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Title: Forest histories and nuclear futures : mapping resources, value, and change in southern Tanzania
Author: Postar, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6088
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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At a time when an estimated one-quarter of UNESCO sites of natural world heritage are threatened by existing or proposed extractive projects, this thesis explores the histories and futures in and around sub-Saharan Africa's oldest and largest wilderness area, where Tanzania's first uranium mine is quiet as it completes its sixth year of delays. Today's contested perceptions of the future of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Selous Game Reserve are a product of the social construction of wilderness that has been developed and applied over time to African landscapes through (post)colonial models of conservation. While the rationale for conservationists' opposition to extraction has been articulated, this thesis examines the historical dynamics of local expectations of extraction. The thesis argues that the multiplicity of valued resources at stake in and around the mine demands an approach that takes into account uranium, but also wildlife, land, and water. This natural resource intersectionality also reflects the scales at hand: a mineral deposit containing globally significant amounts of uranium, a wilderness area the size of Switzerland, and the infinite lifespan of uranium's radioactive decay. Ultimately, the study maps the ways that the incursion of mining activities is destabilizing the local order. Across scales of space and time, the Selous emerges, not as a primordial forest wilderness, but instead as a sacrifice zone, set aside for de-territorialization, discipline, and extraction. I demonstrate that it is the heritagization process that helps to re-imagine, and therefore re-create, the past, but also that it projects particular ambitions ahead: an imagined, pristine Selous woodland of past, intervening in the present, and influencing the future of the Reserve. I investigate the conceptual nexus between conservation and extraction, challenging simplistic narratives which place the two in opposition. As the mine languishes, the thesis provides evidence from neighbouring villages suggesting that despite seemingly universal support for the mine, there is uncertainty and ambivalence toward the future, with or without uranium.
Supervisor: Sarro, Ramon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available