Environment, Knowledge, and Injustice in Lesotho
Title Details

282 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

3 maps and 11 b/w illus.

Imprint: James Currey

Environment, Knowledge, and Injustice in Lesotho

The Poverty of Progress

by Christopher Conz

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
Shows that a fraught historical process was at work in which Basotho drew on local and global sources of knowledge and how this small nation surrounded by South Africa can serve as a valuable case-study for wider conversations about 'progress' and 'modernization' in the Global South.

Both place-based environmental history and global intellectual history, this book explores the politics of environment, agriculture, poverty, development, and science in Lesotho. Drawing on diverse experiences with this landlocked, mountainous nation, and based on bilingual archival and oral history research in Sesotho and English, the book examines how Basotho intellectuals, farmers, migrant workers, chiefs, experts, and politicians formed vernacular ideas of tsoelopele (progress) amid the structural violence of colonialism and capitalism in southern Africa. Rather than a unidirectional flow of 'enlightened' knowledge from Europe to Africa, the study shows that a fraught historical process was at work in which Basotho drew on local and global sources of knowledge, from ancestral agricultural practices to colonial soil science and from African American missionaries to African nationalists in Ghana. Basotho ideas about tsoelopele, it is argued, informed the many political, social, and environmental innovations that enabled survival within a sea of white supremacy and that underpin approaches to development in independent Lesotho. Throughout, the book shows how this small nation surrounded by South Africa can serve as a valuable case-study for wider conversations about 'progress' and 'modernization' in the Global South.
List of Illustrations

Acknowledgements

List of Abbreviations

Selected Sesotho Terms Used

Introduction
1. Making a Place in the Mountains
2. Animals, Pests, and the Politics of Veterinary Knowledge
3. Forestry in an Imperial Watershed
4. Soil, Progress, and Preserving the Status Quo
5. Agriculture, Knowledge, and Paths of Progress
6. Nutrition in the Era of Decolonization
Conclusion

Bibliography

CHRISTOPHER R. CONZ is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA and a Research Fellow in the Department of History at the University of the Free State in South Africa.

"Poverty of Progress centers the moral vision of tsoelopele--or "progress"--which guided Sotho farmers as they navigated colonialism and economic dependence on South Africa. Focusing on innovators and their husbandry practices, Conz delivers a readable and astute history of farming as an intellectual project and political act." Professor Nancy Jacobs, Department of History, Brown University
"This book is a consummate study of local agricultural knowledge and its co-evolution with colonial rule. And it breaks new ground. His intensive field interviews and archive-based evidence and stories show the intersection between local knowledge and colonial imposed policies in soil science and farm management. Lesotho is small, but it admirably illustrates a much larger issue for southern Africa and the world's rural histories. This study gives a voice to farmers who sought to sustain their views and practices in a rapidly changing world." James McCann, Professor Emeritus of History and African Studies, Boston University, Author of Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land: An Environmental History of Africa

Hardcover

9781847013309

July 2024

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9781805433637

July 2024

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9781805433620

July 2024

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Title Details

282 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

3 maps and 11 b/w illus.

Imprint: James Currey