Kenya Course: NOTE DATE CHANGE FROM MAY TO AUGUST!
Conservation & Development in Cultural Landscapes: Fieldwork in Kenya
NOTE: Students are accepted into this course on a competitive basis, with up to 13 students to be accepted. Those admitted will have their travel expenses covered by the Graham Institute (student pays tuition), regardless of whether or not they are in the Sustainability Scholars Program. This is the only supported class that offers such funding.
Conservation and development initiatives are increasingly taking into consideration the different histories, geographies, livelihood systems and ecologies of people and their cultural landscapes. These socio-political and ecological dimensions strongly influence the development process and conservation outcomes. This course three-credit will involve both classroom and field study in order to better understand the processes associated with conservation and development initiatives. The class will cover both natural science aspects (e.g. materiality of nature, conservation boundaries, wildlife and livestock ecology, land cover change), as well as social science understandings (e.g. commoditization of nature, natures agency, social constructionism, livelihood systems, conservation strategies).
Classroom activities will involve reading and critically discussing the literatures on conservation and development practices in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. A series of bi-weekly seminars will be held during the Winter 2012 semester to help orient students to these issues and to better prepare for the field component. These literatures will be based on book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles on specific issues that are taking place within different conservation landscapes.
The field study component will be based in and around a number of conservation landscapes in Kenya (Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo, and Laikipia) and relies on a multi-disciplinary approach to understand and evaluate some of these processes using a comparative analysis framework. This experiential learning exercise will culminate in an independent study paper, which will be written up at the end of the summer and turned in before the start of the Fall semester.
The Winter 2012 Field-Study Schedule was as Follows:
- Days 1-2: Arrival & orientation in Nairobi (Kibera & Urban Settlements)
- Days 3-8: Maasai Mara (homestays and private conservancies & county council game reserves)
- Days 9-12: Amboseli (national parks and community conservancies)
- Days 13–18: Tsavo (national parks & no conservancies)
- Days 19–22: Laikipia (no national parks & private land owners)
- Day 23: Return to Nairobi and departure to Detroit