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Sociology Research


Meredith Hall is a Teaching Associate in the Sociology of Media and Culture at the University of Cambridge, where her research examines the political economy of intellectual property rights and its relationship to inequality, social justice, and the public good.

Her current book project, Properties of Color: How Corporations Came to Own the Visible Spectrum, offers a genealogy of color’s assimilation into intellectual property law and policy over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

She has conducted research and policy analysis at the World Intellectual Policy Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and the former United Nations Development Fund for Women in New York. Her work appears in publications such as the Annual Review of Sociology, The American Sociologist, and New Geographies and has been supported by the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics and the North American Mobility Project, as well as the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought and the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for 0Capitalism Studies at the New School.

Before joining the University of Cambridge, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Southern California. In addition to a Ph.D. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research, she holds an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University.

Research Interests

Intellectual property law and policy; sociological/social theory; sociology of culture; sociology of the media; economic sociology; law and political economy; science, knowledge, and technology; gender studies; visual and material culture.

Research Projects

Book project (in progress): Properties of Color: How Corporations Came to Own the Visible Spectrum.

Is it possible for a corporation to own a color? This book project argues that the answer, however improbable, is yes. Beginning with the invention of synthetic dye production during the Second Industrial Revolution and
concluding with the U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting color trademarks in 1995, it offers a genealogy of color’s assimilation into the intellectual property regime over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Qualitative archival research reveals how individual parcels of the visible color spectrum—seemingly timeless and universal elements of nature and culture—came to be understood as objects that a corporation might own. The project also presents a new conceptual framework for studying “propertization”—the social process by which unowned things are acquired initially as property, theorized as a form of resource accumulation transacted through moral justification rather than, for example, monetary exchange. Spanning the sociology of culture, law, and the economy, it is at once a study of color’s ontology—that is to say, how color is defined at different times and by different groups of people—as well as a study of how property and aesthetics work in late capitalism.


Graduate Courses
University of Cambridge
Core Seminar: MPhil in Media and Culture
Lecture Topics: Media and Cultural Theory, Media and Material Culture
Department of Sociology, Deputy Pathway Coordinator and Lecturer (Instructor
of Record),
September 2023–present.

Undergraduate Courses
University of Cambridge
Media, Culture, and Society
Lecture and Supervision Topics: Capitalism and Culture, Visual Culture
Department of Sociology, Course Organizer and Lecturer (Instructor of
Record), 2023–present.


Publications: Book Chapters: Meredith Hall. 2023. “Owning the Hate: A Case
Study of Moral Entrepreneurship in Contemporary Rock Music and the
Trademarking of Racial Slurs.” Pp. 319–53 in The Cultural Sociology of
Art and Music, edited by Lisa McCormick. London: Palgrave.
Publications: Journal Articles:
Meredith Hall. forthcoming. “Blue Latitudes: Properties of the Color
Atlas.” (Contingent acceptance, Social Studies of Science).

Meredith Hall. 2023. “Genealogies of Property as Power: New Throughlines in
the Sociology of Intellectual Property.” The American Sociologist 54(2):

GIDEST Collective. 2018. “Living Past the End Times.” New Geographies 9
(Post-Human): 47–50.

Robin Wagner-Pacifici and Meredith Hall. 2012. “Resolution of Social
Conflict.” Annual Review of Sociology 8:181–99.
Publications: Other:
Meredith Hall. 2018. “Blue Latitudes: Properties of the Color Atlas.” The
Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies, Working Paper Series

Meredith Hall. 2013. “On Screen: The Visibility of Strategic Narratives.”
Milton Wolf Seminar Online Compendium. Center for Global Communications
Studies, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). 2006. (co-contributor)
Issue Briefs: Trafficking; Women’s Reproductive Health; Disarmament,
Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR). Governance, Peace, and Security
Section Web Portal. United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM
Publications, New York.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). 2005. (co-contributor)
The Impact of the Conflict on Women; Country Profiles: Tajikistan, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Cyprus. Governance, Peace, and Security Section Web Portal.
United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM Publications, New York.

Meredith Hall. 2003-2004. Institute for Research on Women, Thinking About
Gender/Thinking about Sexual Difference(s) Distinguished Lecture Series blog:
“The Future of Female Sexuality: The Becoming of Sexual Difference;”
“The Black Female Body: A Photographic History;” “Gender, Sexuality,
and the Politics of Social Construction;” “Masculinity Politics and World
Society;” “Feminism Meets Culture and Class in the Middle East;” “On
Women’s Culture.”

Meredith Hall. 2002. “Women in Twentieth Century Afghanistan: A History.”
The Matrix: A Social Justice Periodical. Special Issue on Women in
Afghanistan. Tacoma, WA: Pacific Lutheran University

Research Groups & Affiliations


Graduate Student and Early Career Workshop Award, Law and Society Association, 2022.

Early Career Workshop Award, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, 2021.

Alexander and Ilse Melamid Prize Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Department of Sociology, The New School for Social Research, 2018–2019.

Emerging Scholar Fellowship, Milton Wolf Seminar, Vienna, Austria, Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, April 2013.

Additional Information

Grants and Projects:
Confronting the Second Space Age Working Group Grant, Levan Institute for the Humanities, University of Southern California, September 2022–May 2023.

Dissertation Research Travel Award, The New School for Social Research, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, June 2014–July 2014.

North American Mobility Project Grant, Rutgers University and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, Summer 2004.

Job Title:
Teaching Associate in Media and Culture
Contact Information: