturday, May 6, 2006
Well, later today my property students at the University of Hawaii are going to take their final exam. That means, also, that I’m about to leave Honolulu to return to Tuscaloosa and you won't be hearing much from me for a while, while I move and grade.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed teaching here this semester. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed teaching a property class more (though I sure have some fond memories of property classes past in Tuscaloosa and Boston and Oklahoma City, too) and I’ve learned much from this crowd as well. In part because one of their beloved classmates, Augusto Camara, died part way through the semester, I learned a lot about community spirit and how to deal with trying times from them. (My tribute to "Goose," about images of property in Hawaiian landscape art is here.) I also learned to think differently about issues of property and equity, especially about cultural property (and here).
I really enjoyed talking about aloha jurisprudence with them. They were kind enough to indulge some of my talk of cemetery law. Of course, the students taught me about “Vulcan jurisprudence” and alerted me to some great news items about the conversion of an elevated rail to a park in New York City and the breakdown of democracy (so it seems) in Vernon, California.
I also had a wonderful time getting to know colleagues at the University of Hawaii Law School; in particular Randy Roth (you need to read his great book, Broken Trust) and David Callies (among other work propertyprof readers will enjoy is his recent book from Cambridge University Press, The Role of Customary Law in Sustainable Development) and Carl Christensen (aka lawyer for the dispossessed and all around mensch) have helped me learn a lot about property law in the Pacific. Deans Aviam Soifer and Carol Mon Lee are running a great school, with a terrific faculty and student body. I highly recommend this place to you for law school if you’re a student (or if you’re a faculty member, spend a semester or a summer teaching out here). Of course, the University of Alabama’s a great place to learn about property, too.
I also had the chance to read some about the history of property in Hawaii. I’ve posted a little about this already–-on the decline in surfing because of the rise of the market economy in the early nineteenth century and sacred sites of Oahu. This summer I hope to talk some about missionaries’ ideas about property law and some great books I’ve been reading, including Marshall Sahlins, Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii, Sally Merry’s Colonizing Hawai'i, Lilikala Kame'Eleihiwa's Native Lands, Foreign Desires, Stuart Banner's How the Indians Lost Their Land, and David Stannard’s Honor Killing (not about property but terrific–and I do mean terrific--legal history).
So I wish my students all the best of luck on their exam and in the rest of their careers. I’ll be back to doing some propertyprof postings when I’ve made some progress on grading. And then I'll be talking some about property in Alabama. I may start with one of my favorite archaeological sites, Moundville (description here).
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