CANCELLED – A Road Runs Through It: Tourism, Culture, and the Politics of Conservation

How does tourism shape the very meaning and value of a landscape? Who gets to speak for nature and wildlife: local people or conservationists? What do the words “nature” and “wildlife” even mean? Explore the concept of conservation through the lens of safari tourism in Tanzania, where the Maasai community has found itself struggling at the intersection of environmental activism, tourism, land rights, and civic rights; and where a proposed highway through the Serengeti sparked international outrage. Author and professor Ben Gardner tells the story of how safari tourism in Tanzania shapes the very meaning and value of the landscape, and why Maasai communities have organized to fight for control of their land.

Ben Gardner is Associate Professor of Global Studies, Environmental Studies and Cultural Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell. He is also chair of the African Studies Program in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. His research examines the relationship between tourism, conservation and development. His book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism questions pervasive myths about who owns nature in Africa and how colonial discourses around conservation shape contemporary environmental politics. He is a recipient of the University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2014).

Part of the HUMAN/NATURE Library speaker series