In this dissertation, I argue that the development and demarcation of protected areas in southern Africa has not only been a process of defining boundaries but also of defining belonging. I focus specifically on how wildlife has been determined to belong in particular areas and how these animals have been claimed as belonging to individuals, communities, provinces, nations, and regions. I focus on the histories of wildlife conservation in Mozambique and the northern part of KwaZulu Natal, with particular emphasis on Gorongosa and Maputaland during the period from the early 1960s to the late 1990s, a time of great social and political change in both South Africa and Mozambique. I have selected these areas not to propose points of comparison between conservation practices in these neighboring countries, but rather to demonstrate complex continuities, exchanges, and cross-fertilizations. Ideas about wildlife conservation crossed national borders, as did animals, their advocates, and, eventually, protected area boundaries. By employing a transnational perspective on protected area histories, I illustrate and analyze this movement of personnel, non-human animals, and conservation practices between nation-states. By interrogating the scientific knowledge production and policy-making of protected area development, my narrative foregrounds the ways that wildlife has been implicated in and impacted by ideas about where these animals belong and to whom. Conceptions of indigeneity and nativeness, which tie belonging to place, have impacted the territories and scales of protected areas, as well as what (or who) has the right to dwell within their borders. However, these categories of belonging are not inherent to the wildlife species they have been attributed to. Instead, “belonging” is a condition that is made through a complex network of biocultural interactions. It is produced through dynamic constellations of political conditions, cultural values, economic interests, scientific ways of knowing, and animal behavior.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2015. Major: History. Advisors: Allen Isaacman, Helena Pohlandt-McCormick. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 281 pages.
Tracking Wildlife Conservation in Southern Africa: Histories of Protected Areas in Gorongosa and Maputaland.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.