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OCAF 2145 - Governing Nature and Africa Since Colonization

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies

Pre-requisite

Chapter to read for the first session: Leach Melissa, Mearns Robin, « Challenging Received Wisdom in Africa », in Leach Melissa, Mearns Robin (eds.), The Lie of the Land, Londres, The International African Institute, 1996, coll. « African Issues », p. 1-33.

Course Description

Scholars have concerned themselves with race, class and gender because they offer a means of exploring the history of oppressions. But power inequalities also literally take place, occurring in landscape with their own peculiar attributes. By focusing on how different groups went about shaping environment as a resource to exploit, a territory to build and a representation to impose, this course will explore the history of power in Africa, during and after colonization. Emphasis will be especially given to politics of nature. Between an African Eden that would be irreparably damaged by its inhabitants and a Western ecosystem faded by the technical brilliance of men lays a power struggle that reveals not only the political dimension of African nature, but also the very nature of African modes of governance.

Teachers

BLANC, Guillaume (Maître de conférences)

Course validation

Students will be evaluated on a review essay (40%), on participation (10%) and on a term paper (50%): 1.Review essay (40%): each student has to write a 1000 word review essay about an article selected in the reading list, and has to be able to make a 5 minutes presentation of its essay during the course. 2.Participation (10%): each student has to read an article for each session, and to participate, during each session, to the discussion around the mandatory article. 3.Term paper: grouped by pair, students have to write a short environmental history of a place, an event, a character, an object or a concept (3000-3500 words).

Required reading

Melissa Leach, Robin Mearns, « Challenging Received Wisdom in Africa », in Melissa Leach, Robin Mearns eds., The Lie of the Land, London, The International African Institute, 1996, 1-33

Additional required reading

  • Sabine Planel, Marie Bridonneau, « Global Ethiopia: Scales and Power Shifts », EchoGéo 31, 2015
  • William Cronon, « The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature», Environmental History vol.1 n°1, 1996, 7-28
  • René Lefort, “Powers – mengist – and peasants in rural Ethiopia: the May 2005 elections”, Journal of Modern African Studies, 45/2, 2007, 253-273
  • Roderick P. Neumann, “Churchill and Roosevelt in Africa: Performing and Writing Landscapes of Race, Empire, and Nation”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103:6, 2013, 1371-1388

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Lecture 1: Governance and violence (?) in Africa

Mandatory reading:

  • Melissa Leach, Robin Mearns, « Challenging Received Wisdom in Africa », in Melissa Leach, Robin Mearns eds., The Lie of the Land, London, The International African Institute, 1996, 1-33.

Lecture 2: African State and bureaucratization

Mandatory reading:

  • Sabine Planel, Marie Bridonneau, « Global Ethiopia: Scales and Power Shifts », EchoGéo 31, 2015.

Lecture 3: Environmental history as a way of (re)thinking African histories

Mandatory reading:

  • William Cronon, « The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature», Environmental History vol.1 n°1, 1996, 7-28.

Lecture 4: African societies and the World History

Mandatory reading:

  • René Lefort, "Powers – mengist – and peasants in rural Ethiopia: the May 2005 elections", Journal of Modern African Studies, 45/2, 2007, 253-273

Lecture 5: Scramble for Africa: the invention of a black and wild continent

Mandatory reading:

  • Roderick P. Neumann, "Churchill and Roosevelt in Africa: Performing and Writing Landscapes of Race, Empire, and Nation", Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103:6, 2013, 1371-1388.

Lecture 6: De-colonizing Africa: wilderness media and African representations

Mandatory reading:

  • Alan Hoben, "Paradigms and Politics: The Cultural Construction of Environmental Policy in Ethiopia", World Development 23/6, 1995, 1007-1021.

Work: deadline for term paper outline discussions (topic chosen & bibliography selected)

Lecture 7: Poachers must die: African State leadership, Western moral geography and social survival

Mandatory reading:

  • James McCann, "The Plow and the Forest: Narratives of Deforestation in Ethiopia, 1840-1992", Environmental History 2/2, 1997, 138-159.

Lecture 8: From nature to violence: history of an Ethiopian natural heritage

Mandatory reading:

  • David Turton, "Wilderness, wasteland or home? Three ways of imagining the Lower Omo Valley", Journal of Eastern African Studies 5/1, 2011, 158-176.

Lecture 9: Eritrea, environment and power

Mandatory reading:

  • Melesse Getu, "Planning Resettlement in Ethiopia. The experience of Guji Oromo & the Nech Sar National Park", in Alula Pankhurst, François Piguet eds., Moving People in the State. Development, Displacement and the State, Woodbridge, Suffolk, James Currey, 2009, 93-101.

Lecture 10: Resettlement & Development

Mandatory reading:

  • Anita Milman, Yacob Arsano, "Climate Adaptation and Development: contradictions for human security in Gambella, Ethiopia", Global Environmental Change 29, 2014, 349-359.

Lecture 11: Sustainable Development: metanarrative of the 21st century

Mandatory reading:

  • Davide Chinigò, Emanuele Fantini, « Thermidor in Ethiopia? Agrarian Transformations between Economic Liberalization and the Developmental State », EchoGéo 31, 2015.

Work: deadline for final paper

Lecture 12: Wrap-up session & collective debate

Biographical Information

Guillaume Blanc holds a PhD in history from the Sorbonne University and a PhD in Quebec studies from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières. He published in 2015 Une histoire environnementale de la nation. Regards croisés sur les parcs nationaux du Canada, d'Éthiopie et de France. Post-doctoral fellow at the University of Versailles, the quai Branly museum, the Centre de recherches historiques and then the Centre Alexandre Koyré (EHESS), he is conducting researches about the environmental history of African in general and of Ethiopia in particular.