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A History under Siege: Intensive Agriculture in the Mbulu Highlands, Tanzania, 19th Century to the Present
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis examines the history of the Iraqw’ar Da/aw area in the Mbulu Highlands of northern Tanzania. Since the late nineteenth century this area has been known for its intensive cultivation, and referred to as an “island” within a matrix of less intensive land use. The conventional explanation for its characteristics has been high population densities resulting from the prevention of expansion by hostility from surrounding pastoral groups, leading to a siegelike situation. Drawing on an intensive programme of interviews, detailed field mapping and studies of aerial photographs, early travellers’ accounts and landscape photographs, this study challenges that explanation. The study concludes that the process of agricultural intensification has largely been its own driving force, based on self-reinforcing processes of change, and not a consequence of land scarcity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2004. , 187 p.
Stockholm studies in human geography, ISSN 0349-7003 ; 12
Keyword [en]
Landscape, Environmental history, Geography, Land use change, Population pressure, Incremental change, Landesque capital, Self-reinforcing processes, Detailed mapping, Participatory mapping, Oral history, Farming practices, Aerial photographs, Landscape photographs, Iraqw
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-215ISBN: 91-22-02095-0OAI: diva2:191044
Public defence
2004-09-17, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2004-08-26 Created: 2004-08-26 Last updated: 2012-07-09Bibliographically approved

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