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Accepted Paper:

Conservationist coercion, and other (epistemological) paths. A socio-environmental history of (post)colonial conservation policies, Eastern DRCongo, ca. 1900 to the present times  
Violette Pouillard (CNRS - French National Centre for Scientific Research)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution will build a symmetrical history of conservationism, integrating both human and non-human actors. In so doing, it will excavate expressions of opposition to coercive conservation and contribute towards an approach that goes beyond colonially-entrenched conservationist categories.

Paper long abstract:

Academic social sciences narratives on conservation policies tend to oppose the interests of humans and animals. This is especially the case concerning the study of the colonially-implemented African national parks. Political science and historical studies have rightly focused on expropriation policies involving the exclusion of thousands of African rural people from the parks and on human-wildlife conflicts in border areas. However, such studies have neglected the environmental and animal aspects of conservationism.

This contribution, which interweaves social history, environmental history, and animal studies insights, will rely on micro-historical studies of conservationist (post)colonial laboratories in the DRCongo in order to build a symmetrical history from below of conservationism integrating the human and non-human actors involved in conservation networks. In so doing, it will 1) shed light on the neglected animal aspects of coercive conservationism, such as taming practices and mass culling programmes aiming to confine animals within the park borders; 2) address the historically intimate relationship between coercive conservation and exploitation, by examining the parallel development of state-imposed national parks and mining and agro-industrial schemes; 3) shed light on expressions of opposition to coercive conservationist practices on the grounds of their impact on both rural communities and animals, and excavate alternative historical options, which have been veiled by the hegemony of (post)colonial, state-controlled conservationism. By combining empirical and methodological insights, this paper hopes to contribute towards thinking beyond, rather than within, colonially-entrenched epistemological categories, such as the protection of species and enclosures, rather than of animals and socio-environmental landscapes.

Panel P080a
'Taking care together': Conservation as more-than-human commoning I
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -