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Centre of African Studies: Research


Future Pasts

The full project title is: 'Future pasts in an Apocalyptic moment? A hybrid Analysis of 'Green' Performatives and Ecocultural Ethics in a Globalised African Landscape'. It is a collaborative project between CAS and Bath Spa University, focusing on western Namibia, with Edinburgh’s contribution led by Dr Rick Rohde. It is a five-year project, starting in 2013, and is funded by the AHRC’s ‘Care for the Future’ programme theme.

Why Future Pasts?

At a time of ecological, social and economic change, but also uncertainty, this project seeks to understand how people in this area of Namibia are preparing for their futures in the present. It explores how people draw on a range of resources, including cultural, economic and ecological, but also discursive capital with regard to ascendant narratives of climate change and economic futures which also shape behaviour in the present. Thus, this broad-reaching project looks at change in everything from the built environment, including uranium mining, tourism, to ecology and conservation, to social factors.

One of Dr Rohde’s research focuses is documenting ecological change since the late 19th century. The evidence shows that contrary to global warming predictions, biodiversity and habitat integrity have benefited from recent climate change trends in this ancient desert and semi-arid region.

Spitzkoppe, Black Range c1930Spitzkoppe, Black Range 2015


Gobabeb, Namib Desert 2014