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Developing AfricaConcepts and practices in twentieth-century colonialism$
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Joseph M. Hodge, Gerald Hödl, and Martina Kopf

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719091803

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719091803.001.0001

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Ecological concepts of development? The case of colonial Zambia

Ecological concepts of development? The case of colonial Zambia

(p.133) Chapter Five Ecological concepts of development? The case of colonial Zambia
Developing Africa

Sven Speek

Manchester University Press

The focus of the chapter is plant ecological and agro-ecological research in colonial Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), from the Great Depression to the beginning of the so called “Second Colonial Occupation”. Colonial ecological research contributed to and was structured by the narrative of an impending social and ecological breakdown of “native” subsistence communities triggered by the impact of colonialism: the unintended consequences of Pax Britannica, the introduction of a capitalist economy, the creation of reserves. Ecology held the promise of not only helping to come to grips with these complexities, but of serving as a science of planning, opening up the possibility of successfully steering a course between the Scylla of social and ecological breakdown and the Charybdis of stagnation and low productivity. Northern Rhodesia – then still a backwater to the Empire – consequently became one of the hot spots for the testing out of ecological research methods.

Keywords:   Tropical Agriculture, Ecology, Subsistence Economy, Colonial Science, Ecological research, Agricultural development, Northern Rhodesia, Zambia, British empire, Second colonial occupation

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