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Beyond the Ruins of Embobut: Transforming Landscapes and Livelihoods in the Cherangani Hills, Kenya

Issue: Vol 6 No. 2 (2019)

Journal: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

Subject Areas: Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jca.38591

Abstract:

The Embobut Forest, western Kenya, can be described as an entanglement of ruins. These ruins are the materialisation of a series of contested ecological debates and political decisions pivoting on the questions of conservation and community rights to land that have resulted in the violent dislocation of local Sengwer and Marakwet communities. In the first instance, this paper aims to contextualise these debates by offering an analytic focus on the process of ruination in order to offer a more nuanced narrative of landscape modification and changing human lives over the past century. Subsequently, I look beyond processes of ruination and towards notions of transformation, in an attempt expound how Embobut has not become a static world of passive ruins but rather is constantly changing as novel forms of dwelling and new ecological relationships continue to unfold in a manner not envisaged by conservation policy.

Author: Sam Lunn-Rockliffe

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