Maano Ramutsindela Lecture

23 August 2018


Peace Park

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The Idea of Peace Parks in Africa

A public lecture by Professor Maano Ramutsindela, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town and 2018 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.

Peace parks are not unique to Africa but have a salient character in the continent as a result of Africa‚Äôs socio-political, economic and environmental conditions. This talk will analyse how the idea of peace parks was developed, and how it took root on various sites in twenty-first century Africa. It will argue that the idea of peace parks gained legitimacy by assembling together environmental issues, archaeological findings, segments of colonial histories, post-independence development challenges, and local and global aspirations into a meta-discourse of peace and development. This discourse also chimed with pan-Africanism and decolonial thinking. The creation of peace parks in Africa raises questions about how African landscapes are re-imagined by various actors ranging from African governments, business, and donor agencies. Peace parks not only reignite historical images of Africa but also present a contested vision for the future of the continent and its people. 

Maano Ramutsindela holds a PhD in geography from Royal Holloway, University of London. He is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town. A Conon Collins scholar and a Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers, Maano held the Distinguished Hubert H Humphrey Visiting Chair of International Studies at Macalester College and the Mandela Mellon Fellow of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University.

Professor Ramutsindela uses political ecology and political geography to understand power dynamics in nature conservation. His work on peace parks in southern Africa investigates the development and consequences of southern African peace parks. He is interested in how practices in these parks relate to the colonial history of conservation and to post-independence political, developmental and security concerns. His current project is on the intersection between environmentalism and borderlands and the emergent political terrain that has huge implications for border citizens and for the unresolved land question in southern Africa. He is co-Chair, with Dr David Mickler (UWA), of the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group (WUN GAG).