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This text originated from a critique of a liberal understanding of property relation as one between a person and a ""thing"". States are perceived to be fundamental obstacles on the way to an individual's appropriation of the ""thing"". State intervention is often considered to be a reason for a presumed absence of private property in non-European contexts. The research presented here contests these assumptions from different perspectives, both in a European and non-European context. As multidisciplinary as it is wide-ranging, the work ranges from practices of the 19th-century Otoman administrative government in the constitution of private property rights to the practice of cadastral mapping in British India.;These essays, prepared in collaboration as part of a unified research programme, cover Ottoman and British land laws, property rights in the British colonies, and the notion of property as a contested domain and a site of power relations in 19th-century China.