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PIIRS Global Seminar in Namibia 2017
Windhoek, Namibia (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Partner Institution/Organization Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
Fact Sheet:
Dept Offering Program: PIIRS Program Type: Study Abroad (summer)
Language of Instruction: English
Program Description:

Development, Genocide and Nature Conservation in Namibia:
History, Society and Environment in Local and Global Contexts

Emmanuel Kreike, History
University of Namibia, Windhoek
June 10-July 22, 2017

Namibia is a stable democracy and a middle-income country with stunning landscapes and game parks. Yet the peaceful country has a tempestuous history: slave raids, genocidal warfare and over-hunting marked much of the 19th and 20th centuries, making it a fascinating country to study.

The seminar will cover Namibia’s society and environment, taking into account both local and global dynamics. Namibia’s history was as deeply affected by its local (semi-)arid environment as it was by slavers from the Atlantic, invaders from Germany and South Africa, and refugees from Angola. In turn, Namibian slaves, laborers, and war refugees scattered across Africa and beyond while its precious resources (including livestock, game, fish, copper, diamonds, and uranium) fed rapacious global markets. The colonial conquest of Namibia and its decolonization were deeply interwoven with two major global conflicts: respectively World War One and the Cold War.

The course uses a combination of in-class and field study as well as experiential learning. The seminar will be based in Windhoek for 4 weeks with daily language and seminar classes in the morning and research and volunteer internships with community organizations in the afternoons. During weeks 4 and 5 the seminar shifts to a traveling mode to visit key sites, including national parks and community conservancies. We will spend one week in Ongwediva in the far north of the country, where the majority of the population of Namibia hails from.  The region was also a main Cold War battleground and is a place where social and environmental priorities clash. The study of Namibia serves to address a much larger issue: the nature of development. Development in essence is about the domestication or harnessing of nature through (western) science and technology. The non-West – i.e., colonial Namibia – was seen as part of nature that had to be developed under the tutelage of western culture. Identifying non-Western peoples and their environments as nature thus legitimized western colonialism and green imperialism. It also justified genocidal warfare and the ruthless exploitation of “primitive” peoples, fauna, and flora, paradoxically all in the name of development and conservation.

Faculty Director
Emmanuel Kreike has a Ph.D. in African history from Yale University (1996) and a Dr. of Science (Ph.D.) in Tropical Forestry from the School of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University (2006), the Netherlands. His research and teaching interests focus on the intersection of war/violence, population displacement, environment, and society. He is particularly interested in how violence (including, for example, colonial conquest, the apartheid wars, slave raiding) and ensuing forced migration led to the destruction of human landscapes and how people rebuild lives and livelihoods in often alien environments. He has taught courses in African history and environmental history at Princeton University as well as courses in forestry and environmental sciences in Namibia and South Africa. 

Seminar Manager
Jayne Bialkowski can be reached at or by calling 609-258-2635.

Distribution Requirements
This course fulfills the Historical Analysis (HA) requirement; the requirements for the certificate in African Studies; and the departmental requirements for History (HIS). 

The cost of the Global Seminar ranges from $6,500 -$8,000.


Dates / Deadlines:
This program is not currently accepting applications. Please consult the sponsoring department's website for application open dates.
This program is currently not accepting applications.