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Accepted Paper:

Colonial trout worlds between enclosures and commoning  
Knut G Nustad (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

In KwaZulu-Natal, trout were introduced by colonial elites from the 1890s onwards. These introductions constituted both a symbolic and material enclosure of landscapes. Contemporary debates about undoing these enclosures are entangled in struggles over property rights and the future of commons.

Paper long abstract:

The translocation of trout from Britain throughout the British Empire from the 1870s onwards was a case of colonial world making and an integral part of the colonial enclosures and dispossessions taking place at the time. Domesticating landscapes through the introduction of alien species constituted a symbolic as well as material appropriation of landscapes, paradoxically making them home by making the wild. In present day KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, efforts by feral amateurs, enthusiasts mobilizing an elite network to establish trout throughout the province, gradually gave way to more professionalized colonial state conservation and environmental management regimes. These transformations led to the emergence of changing forms of dispossession that went hand in hand with the colonial dispossession of land. The paper thus shows that people were dispossessed, and commons enclosed, not just through direct forms of dispossession of land, but also through enclosures that arouse from other forms of appropriations, such as trout introduction and acclimatization. It then goes on to examine how post-apartheid debates about undoing these enclosures have become entangled in contemporary struggles over property rights, expropriation, and the future of commons.

Panel P101a
Future Commons of the Anthropocene
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -