Topic: The pursuit of the ‘good forest’ in colonial Kenya
Supervisors: Dr Phia Steyn and Dr Paul Adderley
I began my student life by studying a BA in history and an MA in international relations at Leicester University, where my research focused on the theoretical connections between the environment and violent conflict. This is a topic that gains occasional media coverage with alarmist projections of possible scenarios like 'water wars' in Africa, although these usually lack historical precedent. Upon beginning my M.Res in environmental history at the University of Stirling I took this topic further by applying theoretical models of adaption to environmental change, which include the possibility of conflict, to the colonial period of Nigerian history. This research allowed the way in which colonial rule used the environment, specifically state forestry, as a tool for both economic and political dominance to be highlighted, but also showed the resourcefulness and adaptability of African peoples that allowed them to avoid violent conflict. The discipline of environmental history is well suited to this topic, allowing the integration of traditional document analysis with scientific investigation of the land.
I am now continuing my research at the University of Stirling by beginning a PhD entitled “The pursuit of the ‘good forest’ in colonial Kenya”, investigating the development of the colonial forestry department in Kenya in terms of how it related to the other sections of the colonial administration and how its twin goals of forest conservation and sustainable timber harvesting were met, or not, in the face of competing demands for agricultural land both from indigenous Africans and the white settler community. This will yield new insight into whether scientific forestry was truly a coherent ideology that guided colonial forest control or whether it was merely a theoretical ideal that bore little resemblance to the reality of colonial forestry. The findings of such a study have continued resonance today, as many forest communities in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America are currently experiencing the encroachment of state or private forestry onto their lands. The population displacement and destruction of traditional ways of life that this is causing have numerous antecedents in the colonial period of African history.
I completed my PhD on the medieval abbey of Coupar Angus, encompassing its economic, environmental and social history. One of the main
Education: BA (Hons) History (University of Stirling) and M.Res in Historical Research (University of Stirling)
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My PhD topic, a continuation of research done for both my undergraduate degree and my Masters, explored the political and local
Education: BA (Hons) Scottish History (University of Stirling) and M.Res in Historical Research (University of Stirling)
I spread the map of Africa before him, and tracing a line from Cairo to Sennar, and from thence westward in the latitude and supposed
The eighteenth century witnessed the expansion of European interaction across the globe and the flowering of intellectual practice in the
By focusing on the cartographic element of Britain’s developing knowledge of and interaction with West Africa in the eighteenth and
The parameters of my study encompassed the trajectory of several themes relating to Britain’s relationship with West Africa (such as the
Education: BA (Hons.) first class (University of Stirling, 2011); MRes (Historical Research) Environmental History, with merit (University of