In the last century and a half, over 105,000 protected areas (PAs), encompassing about 11 percent of the world’s land, with different levels of “protected” area status, have been established on every continent.1 The establishment and operation of these PAs have resulted in numerous human rights abuses.2 Literatures on the relationships between human rights and conservation are rich with theoretical and empirical examples that typify two main waves of conservation over the last fifty years. In this essay I describe how a third but less well-known wave of conservation practices in East Africa is resulting in the continued disenfranchisement of local peoples who reside around PAs. By relying on a case study from southern Kenya and drawing on theoretical insights from people-environment geography, I demonstrate that this type of conservation practice—one that supposedly distances itself from the coercive and violent histories of previous approaches—has continued to dispossess local peoples in new ways and with (un)intended consequences.
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Our latest issue of Humanity is out! It features essays on refugee theory and the necessity of trespass in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year; the Balfour declaration as an instrument of imperial protection and Palestinian dispossession; late-Soviet economic thought and global debates over the role of state planning in development; the role of Brazilian Liberation Theology in framing Western European human rights media coverage of Brazil’s military dictatorship; the Standing Rock protests as offering a language of human rights not oriented towards the state; and a review of three recent books that theorize human rights in the face of critique.View entire issue >
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