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 new issue features a conversation between Jasbir K. Puar and Oishik Sircar, available open-access on the Humanity journal website. The issue also includes essays on the politics humanitarian architecture and the Parisian “Yellow Bubble,” family planning projects in postcolonial Morocco, how Amnesty International's formative years shaped professional human rights activism, and the linguistic and affective labor of field interpreters for UN missions. It contains review essays on theories of political violence and on global histories of slavery and indentured labor.View entire issue >
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This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields is arranged as a composition of twenty two tableaux. Each vividly explores distinctive practices of human shielding by excavating diverse types of archival sources—official documents, personal correspondence, memoirs, news media, scholarly works, novels, videogames, and more. The succession of these tableaux occurs mostly in chronological order beginning with the American Civil War, and its Continue reading →