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Creating Africas: Struggles Over Nature, Conservation and Land
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Price: R 205
Publication Date: 2015-10-02
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 978 1 86914 308 4
Width: 138
Height: 215
Pages: 216


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Review by William Ellis
Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Anthropology Southern Africa, 38:3-4, 384-386

Nustad’s study represents a unique and gripping account of long-standing land disputes in the Dukuduku forests in the north-eastern corner of South Africa. The land in the Dukuduku forest has been the subject of a land claim lodged in 1998, but the land claim is only one concern in a much broader field of play. Nustad introduces the issues to us in three parts: the first deals with theories of nature and conservation, the second with land as ontology and the last with the specific case study of the dispossession of land in the Dukuduku forest. In the first section, Nustad puts forth the concept of nature/conservation nature with reference to the ontological turn in anthropology. Here he refers to work such as that of Donna Harraway which deals with post-human thinking and thinking about nature, and theorists such as Annemarie Mol who push for analysis that takes into account both multiple ontologies and ontological multiplicity. The explicit goal of his theoretical frame is to bring the study of nature in Africa out of the stalemate of representationalism and to move it towards an understanding that transcends the limits of the previous studies of conservation and nature. Overall, the book responds to two critiques of the ontological turn in the discipline, namely the inattention to history and to politics.

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In Africa, conflicts between protected areas for fauna and flora and their surrounding human populations continue despite years spent trying to find an accommodation between the needs of both parties. Creating Africas investigates the roots of the current conservation boom, demonstrates that it is part of a struggle over definitions of realities, and examines the global effects of this struggle.

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