Kenya: Environment, Gender and Development

Year Three, Semester Two

Course Code: GY3316

This module offers students the opportunity for fieldwork-based critical engagement with contemporary theories, issues and debates in environment and development geographies. It focuses on the following key interconnected and overlapping themes:

  1. The politics of ‘development’: discourses, practices and outcomes
  2. Social, cultural and gendered aspects of resistance, environmental justice and grassroots activism
  3. Politics and practices of conservation
  4. Agricultural commodity chain analysis and market integration

Drawing on a postcolonial theoretical framework, our approach to these issues will be informed by consideration of power relationships, flows and interconnections, and struggles over knowledge, nature and ‘development’. Students will be expected to engage in critical reflection concerning the politics and practices of fieldwork-based learning in developing countries. 
The module will commence with 2 lectures in Leicester to provide you with an introduction to and framework for analysing the core themes. A one hour workshop will also be held to introduce students to the fieldwork context and discuss possible research projects. 
The core of the module is a 12 day fieldtrip to Kenya. You will be based initially in Nairobi and subsequently at field sites in Naivasha/Bogoria. From these bases students will be introduced to local cultures, land-use practices, conservation and community development programmes. They will have the opportunity to engage with local social movements e.g. The Green Belt movement through presentations by movement activists and project visits. The latter part of the fieldwork course will be dedicated to student’s own small-group project work on one of the four key themes above. The projects will be facilitated through local centres and organisations, which are able to provide English speaking guides/translators and by collation and analysis of grey literature.
An additional fee is payable for this module to cover the costs of travel and subsistence abroad. Student numbers on this module are necessarily capped for logistic reasons. In the event that the module is oversubscribed, a random draw will be used to resolve the competition for places.

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