2011: Finished PhD projects
Human Ecology Division
"Nature and Culture in Prehistoric Amazonia Using G.I.S. to reconstruct ancient ethnogenetic processes from archaeology, linguistics, geography, and ethnohistory"
- Presentation: Defence date: 14th May 2011. This thesis investigates the socio-cultural and linguistic development of pre-Columbian Amazonia, with a particular focus on the period between 500 BC and AD 1500. In assembling and analyzing data from archaeology, linguistics, ethnohistory, ethnography, and geography in a Geographical Information System (G.I.S.), it synthesizes large amounts of empirical data from several fields to facilitate long-term, macro-scale reconstructions of pre-Columbian socio-cultural processes in the region. These reconstructions focus on identifying the socio-economic and socio-cultural mechanisms underlying processes of cultural and linguistic expansion and subsequent patterns of ethno-linguistic diversity. The thesis thus addresses long-standing debates on the role of migration, ecology, subsistence strategies, trade, language, and ethnicity in such processes, and offers new explanations of the distribution of language families and ethno-linguistic groups in Amazonia.
Department of Human Geography
"In Search of 'Community' in Zimbabwe's Fast Track Resettlement Area of Mazowe District"
- Presentation: Defence date: 9th December 2011. The thesis discusses community development in fast track resettlement areas of Zimbabwe. The land reform programme designated as the Third Revolution (Chimurenga) or fast track land reform was launched in 2000. This programme saw 12 million hectares of farming land being taken over by the state for resettlement. This research conducted in Mazowe district of Zimbabwe, provides an insight on the types and forms of community that have emerged as a result of the fast track land reform programme. Community is viewed both in terms of its geographical location and also interests among the actors that transcend the location. The aim of the research is to understand community making in resettlement areas, by looking at two types of resettlement schemes covered by the fast track resettlement programme namely the A1 farming model featuring smallholder farmers under villagised settlement models and the A2 farming model which is aimed at creating a class of medium and large scale farmers.
"Rural Development and Territorial Dynamics in the Province of Misiones, Argentina"
- Presentation: Defence date: 15th April 2011. The ultimate aim of the research is to contribute to the current debate in Latin America about social change in rural areas, by exploring the linkages between rural development strategies and the construction of new geographies, new territories. The thesis have sought to answer the following research questions: What narratives and discourses on development are currently disputing the territory in the province of Misiones? What kinds of territories are under construction as a result of “alternative development” strategies and practices implemented by different actors in the rural development arena in interaction with “conventional” development strategies? In what ways are the new territorial dynamics reflecting the construction of an alternative development(s) and new territories and geographies?