African Area Studies

Division of African Area Studies

The countries of Africa have their own distinct history. Shaped by the resilient tropical ecosystems they have managed to retain much of their traditional cultures and lifestyles, which are characterized by adaptation and co-existence with the natural environment. However, it is often the case that, as these countries go through the phase of state formation and societal integration, since the basis of the socio-political order is so fragile, the risk of divisions and fragmentation along ethnic lines remains ever present. In certain countries in the region, post-colonial economic development policy appears to have fluctuated, and the dire ecological consequences have meant that the viability of internally-led development based on utilization of indigenous resources and the sustainability of the local culture remains very much in question.

The Division of African Area Studies offers a program of study in three fields of research and guidance, which have been designed to allow in-depth examination of the characteristics and issues outlined above. These are: Political Ecology, Cultural Ecology, and Historical Ecology.

» Division of African Area Studies

 

1: Political Ecology:

A program of education and research in agricultural ecology, and livelihood and economy, designed to allow students to conduct analysis on the relationship between economic and technological development and the natural environment, with the aim of identifying the socio-ecological potentials for endogenous development in Africa.

Jun IKENO

E-mail: ikeno@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

My research concerns rural villages in semi-arid areas in East Africa, which I look at with the aim of clarifying the socioeconomic structural changes that are taking place in rural communities through an analysis of the diversity of livelihoods, including migrant labor to the city. Looking at the process of adaptation in rural communities to changes in the political, economic, and social environment, and at the spontaneous triggers that spur internally generated change in these communities, I try to analyse both the endogenous and exogenous momenta underlying the rural transformations.

[Livelihood and Economy II, Research Seminar on Political Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Juichi ITANI

E-mail: itani@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

My research involves analyzing various technological developments that have taken place in indigenous farming in Africa from an agro-ecological perspective, as well as the relationship between human perceptions of nature and agriculture. I am also looking into the process by which technology that originated in other countries fuses with aspects of indigenous farming, and goes on to present itself in new forms of cultivation.

[Agricultural Ecology II, Introduction to Area Studies, Seminar on Asian and African Area Studies, Research Seminar on Political Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Akira TAKADA

E-mail: takada@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

I have studied on the San (or Bushmen) of Southern Africa with respect to the following topics: (1) Caregiver-child interaction, (2) The system of caregiverchild interaction, subsistence activity, and the natural environment, (3) Perception of the environment, and (4) The transformation of ethnicity among the San and their neighbors. By integrating these topics of study, moreover, I aim to clarify the cultural structure which organizes social interaction of San.

[Livelihood and Economy I, Seminar on Asian and African Area Studies, Research Seminar on Political Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies Onsite Seminar I-III]

Morie KANEKO

E-mail: kaneko@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

I have been conducting anthropological research on the cultural transmission of techniques of body and technological innovation among women potters in Ethiopia. In this work, I examine the formation of African local knowledge in a global context by focusing on the process of creating objects, such as producing craftworks, processing agricultural products, creating souvenirs, and even generating waste, as the outcome of person–environment transactions. I also engage with local people in ethnographic exhibitions, in a community museum, that are related to endogenous development in local communities.

[Research Seminar on Political Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies Onsite Seminar I-III]

Hiroki SATO

E-mail: h-sato@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

I have conducted field research in tropical forests of Madagascar, the island off the coast of Eastern Africa, and studied the mechanisms of forest regeneration via plant-animal interactions with polyhedral approaches from genetics to ecology. Moreover, my research will concern utilization of natural resources by local residents in such tropical forests and try to explore the future of sustainable conservation of ecosystems from the perspective of ethnobiology and conservation biology.

[Research Seminar on Political Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies Onsite Seminar I-III]

 

2: Cultural Ecology:

A program of education and research in culture and ethnicity, and socio-cultural integration, designed to allow students to conduct analysis of the interrelationships between diverse ethnic cultures, and to investigate the social mechanisms that might allow for different ethnicities in Africa to harmoniously coexist.

Daiji KIMURA

E-mail: kimura@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

My research is on slash-and-burn farmer and hunter-gatherer societies in African tropical rainforests. The focus is on the uses of the natural environment, perceptions of the natural world, and everyday social interaction, as well as verbal and non-verbal communication and the historical transformations that all of the above have undergone. I am also involved in a remote-sensing data-analysis project and the operation of a plant-use database.

[Socio-Cultural Integration I, Seminar on Asian and African Area Studies, Research Seminar on Cultural Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Motoki TAKAHASHI

E-mail: takahashi@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

My academic interest is centered on political economy and development in Africa. I am aiming at understanding how the African state and market economy, exogenously introduced in the colonization process, were formulated afterwards, how they have been changing, and how they are related with people’s day-to-day livelihoods. In addition, I have been also concerned about how foreign aid activities, officially with the object of assisting development, affect politics, economy, society, and people’s livelihoods in Africa. I have often visited East African countries, especially Kenya, for researches and other engagements.

[Culture and Ethnicity I, Research Seminar on Cultural Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Gen YAMAKOSHI

E-mail: yamakoshi@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

My research has focused on the behavior, ecology and conservation of wildlife in West Africa. I am also interested in the potentials held by traditional engagements with landscape by the slash-and-burn farming communities in West Africa for forest and wildlife conservation. I am currently pursuing a study of historical, ecological, and sociological factors.

[Culture and Ethnicity II, Research Seminar on Cultural Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Shuichi OYAMA

E-mail: oyama@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

I conduct research into features of people’s livelihood and use of the environment in the central southern Africa and West Africa, looking at the connections with ecology, climate change, state politics and the economy, rural society, and ethnicity. In the central southern Africa, I am interested in the farmers’ attitudes toward the savannas and dry deciduous woodland, agricultural ecosystems, and the social changes to a market economy and revisions in the land laws. In the Sahel region of West Africa, I have looked into anti-desertification methods that make use of indigenous knowledge. I am currently engaged in an on-site experiment aimed at implementing a “land rehabilaitation” project. I am also studying the possibilities of preventing ethnic conflicts between farmers and herders in the region over the use of resources.

[Socio-Cultural Integration II, Seminar on Asian and African Area Studies, Research Seminar on Cultural Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies Onsite Seminar I-III]

 

3: Historical Ecology:

A program of education and research in environmental history and socio-ecological history designed to allow students to investigate the possibilities of sustainable development that might allow the needs of human beings to coexist in harmony with the natural environment, focussing on the ecological history of regions as a dynamic process of interaction between humans and the environment.

Itaru OHTA

E-mail: ohta@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

I study pastoral societies in arid lands in Africa, from the standpoint of a cultural anthropologist, looking at aspects of livestock and human relations. Specifically, I look at management technology of livestock, aspects of human cognition of livestock and social relations that are formed through the medium of livestock transfer. At present, I am involved in projects that look at the ways in which people handle the contemporary issues of development and modernization, and also at how the potential of local culture can be utilized in the resolution of various ethnic conflicts and for peaceful co-existence.

[Social and Cultural Dynamics I, Research Seminar on Historical Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Masayoshi SHIGETA

E-mail: shigeta@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

I have conducted research on a variety of issues of agriculture in Africa from the standpoint of studies on the interaction between human beings and plants (agricultural sciences, anthropology, ecology, crop evolution, ethnobotany, domestication, among others). I look at issues to do with the integrated rural development through an analysis of useful plant resources to fulfil the needs of African peoples, as well as an analysis of local knowledge relating to such plants.

[Socio-Ecological History I, Introduction to Area Studies, Seminar on Asian and African Area Studies, Reseach Seminar on Historical Ecology I- Ⅳ, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Misa HIRANO (NOMOTO)

E-mail: hiranom@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

My research has involved anthropological studies of the Bamileke ethnic group who live in urban areas, specifically those that live in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, looking primarily at their economic activities. Currently I am researching the systems that have been developed by Bamileke society for conflict avoidance both internally (with others in the same ethnic group) and externally (with people in other ethnic group). I am also interested in the role of money in community development and I am conducting research investigation into the “mo-ai” (“ROSCA”) of Okinawa.

[Social and Cultural Dynamics II, Introduction to Area Studies, Research Seminar on Historical Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

Hirokazu YASUOKA

E-mail: yasuoka@asafas [add “.kyoto-u.ac.jp”]

Hirokazu Yasuoka has studied about relationships between human and nature based on long-term field research with hunter-gatherers in Central Africa. He is recently developing applied research on collaborative forest resource management between scientists and local people.

[Socio-Ecological History II, Introduction to Area Studies, Research Seminar on Historical Ecology I-IV, Guided Research on African Area Studies I-III, Open Seminar on African Area Studies, African Area Studies On-site Seminar I-III]

 

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