Forthcoming: Land and the Mortgage

The ASC Working Group on Land Mortgage is pleased to announce a new book, Land and the Mortgage: History, Culture, Belonging, co-edited by Daivi Rodima-Taylor and Parker Shipton (forthcoming in January 2022). The book argues that the mortgaging of land, a risky practice usually treated as just an economic and legal contract, needs a broader set of perspectives for a fuller, more humanist understanding. The collection examines mortgaging as a social and cultural phenomenon to show its origins, variation, and effects on human lives and communities. Here anthropologists, historians, legal scholars and economists explore origins, variations, and meanings of the land mortgage, and the risks to homes and livelihoods. Combining findings from archives, printed records, and live ethnography, the collection describes the changing and problematic assumptions surrounding mortgage. It shows how mortgage lending affects people on the ground, where local forms of mutuality mix with larger bureaucracies. Tracing origins of land titling, pledging, and mortgaging over millennia, this book explores effects of colonial policies, state impositions, and locally rooted understandings. Situating mortgage lending in sociopolitical relations, it examines the outcomes of mortgage in Africa, Europe, Asia, and America that challenge economic development orthodoxies, calling for a human-centered exploration of this age-old institution.

The book includes chapters by scholars from Boston University African Studies Center and Law School, Tufts University, University of California (Irvine), Aarhus University, University of Roskilde, Francisc I. Rainer Institute of Anthropology, Institute for Agricultural Economics (Bucharest), Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Missouri (Kansas City), and Johns Hopkins University.

Farmland in northwest Tanzania. Photo: Daivi Rodima-Taylor