I suggest that to decolonize conservation we must also decolonize our way of seeing land and nature-society relations inscribed in it as landscapes. I proceed in three parts. First, drawing on insights from post- and decolonial studies, critical geography, environmental history and political ecology, I highlight three problems that underpin a landscape way of seeing nature-society relations: depoliticization, simplification/decomplexification, and representation. Second,to illustrate the colonial legacy of the contemporary landscape approach to nature conservation, I revisit the global history of landscapism – the double movement of colonizing landscapes/landscaping colonies. This double movement began with the internal colonization of European landscapes (autonomous political communities), and continued through the landscaping of (settler-)colonies by Europeans outside of their homelands. Third, through the contemporary case of a landscape conservation initiative in Tanzania (the so-called "Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem"), I illustrate the implications of the double movement in the colonial present of African conservation. I conclude with a few remarks on what decolonization of conservation would have to entail in scientific research and practice.
Keywords: landscapes, landscape approach, nature conservation, coloniality, decolonization
How to Cite:
Bluwstein, J., (2021) “Colonizing landscapes/landscaping colonies: from a global history of landscapism to the contemporary landscape approach in nature conservation”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.2850