An Environmental Laboratory

in Africa as a Living Laboratory

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226803463
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226803487 | DOI:
An Environmental Laboratory

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  • Colonialism and Imperialism


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This chapter investigates a pivotal transition that took place during the colonial period, facilitated by agricultural departments and environmental scientists. Agriculture was, and would remain, at the center of African economies. The agricultural research described in the chapter repeatedly repelled against the wholesale transfer of European norms to African environments and offered a wide range of different approaches to modernization and development. The factors that impacted both scientific research and agricultural development in Africa are elaborated. The trajectory of studies of agriculture in Northern Rhodesia was a prime example of the ways scientists, colonial officials, and technical specialists wrestled with the issues. Northern Rhodesia's colonial officials attempted to expand crop production for both internal and external markets. The auto-critique that emerged among research scientists and technical specialists at both the territorial and inter-territorial levels fazed colonial certainties, and opened up a space to take ecological specificities and subaltern knowledge more seriously.

Keywords: agricultural departments; agriculture; African economies; modernization; Africa; Northern Rhodesia; crop production

Chapter.  22064 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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