CALL FOR PAPERS – Old Land-New Practices? The Changing Face of Land & Conservation in Postcolonial Africa

Panel and paper proposals are due on or before March 30,  2012 and should be e-mailed to with the words ‘panel’ (and/or) ‘proposal submission’ in the subject line.  Download Abstract submission form.

The conference will take place September 11th – 14th, 2012, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa and is being organised by Georgina Barrett (Rhodes University), Nqobile Zulu (University of Witwatersrand), Jenny Josefsson and Shirley Brooks (University of the Free State).

The ‘land issue’ is omnipresent across post-colonial Africa. It is a highly contentious and contested topic, which at times has proven explosive (Zimbabwe, Kenya), or else a persistent focus of identity politics (Tanzania, Sudan), or central to historically rooted struggles for equality and restitution (South Africa, Botswana). Yet, the legacy of colonial land use management from which these struggles are borne, continues to inform contemporary conservation policy practices. They are also conceptualised and legitimated by a fusion of international environmental and neoliberal market agendas and regional and national policy exigencies, framed by diverse socio-economic development challenges. One of many ‘solutions’ borne of this conjuncture has been the spread of conservation and environmental protection strategies which promise to ‘deliver’ on the requisite national economic and environmental priorities in adherence to broader international and regional prerogatives. Such promises are bound to the success of market orientated strategies for the preservation of Africa’s biodiversity. Furthermore, they are tied to the commoditization of wildlife and wild spaces, and the ‘mass production’ thereof in a range of state-owned, private or joint partnership ventures, including parks, farms and conservancies. The results are not yet fully comprehensible, but it is evident that the post-colonial echoes the colonial, and in this continuity conservation and environmental protection strategies may perpetuate historical insecurities through the alienation of local communities from land ownership and management practices.

This conference was inspired by conversations amongst attendees of the
Nature Inc. conference held at the Institute for Social Sciences (ISS) at The Hague in June 2011 interested in the complex issues surrounding land, conservation, and ‘security’ within an African context. It therefore aims to contribute to the development and sharing of knowledge and expertise with an explicitly pan-African focus. Specifically, it seeks to critically engage with the nexus between post-colonial land use changes and the development of conservation initiatives across the continent at both the theoretical and practical level with cognisance of their historical precedence.

The conference will be organised around the following themes:
• Conservation as a post-colonial land use option
• Historical and contemporary ecological imperialism
• Land use and identity politics
• Gender dynamics and conservation land use strategies
• Alienation, (in)security and conflict
• State and private environmental/conservation agendas
• Community-based natural resource management
• Market driven environmentalism and conservation in Africa
• Continuities and divergences in colonial (and apartheid) and post-colonial
• Theoretical debates and practical realities- never the twain shall meet?

For more information about registration, paper and panel submissions, guest speakers, field trips and the opportunity to publish papers in a special edition of
Journal of Contemporary African Studies, amongst others, go to the conference
website HERE.

JOB – Environmental Justice & Policy

The Women’s Studies Department in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University announces a search for a faculty position at the Assistant Professor level beginning Fall semester 2012.

The Department seeks a candidate holding the Ph.D. in Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, or a social science discipline who specializes in how environmental justice / policy affects minority populations and women.  Imperative is the ability to teach feminist ecology and feminist research methods, both within a national and international context.  Strong candidates for this position should value and be able to conduct community based learning with underrepresented and/or marginalized minority populations. 

Desirable areas include ecofeminism, feminist political ecology, environmental studies, post-colonial studies, and women in the Third World.  In addition, the Women’s Studies Department places a high priority in developing a multicultural learning environment and inclusive pedagogy in which people from diverse backgrounds can engage in dialogue and foster academic excellence.  Candidates must show promise in both research and teaching.  Interested applicants are invited to send a curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching and research interests, a writing sample, and three letters of reference by December 1, 2011 to:

Professor Stella Oh
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Women’s Studies
Suite 4400, University Hall
Loyola Marymount University
One LMU Drive
Los Angeles, Ca 90045-2659

Please also send electronic copies of all materials to

Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, is a mid-sized comprehensive institution emphasizing excellent undergraduate education for a diverse student body.  LMU seeks outstanding applicants who value its mission and share its commitment to academic excellence, the education of the whole person, and the building of a just society.  The campus is located on the western edge of Los Angeles, near the Pacific Ocean.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Salaries are competitive and commensurate with background and experience.