Owning Property, Section 1 – Introductions – Readings

Required readings will BOLD the author’s name. Optional readings will be in regular case.

Each reading should either have description of where to get the work (if available online, for instance), a direct link to the work, or an uploaded PDF below. 


Introductory Material (9/4 Tue – 9/13 Thurs)

  • JOSEPH WILLIAM SINGER, “Introduction”, pp. 1-18, Entitlement: The Paradoxes of Property (Yale University Press 2000). Full-text of book available at  http://library.umass.edu/ and small excerpt available below.
  • JOSEPH WILLIAM SINGER, Section 1.1.12, “Property Theories”, Property Law: Rules, Policies, and Practices, 2nd Edition (1997)


  • LAURA UNDERKUFFLER, Introduction, pp.1-8, and Chapter 1, “What Is Property? The Question Posed”, pp.11-15, of The Idea of Property: Its Meaning and Power, (Oxford University Press 2003). Small excerpt available below. 
  • EDUARDO MOISÉS PEÑALVER and SONIA K. KATYAL, Preface, vii-ix, and Introduction, pp.1-22, and Chapter 1, “Why Property Outlaws?”, pp.23-35, in Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership (Yale University Press 2010). Offering an explanation on why the law of property is (despite its reputation) actually leaky, and how that is beneficial to the law of property.
  • Wikipedia, “Private Goods”,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_good
  • Stuart Banner, “People, Not Things”, Chapter 5 (pp. 94-108) in American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own (Harvard University Press 2011)


  • MARGARET JANE RADIN, “Property and Personhood”, Chapter 1, pp. 35-71, Reinterpreting Property (University of Chicago Press 1993), originally published at 34 Stan. L. Rev. 957 (1982). Available online at https://cyber.harvard.edu/IPCoop/82radi.html or search HeinOnline (via http://library.umass.edu/)  for an attractively formatted version.
  • Stephen Munzer, “Property as Social Relations”, Chapter 2 (pp. 36-75) in New Essays in the Legal and Political Theory of Property (Cambridge University Press 2001)
  • Singer, “Theories of Property” (excerpt) 
  • GREGORY S. ALEXANDER, EDUARDO M. PEÑALVER, JOSEPH WILLIAM SINGER, & LAURA S. UNDERKUFFLER,  “A Statement of Progressive Property”, 94 Cornell Law Review 743-744 (available at SSRN and Cornell Law Review).
  • Abraham Bell & Gideon Parchomovsky, “A Theory of Property”90Cornell Law Review 513 (2013) – proposing a unified theory of property. Available below.
  • Richard Epstein, Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain (Harvard University Press 1995) – Book-length exposition of Epstein’s conservative / libertarian stance on private property. Electronic copy available in the UMass library catalog.