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Nature Conservation in Southern Africa

Morality and Marginality: Towards Sentient Conservation?


Edited by Jan-Bart Gewald, Marja Spierenburg and Harry Wels

Nature conservation in southern Africa has always been characterised by an interplay between Capital, specific understandings of Morality, and forms of Militarism, that are all dependent upon the shared subservience and marginalization of animals and certain groups of people in society. Although the subjectivity of people has been rendered visible in earlier publications on histories of conservation in southern Africa, the subjectivity of animals is hardly ever seriously considered or explicitly dealt with. In this edited volume the subjectivity and sentience of animals is explicitly included. The contributors argue that the shared human and animal marginalisation and agency in nature conservation in southern Africa (and beyond) could and should be further explored under the label of ‘sentient conservation’.

Contributors are Malcolm Draper, Vupenyu Dzingirai, Jan-Bart Gewald, Michael Glover, Paul Hebinck, Tariro Kamuti, Lindiwe Mangwanya, Albert Manhamo, Dhoya Snijders, Marja Spierenburg, Sandra Swart, Harry Wels.


Malcolm Draper

The eco-frontier concept is new but speaks to the old and ever-changing relationship between humanity and nature that is the subject of environmental history, which narrates the past as a series of struggles and compromises with nature, rather than merely a series of battles leading to boundaries


Marja Spierenburg

used it as a guideline for legal evictions. 51 Subject to fierce global competition and feeling threatened by the land-reform program and new labour legislation – whether this feeling is justified or not remains a moot point – white farmers developed a range of strategies to hold on to the land and to


Paul Hebinck

livelihood strategies. 27 Rights, like the meanings of the resources, are therefore not fixed but are often fluid and temporary, subject to negotiation, potentially conflictive, and generating ambiguities associated with certain ways in which wildlife is used. 28 Perspectives and Practices of Appropriating


Jan-Bart Gewald

this partly explains why the flora depicted is atypical. That is, although the subject matter central to the picture is correct, all too often the flora depicted has clearly emerged from the imagination of somebody who has never seen a camel thorn tree or protea in reality. 29 Daniell’s paintings can


Harry Wels

, and is how ‘(…) encounters with animals are always to some extent encounters with ourselves and with who we think we are’ 3 ; ‘biosociality’ as Woodward would probably label it, ‘a sociability across apparently disparate species’ in which ‘animals are subjects who have agency and intentionality’ 4


Sandra Swart

The U.S. Patent Office has decided that ‘non-naturally occurring man-made organisms including animals’ can be patentable subject matter. So it could be seen as part of a scramble for a new biological market: private restoration for potential profit could be seen as a form of neo-liberal necromancy


Tariro Kamuti

, related to demarcation, where sometimes areas under the same ecological conditions span different local and provincial administrations. Therefore, the game farmers concerned subsequently become subjected to different regulations emanating from each administration and hence not harmonised. Farmers blame