Black Poachers, White Hunters
Title Details

256 Pages

21.6 x 13.8 cm

4 b/w, 1 line illus.

Series: Eastern African Studies

Imprint: James Currey

Black Poachers, White Hunters

A Social History of Hunting in Colonial Kenya

by Edward I. Steinhart

  • Description
  • Reviews
A study of hunting and poaching during the colonial era in Kenya.

In 1977 the Kenyan government banned all hunting, whether by sportsmen or Kenyan Africans, in response to the poaching crisis that was then spreading across the African continent. This brought an end to the era of the 'Great WhiteHunters' in this 'sportsman's paradise'.
This book traces the history of hunting during Kenya's colonial era from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Three main themes emerge: first, is the importance of hunting to Kenyan farmers and herders; second is the attempt during European colonization of Kenya to recreate in Africa the practices and values of nineteenth-century European aristocratic hunts, which reinforced an image of African inferiority and subordination; third, is the role of the conservationists, who claimed sovereignty over nature and wildlife, completing the transformation of African hunters into criminal poachers.

North America: Ohio U Press; Kenya: EAEP
"Edward Steinhart's new book invites Kenya's historians to expand our understanding of colonial political life. Steinhart convincingly shows that the control over wild animals was a key area of conflict between Africans, settlers and colonial officials. Where in precolonial eastern Kenya people developed a dynamic hunting tradition, white settlers and government officials presumed that they were naturally the owners of Kenya's wildlife. White hunters disparaged Africans' courage and skill, while post-Second World War conservationists regarded African hunters as poachers, illegally intruding on sacrosanct national parks. Debates over the ownership of Kenya's wildlife, argues Steinhart, were central in the definition of 'what it has meant to be Kenyan, what it meant to be male and what it continues to mean to be civilized'. Where scholars have often characterized colonial Kenya's history as a struggle over land and labour, this book enables us to see how debates over the control of animals shaped colonial political life. ...this readable book deserves attention both from Kenya's political historians and from the growing company of scholars exploring the problematic origins of conservationism." Derek R. Peterson, JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY
"The protracted struggle for control over African wildlife parallels the ongoing struggle over land, which has been far more thoroughly chronicled. This exciting, accessible and challenging book is a timely addition to the literature. ...Kenya today is rife with talk of who 'owns' wildlife and who has the right to manage and hunt it (let alone shoot poachers), within a broader context of debates over national heritage and the future of national parks. This book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to enter the fray, by first arming themselves with the historical facts. -" Lotte Hughes, AFRICAN AFFAIRS
"...enjoyable, readable and original book." Dan Brockington, University of Oxford

Paperback

9780852559604

October 2005

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Title Details

256 Pages

2.16 x 1.38 cm

4 b/w, 1 line illus.

Series: Eastern African Studies

Imprint: James Currey