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Multiple Historical Geographies: Responses and Resistance to Colonial Conservation Schemes in East Africa

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 13:21 authored by Grace CarswellGrace Carswell
Examining four colonial soil conservation schemes in East Africa that were part of the modernising project of colonialism, this article considers multiple historical geographies of the colonised world. There were multiple modernities: while information and ideas flowed in many directions between (and within) the metropole and colonies, the particular 'modernity' that was put into practice was shaped by its context. The article highlights therefore that - despite playing to the same tune of modernity - colonialism was highly differentiated in the way that its policies played out on the ground. Furthermore, the 'colonised' acted and reacted to the policies in highly differentiated ways that depended on their particular context in time and space. All but one of the soil conservation schemes examined were rejected and there was significant resistance to them. Much of the existing literature on such schemes examines them in the context of essentially political processes, and in particular their influence on rising nationalism. Whilst these processes are important, this paper shows that there were other, non-political, factors that influenced the reception they were given, which need to be considered too. These 'everyday' details were about the practical and technical nature of the schemes, and by exploring these aspects of the schemes, and comparing them, the article highlights why most were rejected. It suggests that different aspects of conservation schemes need to be explored for a firm understanding of the reasons behind resistance to such schemes. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  • Published


Journal of Historical Geography







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  • Geography Publications


Published by Elsevier

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