AFR 335
Sacred Custodians: Environmental Conservation in Africa Spring 2023
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed HIST 304 / GBST 304 / ENVI 304
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Class Details

In this seminar we will explore environmental conservation in Africa. In particular we will look at African ideas, ethics, and approaches to environmental conservation. Are there African ideas, ethics, and activities that are uniquely conservationist in nature? We will explore well-known African leaders to understand what spurred them to become conservationists, how they interpreted and communicated environmental crises. For example, Wangari Maathai is a world-renowned female scientist who established the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. This movement focuses on addressing the problem of de-forestation. Ken Saro-Wiwa was an activist in Nigeria who fought for and alongside local communities against multinational oil corporations. We will examine these and other African conservation practices alongside popular images of environmental crisis that place blame for environmental degradation on Africans. Students will be invited to critically study histories of environmental management on the continent and the emergence, development, and impact of the idea of conservation. We will unpack the rich histories of conservation efforts in Africa, such as resource extraction, game parks, desertification, wildlife and hunting, traditional practices, and climate change.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 3416
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in discussion, map quiz, reading reflections, critical reflections on films, a case study (5-7 pages), and one exam.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: If course is over-enrolled, preference to History Majors and students with a demonstrated interest in African studies.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 335 Division II HIST 304 Division II GBST 304 Division II ENVI 304 Division II
DPE Notes: This course will intensively explore the question of how various global and local actors have defined environmental degradation and promoted approaches to conservation in Africa. It guides students through an examination of the different power dynamics that have shaped environmental conservation thought and practices on the continent. This course, therefore, provides a critical lens through which to examine the inequalities rooted in race, gender, and other forms of difference
Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives

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