The year 2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Land Act in South Africa which legalised the violent dispossession and alienation of the African majority from the land. It is common cause that the alienation of land for conservation purposes, introduced to Africa under colonial rule, has continued more or less uninterrupted until today. However, while nature conservation practices inevitably raise challenging questions relating to land and land use, there has thus far been little concentrated effort to bring together scholars working on the land question, particularly around issues of land tenure, with those whose work focuses on questions of nature construction and the social impacts of conservation in an African context. Compiled from research presented at a ground-breaking interdisciplinary conference held at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, in 2012, the chapters in this book made their first appearance in a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary African Studies (JCAS) in July 2013. The book brings critical interdisciplinary analyses of the complex interrelations between contemporary (neoliberal) conservation practices in post-colonial Africa, into conversation with the well-trodden territory of land use and contested land issues on the continent. Anchored by an intellectual curiosity about the extent to which past practices continue into the present and with what consequences, the book provides fresh insights into the complex relationship between land and conservation in contemporary Africa.
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