248 pages | 21 B/W Illus.
This book explores how and why the idea of the African environmental crisis developed and persisted through colonial and post-colonial periods, and why it has been so influential in development discourse. From the beginnings of imperial administration, the idea of the desiccation of African environments grew in popularity, but this crisis discourse was dominated by the imposition of imperial scientific knowledge, neglecting indigenous knowledge and experience.
African Environmental Crisis provides a synthesis of more than one-and-a-half century’s research on peasant agriculture and pastoral rangeland development in terms of soil erosion control, animal husbandry, grazing schemes, large-scale agricultural schemes, social and administrative science research, and vector-disease and pest controls. Drawing on comparative socio-ecological perspectives of African peoples across the East African colonies and post-independent states, this book refutes the hypothesis that African peoples were responsible for environmental degradation. Instead, Gufu Oba argues that flawed imperial assumptions and short-term research projects generated an inaccurate view of the environment in Africa.
This book’s discussion of the history of science for development provides researchers across environmental studies, agronomy, African history and development studies with a lens through which to understand the underlying assumptions behind development projects in Africa.
1 African environmental crisis: Is it a myth: An introduction
PART 1. EMPIRE, SCIENCE, SOCIETY AND DEVELOPMENT
2 European exploration of East Africa: Textual analysis of travel narratives, 1831–1900
3 Imperial scientific infrastructure: Science for development, 1848–1960s
4 African environmental crisis narratives: Schemes, technology and development, 1904–1960
PART 2. EXPERIMENTAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH
5 Experimental science and development: A re-evaluation of the Environmental crisis hypothesis, 1939–1960
6 Social science research: Behavioral responses to development, 1919–1950
7 Administrative science for development dialogue: Three Kenyan case studies, 1943–1954
PART 3. VECTORS, PESTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
8 Tsetse fly control in East Africa: Environmental and social impacts, 1880–1959
9 Locust invasion and control in East Africa: Economic and environmental impacts, 1890–1960s
10 A synthesis: Conclusions and epilogue
The series features innovative and original research on African development from scholars both within and outside of Africa. It particularly promotes comparative and interdisciplinary research targeted at a global readership.
In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods.
The series welcomes submissions from established and junior authors on cutting-edge and high-level research on key topics that feature in global news and public debate. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Helena Hurd ([email protected]).