Monument of nature? an ethonography of the World Heritage of Mt. Kenya
The book examines the World Heritage status of Mt. Kenya, an alpine area located in Central Kenya. In 1997 Mt. Kenya joined the World Heritage List due to its extraordinary ecological and geological features. Nearly 15 years later, Mt. Kenya World Heritage Site expanded to incorporate a wildlife conservancy bordering the mountain in the north. Both Mt. Kenya’s original World Heritage designation and later adjustments were founded on, and exclusively formulated in, natural scientific language. This volume argues that this was an effect not only of the innate qualities of Mt. Kenya’s landscape, but also of a range of conditions that shaped the World Heritage nomination and modification processes. These include the World Heritage Convention’s rigid separation of natural and cultural heritages that reverberates in World Heritage’s bureaucratic apparatus; the ongoing competition between two government institutes over the management of Mt. Kenya that finds its origins in colonial forest and game laws; the particular composition of Kenya’s political arena in respectively the late 1990s and the early 2010s; and the precarious position of white inhabitants in post-colonial Kenya that translates into permanent fears for losing property rights.

Year of publication: 2016
Series: African Studies Collection
Volume: 63



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Marloes van den Akker
African Studies Centre Leiden