Private Property

“Beatty is rising as an important young historian able to speak to large issues with authority, evidence, and nuance. This book is an elegant and economical study of the social origins of modern liberalism and conservatism and Marxism. It is a highly original work with unexpected but well-connected elements.

– David Roediger


This book, coming out with Manchester University Press in November 2022, looks at whiteness, masculinity, and the intellectual history of private property from the seventeenth century onwards in the anglophone Atlantic world. I am studying what people imagine it means to live in a world where private property is dominant and their fears (and sometimes hopes) about living in a future world where private property has disappeared; and I am interested in the role of race and gender within such imaginary visions of private property.

In the propertied imagination, private property is a fragile thing, a socially positive institution beset by terrifying enemies. That threatened social chaos is the central unifying story of this book. The narrative of private property as a source of harmony and social stability had to be told and re-told precisely because of a simultaneously parallel narrative about the imminent disappearance of private property.

Download information about the book here